Microsoft updates Outlook.com, improves search and deletion

One of the most used features that Microsoft has put into its Outlook.com email service is a way to quickly get rid of a large number of messages at once. Today, the company announced some new improvements for users in finding and deleting mass emails.

In a post on the Outlook blog, Microsoft says that the UI on the site has been improved so that it takes less time to use the Sweep delete feature; Microsoft said that Sweep is used 7.5 million times each week on Outlook.com. In addition, searching inside the site has been updated. Microsoft states that searching for a specific person will now bring up their name, pictures and all of their email addresses. Microsoft says, "Advanced search also now contains more search criteria and has a cleaner UI, and filters can be applied to the search results.

Microsoft also notes that this Sunday begins the seventh annual National Clean Out Your Inbox Week. The blog offers some tips to Outlook.com users to help them with deleting unwanted emails and organizing the rest. That includes setting up different categories for emails and then removing those messages from the inbox and into an archive.

Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Most antivirus programs to support Windows XP well past its own end date

Next Story

Apple stays U.S. smartphone market leader, sees more growth than Samsung

43 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I don't see how people prefer Outlook over Gmail. One thing I hate about outlook is the annoying advertising sidebar. You get in and want to get to work on your email but have to wait for that stupid thing to load. Then on top of that it takes up much needed space. Do they really need to put those ugly, intrusive ads right in your face. Just ruins the experience for me.

Also, gmail is just the king of implementation and extensions that you just cannot get with Outlook. I like the look of Outlook and it's clean design (minus the ad) but gmail is just more functional and works better and I always go back to it. Love how you can open a pdf or document very easily into another tab also which I believe with Outlook you have to download it.

Outlook.com fully supports opening PDFs and other document types in the browser. The link is under every compatible attachment.

As for wasted real estate, you're off the mark on that, too. In case you haven't used Gmail in a while, a good chunk of horizontal space is taken up when reading email there, too. If anything, message content is given significantly less horizontal room in Gmail than Outlook.com.

Boyd Petersen said,
I don't see how people prefer Outlook over Gmail. One thing I hate about outlook is the annoying advertising sidebar. You get in and want to get to work on your email but have to wait for that stupid thing to load. Then on top of that it takes up much needed space. Do they really need to put those ugly, intrusive ads right in your face. Just ruins the experience for me.

Also, gmail is just the king of implementation and extensions that you just cannot get with Outlook. I like the look of Outlook and it's clean design (minus the ad) but gmail is just more functional and works better and I always go back to it. Love how you can open a pdf or document very easily into another tab also which I believe with Outlook you have to download it.

A personal opinion and an assumption.
Use what you like the most, but accept a lot of people don't like using Gmail, Google+ or Google for that matter.
Especially on a Windows favoured forum/website ;-)

Boyd Petersen said,
Do they really need to put those ugly, intrusive ads right in your face. Just ruins the experience for me.

Adblock Plus solves that problem.

Love these updates and love Outlook.com........ now they need to hurry up and make the Outlook app on WP8 on par!!! It's so lacking compared to Outlook.com and Win8.1 app :-(

But I have a feeling they'll make it a separate app in WP8.1... just like they will for Xbox Music so they can bring faster updates.

Outlook.com is great, and I love the way it integrates with Office 2013 and my WP8, as well as other services like SkyDrive. Powerful, easy to use across multiple devices, consistent UI experience... MS got that part right.

Microsoft and Google have very different design styles / direction.
It's ok to like one over the other. Just realize not everyone will agree with your choice.


Cyborg_X said,
Now if they could make the mail app in Windows 8 this good. The current app is useless garbage.

Or you could, you know, use the 8.1 mail app.

Cyborg_X said,
I am. It sucks.

In fairness, it depends on your needs. I just need to view / quick reply to mails, so it's fine for that purpose. For something more complicated, a fully fledged mail client (like Outlook) or even the web interface is better.

I like the outlook.com website a lot better than the mail app in Windows 8(.1).
The app is fine for reading some mails but you have to dig deep to actually find them.

CAP-Team said,
I like the outlook.com website a lot better than the mail app in Windows 8(.1).
The app is fine for reading some mails but you have to dig deep to actually find them.

