Why is the default message view showing the latest message first? For example, when I click on the conversation and it states 'Latest message shown. Click to view earlier items.' How can I change this? Isn't it more logical to show the first message in the thread, not the last? Surely it is more common to start reading a conversation at the beginning? Is this configurable?
As a person who was in the habit of reading the last chapter of a book before reading the whole book, I'm probably not the right person to ask about reading from the beginning…
If you're reading messages as they arrive, the newest message first makes sense, as you've already read the earlier messages. It would make sense if the oldest unread message was shown when you select a conversation, but it might be more confusing to users than showing the latest message in the thread.
But, yes, it is configurable. If you use the Classic Indented View, the messages within a conversation are arranged in proper threading order within the conversation, according to which message was replied to and the received date. (Note that threading may not work as expected with email from mailing lists or with mail sent from some email clients. When outlook doesn't know where the message belongs in the thread, its placed at the end of the thread.)
To change the conversation view settings, go to the View Ribbon and expand Conversation Settings. Select Use Classic Indented View.
Alternately, you can change the sort order, so oldest messages are on top. While most people find an oldest on top sort order unworkable unless they move or delete their mail as they read it, it will sort the messages within a conversation oldest to newest too.
Published March 15, 2012. Last reviewed on August 14, 2012.