What is a conversation in Outlook?

A conversation in Outlook is where you show the back and forth between email recipients in what is also known as a Thread. I was thinking about what a conversation is and went to the Thesaurus in Word to find out.VAs – are you using Conversations in Outlook to save time?

To get to the Thesaurus – go to the Review Ribbon and click on Thesaurus in the Proofing Group.

Then enter the word you want to find out about and press enter to search. A list of Synonyms will appear:



Here they are typed up.

  • Chat
  • Talk
  • Discussion
  • Téte-a-téte
  • Dialog
  • Dialogue
  • Exchange
  • Banter
  • Natter
  • Colloquy


So here is what each of these suggestions means to me.


Chat – well this to me is an informal exchange of general news and views between people

Talk – this to me sounds more one sided, one person talking at another or at an audience, talk being delivered

Discussion – an exchange of views between any number of individuals

Téte-a-téte – an intimate conversation usually between two people

Dialogue – a conversation between people

Exchange – well an exchange of views or conversation

Banter – conversation that is jokey

Natter – a really informal conversation

Colloquy – a more formal discussion between many people at a conference or symposium

Well I have to say that I did learn something from looking this up, I found out the definition of a Colloquy which I was not 100% sure about. I do love learning new things, don’t you?

Now we know what Conversations are – are you using them in Outlook?

What exactly do I mean? Well a conversation is an exchange of views or news back and forth between one or more people. So in the context of email I send Bob an email and Bob replies to me. I then send Bob another email in response to his reply and so on.

Arrange your email in Conversations

Turn Conversations on using the View Ribbon – click Show as Conversations.


Now Show as Conversatoins is enabled, when you click the drop down arrow at the top of the folder you wish to rearrange, you will see Arrange by Date (Show as Conversations) – this puts the emails in Date Order and groups them into a conversation so that you can see all the back and forth in one thread.



Email displayed as Conversation

Note triangle that is expanded here, use this to collapse or expand the conversation view to minimise the list of email in your Inbox.


So now back to my original questions to you – are you using Conversations in Outlook to help keep your Inbox tidy and see the conversation in one place? It is also a time saver as all the emails in one conversation are in one place and easy to find. Just expand or collapse the conversation to see them or hide them.

Leave a comment below and let me know if you are using conversations in Outlook.




.P.S. If you need more information on how to take back control of your Inbox – look at my Microsoft Outlook Email Course. You will be amazed at the amount of content that is covered and just about email!