Tip 1030: When sorting items in a folder doesn't work as expected

Twice this week users asked how to create a view that sorted the items in a folder way they wanted to sort them.

The first person wanted to group tasks by the folder they were in then sort by due date within the group. The other person wanted to sort contacts by icon. Both users had problems creating their views.

The cause of their problem was Outlook's setting to group by the arrangement (select fields). By deselecting the option to group by arrangement, it's possible to sort or group by any fields that support groups or sorting.

To check or change the settings:

    1. Right-click on the row of field names and choose Custom... (or View Settings in Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.)
    2. The Customize View or Advanced View Settings dialog opens (the name changed in Outlook 2010 but it's the same dialog in all versions.)
    3. Click the Group by button
    4. Uncheck the option to automatically group by arrangement
    5. Select the field you want to group by
    6. Click OK to return to the customize view dialog
    7. Click the Sort button
    8. Select the field you want to sort by
    9. Click OK and close the dialogs

Group by arrangement in Outlook view

Published October 8, 2012. Last reviewed on October 18, 2012.