Do You Have Too Many Folders?
If you’ve been using Outlook for any amount of time, then you’re probably aware of several great Outlook tips and tricks that can help you organize your inbox. If that’s the case, then chances are you have many folders within your mailbox to help you keep messages organized and out of the main inbox.
Here’s the thing, though: You can eventually reach a point where you have too many folders to handle. When this happens, you stop organizing your messages or you start holding onto every email that makes its way to you… and neither option is ideal for email anxiety or data management.
So, what happens when you have too many folders? Well, it may be time to learn how to delete a folder in Outlook.
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How To Delete Folders In Outlook
Maintaining well-organized folders within your inbox can really help cut down on the amount of clutter you see every time you check your mail. However, these folders can also take up space or get in the way of your quest to achieve Outlook Inbox Zero. Therefore, you may want to occasionally remove folders you no longer need or ones that contain outdated information.
Like anything else, figuring out how to delete folders in Outlook can be a bit of a pain at first. Also, the version you use determines what steps you need to take to remove these folders (or if deleting folders is even possible). Therefore, we’ve broken down how to delete Outlook folders into bite-size steps based on which version you use.
Delete Outlook folders in the web app
- Open your mail account on web.
- From the folder pane on the left side, right-click the folder (or subfolder) you wish to be deleted.
- Select Delete Folder.
- Select OK to confirm this change to your inbox.
💡 Note: You cannot delete built-in folders such as Inbox, Sent, or Junk.
Delete Outlook folders in the desktop email client
- Open your mail account in the desktop application.
- From the folder pane on the left side, right-click the folder (or subfolder) you wish to remove.
- Select Delete Folder.
- You’ll receive a message asking if you want to move this folder and all of its contents to your Deleted Items folder (or Trash). Select Yes.
- To permanently remove everything, you will now need to go and empty your Deleted Items (Trash) folder. You can do this by right-clicking on the folder and choosing Empty Folder.
💡 Note: You cannot remove built-in folders such as Inbox, Sent, or Junk.
How to delete folders in Outlook mobile app on iPhone or Android
Unfortunately, Outlook does not offer a way to delete folders in the mobile app. This applies to both iOS and Android versions of the app.
However, if you want to delete a folder for your Outlook mobile app, you still can — you just need to log into that same mailbox from Outlook.com and follow the steps outlined above in the section that explains how to delete folders in the web version.
How to delete all emails in a folder in Outlook
If you have any emails in a folder you remove, these messages will also be removed from your mailbox. However, you will need to take the additional step to empty your Deleted Items (Trash) folder.
To empty the Trash or Deleted Items folder, just right-click on that folder and choose Empty Folder to clear it out. This will permanently remove all emails within the folder you deleted.
How To Delete Multiple Folders In Outlook
If you’re fairly tech-savvy, you may have already tried to use the Control key to see if you can highlight multiple folders so you can delete them all at once. Unfortunately, that’s not the way to delete multiple folders in Outlook. Instead, you’ll need to take a few extra steps.
💡 Note:These steps work with both the web and desktop apps.
- Login to your mail account.
- Create a new folder for your inbox. Be sure to name it something obvious, like “Temp” or “To Delete.” (If you aren’t sure how to do that, we have a guide that explains how to create folders in Outlook as well.)
- Once the folder is created, drag any folders you want to delete into that folder. This will make them Subfolders within that temporary folder.
- Now, right-click on that main folder you created and select Delete Folder. You’ll be prompted to confirm the action, and you will select OK (web) or Yes (desktop).
- The folders will now be deleted. However, you will need to empty your Trash or Deleted Items to remove everything permanently.
Organize Your Outlook Inbox Even More With Clean Email
Although there is no option to delete custom folders outside of Outlook itself, that doesn’t mean you can’t use other tools to help you reclaim your inbox and keep it organized. In fact, we recommend Clean Email as a useful email management tool for anyone who wants to keep their inbox running smoothly.
Clean Email offers several tools that can save you the trouble of learning how to delete multiple emails in Outlook. For example, Smart Folders gives you easy access to messages based on specific commonalities the app identifies within your inbox.
These could be “Top senders” or “Miscellaneous notifications.” Once you open these Smart Folders, you can easily select all messages and delete or move them to a folder — whatever makes the most sense to you.
Similarly, the Unsubscriber tool lets you remove yourself from promotional mailings you don’t wish to receive or move them to a dedicated Read Later folder to keep them organized and out of your main inbox. And, since Unsubscriber works by domain, you won’t have to worry about sneaky messages slipping through the cracks.
Or, you can use Auto Clean to set up automation rules to save you time on common tasks you perform in your inbox. If you’re wondering how to automatically delete emails in Outlook or how to automatically shift certain messages into a dedicated folder, then this feature is for you.
As you can see, Clean Email can certainly help you organize your inbox even if it can’t help you remove folders in Outlook.
💡 Note: There are two versions of Outlook: the mail service provider (meaning you have an @outlook.com mailbox or similar) and the Outlook desktop client (which links with Gmail and many other mail providers). Because of the way these each work, any actions you perform in Clean Email only translate to the mail service provider, which means that they may not show up if you use the Outlook desktop client.
Wondering to learn more Outlook tricks? Check out our guides on how to select multiple emails in Outlook and how the Outlook categories work.
How To Delete a Folder In Outlook - FAQs
Why can't I delete folder in Outlook?
Outlook contains several built-in folders, such as Inbox, Trash, and Sent Items. Unfortunately, because these folders are important for your mailbox to function, you cannot remove these folders.
How to delete folders in Outlook app on Android phone?
Currently, there’s no way to delete folder in Outlook mobile for Android or iOS. However, you can easily work around this by removing the folder through the web app — the action will automatically be applied to your mobile app.
How do I delete folders in Outlook permanently?
Believe it or not, items don’t just disappear when you delete folders in Outlook. Instead, they go to the Trash (Deleted Items) folder, which you can empty.
How do I delete multiple folders in Outlook at once?
Unfortunately, you can’t select multiple folders in Outlook at once. However, you can follow the same steps on how to delete folders in Outlook once you dump all the folders into a single one.