Have you got lots of emails in your Inbox clogging it up and making you feel overwelemed? When this happens the thought of trawling through to clean things up can be just too much.

In this how to blog I share with you a tip that can help reduce the load somewhat.

Clean up your conversations by using Conversation Cleanup.

Conversation cleanup

Conversation Cleanup deletes all the messages that you no longer need – these are the messages whose text is contained within later messages. Typically when you reply to an email, the original text is kept in the email underneath your reply. In this case there is no need to keep the original clogging up your inbox.

Clean up a conversation

Cleanup Conversation





  1. On the Home Ribbon click the drop down arrow under Clean Up
  2. Select Clean up Conversation

In the conversation we are cleaning up here there are 4 messages, the first email and all the responses within the conversations.

Cleaned UP conversation





When Lisa cleans up the conversation, the original email from Lisa will be removed as the text is included in the others.

Cleaned up conversation

Cleanup conversation settings





Here is that conversation again, now it has been cleaned up – only three messages remain as the text of the original is included in each of the others.

Clearned up conversation in outlook





Messages are cleaned up according to your settings

When you click Clean up Conversation on the Home Ribbon you can get to the settings by clicking File > Options>Mail and then scroll down to Conversation Clean Up.


Cleanup settings





  1. Tick or un-tick the boxes
  2. Click Browse to set where cleaned up messages go – usually this is the Deleted Items folder

Clean Up Folder

Cleanup Folder





This command reviews all messages in the current folder and removes any that are contained within the body of any other message.

Clean Up Folder & Sub Folders

This command looks at all the messages in the current folder and any subfolders that it may have. It will remove any messages that are early parts of conversations and are contained within the body of other messages.

Ignore a conversation

You can choose to ignore a conversation. This will move all email in that conversation to the deleted items folder and it will automatically move any future emails directly to the deleted items folder so long as they have the same subject.

Ignore Conversations

Be careful with this one as Outlook identifies the conversation based on the subject line. If you receive email in the future with the same subject line, that will be ignored too!





Have fun cleaning up your Inbox! Or at the very least making a start.

Shelley Fishel



Posted in Outlook WindowsTagged , ,

4 thoughts on “Want to clean up conversations that clog up your Inbox? Try this

  1. Hi Shelly, thanks for this information it is very helpful. I do, however, have a question. If the first message in a conversation contained attachments would it still delete the original email. Quite often in my work there will be documents to reference in the initial email.

    1. Hi Stacey, thanks for asking. When redundant conversations are deleted it only looks at the body and checks if the message is included in one of the other ones. It does not look at attachments. I suggest saving the attachments out of Outlook to a folder on your system or in OneDrive – that way you always have them. You will also reduce the size of your Outlook Inbox which can become very large when you use it to store attachments…

      1. I would think that it would be inconvenient to keep storing documents outside of the email. Most of the time when we view this document, it makes sense in the context of the email. If we store them outside, we lose that context.

        1. Hi Salam – I understand your point. However, the Inbox is not an infinite storage location. When it gets full one way to reduce it is to save the attachments elsewhere. If you are working on a project and have a folder for that project, keeping emails and attachments there can be very helpful.

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The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes