Disable the Group By View in Outlook

Group by viewNote: You can use this method to apply any changes to all folders using the same view. It's not limited to the group by feature.

While this method also works with Outlook 2010, you can create a custom view and apply it to all folders. Look for the Apply to all folders option on the View ribbon, Change View button. Apply to all folders is useful if you have custom views you don't want to lose.

So you don't like the new grouping views in Outlook? While I recommend you give yourself two weeks to get used to the new interface before making changes, it is possible to turn off some of the new interface features in Outlook, such as the Group by view.

Before starting to customize the view, you need to make sure you've removed all previous customizations on all folders that use the view. To do this, go to Start menu, Run, and type

outlook.exe /cleanviews

Use the cleanviews switch to clear all one-of views

Using the /cleanviews switch will delete *all* custom views you have, but is a necessary step to insure the changes to the view apply to all folders.

Custom view menu

Next, find the Define views menu. In Outlook 2003 and 2007, look on the Advanced toolbar, at the bottom of the Current views drop down command or browse to the View, Arrange by, Current view menu to find it. In Outlook 2010, go to the View ribbon, Change Views, Manage View.

Select the view *by name*, not using <Current View Settings>, otherwise, the view will apply only to the currently selected folder. (When you click on Arrange by and Customize or Outlook 2010's View Settings… only the view for the current folder is edited.)

Select the view by name

Click Modify button to open the Customize view dialog, then Group button.

Uncheck Automatically group according to arrangement and Ok your way back to the view. Grouping is now disabled for this view. Repeat for each named view that you want to edit.

Disable the group by field option

To enable grouping on a folder, click on the row of field names at the top of the message list and choose Show in groups from the bottom of the menu. (This will enable only for the current folder.)

You can use this method to change a default view for each folder using the view. Because Outlook often creates 'one-off' views when you change a current view, you need to use cleanviews to remove all custom views before starting.

You may need to apply a different view to a folder then apply this one for it to take affect.

Customize a Global View Video Tutorial

For more information on restoring the classic interface, see Managing the Outlook 2003 Interface


Administrators can deploy Outlook with grouping disabled for all users. See the following articles for more information:

How to disable the Group By feature for e-mail messages when you deploy an upgrade to Outlook 2007 for many users

Using the OCT: Disable the Group By feature for e-mail messages in Outlook 2007

  • Ghatti

    Brilliant - thank you. My system reset itself and nothing would work until I found this article to ensure all my folders were set to sort by date.

  • jacko

    Nice! Thank you, sir.

  • Tom

    This is helpful if you want to reset existing folders. My issue is for a NEW folder -- each time I create a new folder, it is pre-set not to MY preferred view, but to Bill Gates' preferred view. I hate having the change the view each and every time I create a new folder -- something I do with some degree of regularity. So . . . how do I change the DEFAULT so that new folders are created to match the view settings for all of my other folders? Or does Microsoft not "trust" me to know what I want?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Create a custom view and apply it after creating the folder if customizing the default view using the methodd described here doesn't work or you newly created folders.

  • Outlook User

    In one word: EXCELLENT !

  • Anon

    Thank you. This has been driving me crazy for months.

  • sally orrin

    I tried run outlook.exe/cleanviews and got a message saying windows cannot find outlook.exe/cleanviews make sure you typed the name correctly and then try again

  • Diane Poremsky

    make sure there is a space between outlook.exe and /cleanviews.

  • Bill

    Wonderous. Thank you very uch indeed.

  • Michael

    I accidently deleted the From tab in the outlook mail box. How do I restore it?

  • Diane Poremsky

    If you mean in the message list, reset the view. There is a Reset button on the View tab in Outlook 2010/2013. In all versions you can click on Arrange By at the top of the list and choose Customize, then Reset.

    If you mean from the compose message form, Show / Hide the From field is on the Options tab.

  • Gretchen Gettelman

    Did MS Outlook 2010 fix the issue with not being able to change the default view for NEW folders (see Tom's post on Dec 17, 2011 above)?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Yes and no. You can't change the default view but its easier to apply views to all folders in Outlook 2010 and 2013, and if you customize the default view, that is the view that will be used on new folders.

  • Duck

    What do I do if I only have Outlook Web Access? How do I reset all views to NOT use the [*&%^!] 'Group by' setting?

  • Diane Poremsky

    What version of Exchange/OWA? Look in Options but Views aren't fully customizable in all versions of OWA.

  • JeffC

    Please don't suggest that I try the default grouping. I'm here (and I suspect that many others are as well) because I HATE the default. I suppose MS did lots of customer research and determined that the current grouping default setting is preferred by most people. Guess I'm in the minority. Even so, it should be more intuitive on the UI how to remedy this frustration.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Grouping is one of those things you either love or hate. The only way to disable it on all folders is by changing the default view. (If you use Outlook 2010/2013, you can apply a groupless view to all folders.)