View only unread messages

The Inbox or any mail folder can be filtered to display only unread messages. By default, unread messages appear in bold in the message list (message list: The middle part of the main Outlook window that displays the contents of the selected folder.).

  1. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), click Inbox or the folder that you want to filter.
  2. Do one of the following:
  • Use Instant Search
  1. At the top of the message list, click in the Instant Search box.

Instant Search box

  1. The Search Tab appears on the ribbon.
  2. On the Search tab, in the Refine group, click Unread.
  • Use Filter E-mail
  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Inbox or the folder that you want to filter.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Find group, click Filter E-mail, and then click Unread.

Filter E-mail command on the ribbon

Clear the search filter

The filter is cleared when you click a different folder in the Navigation Pane.

You can also use the Close Search command on the ribbon.

  • On the Search tab, in the Close group, click Close Search.

Close Search command on the ribbon

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View unread messages across all mail folders

To view all unread messages across multiple folders, use a Search Folder (Search Folder: A virtual folder that provides a view of all e-mail items that match specific search criteria. It is dynamically updated each time the folder is opened.). By default, a Search Folder named Unread Mail appears in the Navigation Pane under Search Folders. If the Unread Mail Search Folder is missing, you can create it by doing the following:

  1. In Mail, on the Folder tab, in the New group, click New Search Folder.
  2. Under Reading Mail, click Unread mail, and then click OK.

For more information about Search Folders, see Create a Search Folder.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010