How to Group Items in Outlook 2013

Sorting and grouping in Outlook 2013 are similar. Both procedures organize items in your table according to columns. Grouping is different from sorting in that it creates bunches of similar items that you can open or close. You can look at only the bunches that interest you and ignore all the other bunches.

For example, when you balance your checkbook, you probably sort your checks by check number. At tax time, you group your checks: You make a pile of checks for medical expenses, another pile of checks for charitable deductions, and another pile of checks for the money that you invested in For Dummies books.

Then you can add up the amounts that you spent in each category and enter those figures in your tax return.

The quickest way to group items is to right-click the heading of the column you want to group by and then choose Group By This Field. The Group By box automatically appears, and the name of the field you chose automatically appears in the Group By box. Isn’t that slick?

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View grouped items in Outlook 2013

A grouped view shows you the names of the columns that you used to create the grouped view. If you click the Contacts icon and choose the List view (which groups your contacts by company), you see a group of triangular icons on the left side of the list.

The word Company appears next to each icon because that’s the column that the view is grouped on. A company name appears next to the word Company; the grouped view has a separate section for each company in the list.

The icon to the left end of the word Company either points directly to the right or down and to the right.

  • An icon pointing directly to the right means that there’s more to be seen: Click it to reveal the other items that belong to the group.

  • A triangle tilted down and to the right means that there’s nothing more to see; what you see is what you get in that group.

If you click the name of the company but not the icon, you select the entire group. You can delete the group if you select the company name and press Delete. When a group bar is selected, it’s highlighted in blue to distinguish it from the others.

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View headings only in Outlook 2013

You can click each triangle one at a time to open and close individual groups, or you can open or close all the groups simultaneously.

To open or close groups, follow these steps:

  1. Click the View tab and click the Expand/Collapse button.

    Expanding and collapsing are dramatic words for what you’re doing with these groups. It’s not like Scarlett O’Hara getting the vapors; it’s just revealing (expanding) or hiding (collapsing) the contents.

  2. Choose Collapse This Group or Expand This Group.

  3. To expand or collapse all the groups, choose Expand All or Collapse All.

    What could be easier?

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