Office 365 Mail Clutter Feature

I had a few people ask me about the Clutter feature in Office 365 mail recently.  Clutter automatically filters out email that you normally ignore and stores it in the Clutter folder instead of the Inbox.  According to the Microsoft documentation, Clutter studies the following to learn your email reading behavior: 

  • The sender Messydesk-300px

  • Whether you participated in the conversation

  • If you’re the only recipient

  • Its importance

You can fine-tune the Clutter feature by right-clicking low-priority mail in your Inbox and selecting Move to Clutter.  You might notice mail in your Clutter folder that you would prefer to appear in your Inbox.  You can right-click this mail and select Move to Inbox.  Within my email, Office 365 has learned that I rarely read Announce emails dealing with Job Announcements and Giveaways.  Those emails automatically get moved to my Clutter folder.  On Sunday evenings I receive an email summarizing what the Clutter feature has been doing for me the past week.

To disable Clutter:

  1. Log into your Office 365 Email
  2. Click the Settings icon (the little gear at the upper-right)
  3. Click Mail at the bottom beneath My app settings
  4. Click Clutter at the left
  5. Uncheck Separate items identified as Clutter
  6. Click Save

Link preview in OWA

In Office 365's Outlook Web App, when you type an email and add a URL, OWA adds a preview that includes a link title, thumbnail, and description of the link. This is called Link Preview, and this feature is enabled by default.

Link Preview

I find myself almost always deleting this preview as soon as it's added, and realized I could probably save myself some unnecessary clicking by just turning the Link Preview feature off.

Turn off Link Preview

  1. On the Navigation bar, in the upper right corner, click Settings.
  2. In the Options pane, under Mail > Layout, click Link preview.
  3. Under Link preview, uncheck the Preview links in email box to turn it off.

If you later decide you made a mistake, just repeat the steps but check the box in step 3 instead.

Too Much Information!! ARSL Program Highlight

In my ARSL Highlights Know More post a couple of weeks ago, I promised to share some of the tips that Crystal Schimpf talked about in her workshop on Too Much Information!! Managing Digital Overload.

TimerOne productivity tip that Crystal mentioned that I also recommend is the Pomodoro technique*. It's a simple and effective tool that helps me focus. We all have those days when it seems like we have a zillion things to do in a short amount of time and don't know where to begin. When that happens, I set the timer on my phone for 20 or 25 minutes, pick one task from my to-do list, and focus on it. If a thought or idea distracts me, I write it down and go back to the task at hand.

Crystal also reminded me (and now I'm reminding you) that we need to learn our Tech Tools better. I'll use email as an example here but this applies to lots of other tools, too. Whether you use Office 365, Gmail, Outlook or some other email program, there are lots of features that you probably don't use. Here are a few things to investigate and implement to help manage your email. Setting up filters or rules can help manage your newsletter or listserv subscriptions. Using flags or color coding can indicate the priority of a message or inclusion in a project - you can set the rules for what flags or colors mean for you.

Here are a few websites that Crystal recommended - I haven't tried all of these out yet:

Let me know if you try any of these tools that Crystal recommends. I'm curious to hear about your experiences.

*I'm using it as I write this TechBits post!


Disable Outlook on the Web Notifications

If you're not a fan of sounds or notifications when a new email arrives to your Office 365, do this...

  1. Click the Gear. Gear

  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Message Options.
  4. Uncheck Play a sound when new items arrive.
  5. Uncheck Display a notification when a new email message arrives.
  6. Click Save.



Office 365 signatures

steps 1 & 2Need to update your O365 email signature? (maybe you still have a line about a new email address that isn't so new anymore...?)  Need to create a signature?

You'll find help with signatures in the Microsoft documentation about signatures.

Step 3

Ignore Feature in Office 365

Have you ever received an email with subject matter that doesn't pertain to your job?  You can simply delete it if you don't want it cluttering your inbox.  What do you do if several people reply to the original email and it quickly turns into a long email conversation?  You can delete all the replies, or you can use the Office 365 Ignore feature.

To ignore an email conversation, just right-click the email in your inbox and select Ignore.  The message below will appear.  Check the box and click OK.

All existing and subsequent responses to the conversation, will go directly to the trash.

You can "undo" the ignore if the conversation is still in the Deleted Items folder.  Open the Deleted Items folder, locate the email conversation, right-click it and select Stop Ignoring.

Helping patrons with email

Do your patrons need help with email? and are 2 great resources for helping patrons learn about technology.
For more than a decade, the program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free. 

The Public Library Association's new site,, is an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded project to create an online hub for digital literacy support and training. Included in is a collection of self-directed tutorials for end-users to increase their digital literacy, and a community of practice for digital literacy trainers to share resources, tools and best practices.

Gmail Help
If your patrons are Gmail users, Gmail Help also has an extensive collection of help pages.

Previous TechBits posts about and

What's the status?

This post was first run in 2009. It is being re-run with minor updates to reflect services that have changed.

Technology doesn't always have to be super complicated. Sometimes the best technology projects are very simple. A great example of this is the SCLS status wiki. This web page allows you to see which SCLS technology services have known issues in almost real time.  You can view this page from any computer, that's right any computer!  (not just a PC on the SCLS network)Crutches

Here is a list of some of the SCLS technology services that might have updates on the SCLS status wiki:

  • Koha
  • Library Online
  • SCLS network
  • Web services
  • OverDrive and other online resources
Let's look at a real world example

The first one will be before you knew about the SCLS status wiki and the second after you started using the SCLS status wiki.


You are sitting at your desk and a coworker says they can't access OverDrive. You spring into action...

Before the SCLS status page

...and in a panic you sprint towards the nearest computer, but on the way you trip and twist your ankle. Down but not out, you crawl to the computer and see that OverDrive is indeed not working. With tears in your eyes, you fumble for the phone and call the Help Desk. After all that, you get a busy signal because everyone else is calling at the same time. Battered and broken, you sit on the floor defeated.

After the SCLS status page

...and calmly open your Internet browser, navigate to the SCLS status wiki see that OverDrive is down.  You also see that SCLS staff are working quickly to resolve the problem. Relaxed and comfortable, you sip on your morning coffee and realize what a beautiful day it is.

Can you really afford not to check the SCLS status wiki?

Marking O365 messages as Read

Have you experienced a situation where you read an email in Office 365 but it doesn’t get marked as read? I like to check my messages on my PC when I’m at work and my Android phone while I’m away from my desk, and sometimes my phone will indicate I have a new message to read even though I already read it on my PC.

The solution I have to remedy this is to:

1.    Click on the Gear in the upper right and select Options
2.    Expand Mail, Automatic processing on the left-hand side (this was already open for me by default)
3.    Select Mark as read
4.    In the window that appears, choose Mark displayed items as read and change the number of seconds to wait before making items as read to zero
5.    Save your changes

This will automatically mark your messages as read once you’ve clicked on them. Now you won’t have messages that you’ve read lingering around acting like they are new.

The end is near! (for accounts)

The end is near! email will be retired at the end of January.  Make sure you're ready!