My Outlook email folders have disappeared…help!

Business man pointing at glass screen showing email folders

My Outlook email folders have disappeared…help!

Business man pointing at glass screen showing email folders

How to show your Email Folders if they have disappeared from view

Occasionally when I been delivering training, I’ve had someone tell me that they have lost their email folders. Usually they look exasperated and say something like, ‘They are just not there anymore…or; “how can I show my email folders”? Help!’ When I am training in-person, this is a relatively easy fix. I walk behind them to see their Outlook screen and show them that the folders aren’t gone – they’re just hidden from view. Then I show them how to display the folders again.

However, when training online, it is not quite so simple to explain how to fix this problem. I hope this short little article will be helpful to you if you’ve found yourself in this situation.

Most people know where their email folders are normally located. On the left of your Inbox they show up as shown below (or in a similar position if you have a different version of Outlook).

Screenshot of Outlook Email Folders. Show your email folders

But what happens when you are confronted with this?

Screenshot of Outlook Email Folders that are now hidden.

This can be scary because most of us have that email folders panel showing all the time. We’ve never needed to unhide it. Luckily there’s a very simple, if not completely obvious, answer. To show your email folders again, head across to your View menu, then click on Folder Pane and select Normal. (See below.)

Screenshot showing how to show your email folders again.Once you do that, your email folder list will reappear as seen below.

Screenshot of Outlook Folder Pane in now reappearing. Show your email folders again.

There is one other thing that can happen to make your email folders seem to disappear. In this case, the folders list hasn’t actually disappeared but has instead been collapsed into the ‘minimized’ view on the side, as you can see below.

Screenshot of Outlook Folders have collapsed.

At the top of the ‘normal’ folders list, there is a little arrow (shown below) that can be used to collapse or expand to show your email folders. You might choose to use this little feature when you are using a small laptop screen, for instance, dedicating more of your screen to the view of your emails. You might also enable this view by accidentally clicking on that small arrow, which can really be confusing if you don’t know what you’ve done.

Screenshot of Outlook Folders have collapsed. Show your email folders again.

To expand and show your email folders again, click the small arrow at the top of the collapsed list (the arrow that points right). Once you’ve done that, you can ‘lock’ the normal view in permanently by selecting the pin icon as shown below. (The pin icon will appear after you’ve expanded the list from the minimised/collapsed view.)

Screenshot showing how to pin your email folders.

I hope that is helpful. Once you know how to quickly switch between these two views, it is simple. Now you’ll never be left wondering where your email folders have disappeared to!


Geoff Prior

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