Agreed, the website is far better. Windows 8.1 app still has no quick button to archive a message like the website, and it's still painfully slow.

Like the synchronization with the draft folder between the Windows Phone and Outlook.com. It doesn't make sense for me to start an email on my phone and can't resume it on Outlook.com or the reverse.

I use GMAIL since I have an Android. I also have an Outlook account reserved.

Use what you want. Better is subjective at this point. If Outlook is what you prefer, great...more power to ya.

Glad MS is improving Outlook. It is great for competition. And without companies like Google, Apple......, then a lot of things people like with MS, probably wouldn't exist. Competition fuels innovation and makes companies make better products and provide better customer support.

Edited by techbeck, Jan 16 2014, 7:38pm :

If you want to search it, then why delete it in the first place? They have this thing called 'Archive' that is meant for archival-without-deletion.

Anything in the Junk and Deleted folders are flagged to bye-bye-forever within 30-90 days.

Let's say I accidentally delete something... if it's not in date order, I have to dig through my deleted to recover it, rather than search for what I deleted.

Does this fix quick searching? I noticed since release if you don't let the page fully load (search as soon as you can access search), searches won't work nearly as well

Edited by anothercookie, Jan 16 2014, 6:27pm :

outlook.com is without a doubt the best consumer level email service UI I have ever used (personal opinion obviously). Its clean, simple and fast and has excellent tools which continue to grow at rapid pace.

couldnt agree more. Outlook email is intuitive and features keep getting added a remarkable pace. One of the few things MS seems to have done right Since Windows 7

They still have some things they need to fix (unless I missed anything), like better filtering of emails (more than one criteria).

globalist said,
Are you serious? It's a ****ing eye-sore is what it it, same as Outlook/Office 2013.


My guess is that they havent used Gmail. A web email app with actual functionality.

globalist said,
Are you serious? It's a ****ing eye-sore is what it it, same as Outlook/Office 2013.

So, by your criteria, what's a good email system in 2014?

Let's leave "good" and "functionality" out of it for now. I am merely saying that the UI in Outlok.com is hideous and makes you NOT want to use the system. Also the few color skinning choices are pathetic.

Beyond Godlike said,
My guess is that they havent used Gmail. A web email app with actual functionality.
GMail is like using Office 97. You can get your work done, but you feel like you've gone back in time. Hell, going into settings should include a laugh track.

Beyond Godlike said,


My guess is that they havent used Gmail. A web email app with actual functionality.

What actual functionality? I guess you haven't used Outlook/OWA/Outlook.com

Totally agree with you. Even though I use Android, I can't see myself using Gmail. Gmail is to crowded and congested and stays full of ads. At least with Outlook, you can choose a premium plan that leaves the ads out of your email service.

Beyond Godlike said,


My guess is that they havent used Gmail. A web email app with actual functionality.


I was gmail user before outlook.com. Gmail is OK. I am still using it sometimes but outlook hands down more robust and better looking. very modern look and feel and easy to navigate. I also appreciate Facebook and Gtalk integration in outlook

Lord Method Man said,
I use Gmail when I feel like re-living 2007.

I guess thats a good thing, because 2014 for Outlook.com is just plain email with no sorting rules. I cant imagine how anyone who gets alot of mail would use outlook.com.

Id rather my email client look decent and had features than did nothing and looked pretty.

duddit2 said,
outlook.com is without a doubt the best consumer level email service UI I have ever used (personal opinion obviously). Its clean, simple and fast and has excellent tools which continue to grow at rapid pace.

I agree, much much better than gmail

Beyond Godlike said,

I guess thats a good thing, because 2014 for Outlook.com is just plain email with no sorting rules. I cant imagine how anyone who gets alot of mail would use outlook.com.

Id rather my email client look decent and had features than did nothing and looked pretty.

OK heres the rub, outlook.com and other consumer targeted email services that are FREE are generally not geared up for work, or even for power use. That's not to say you cant use them for this, not one bit, but the kind of things you mention are generally things associated with work or power use of email.

MS already has the market for the work side covered via exchange and office 365 (again exchange), combined with either OWA or outlook (app), this is where real power use comes into play to this end google is left for dust 100%.

The vast majority of people using a free consumer level email service want simple, clean and easy use, they want it to run fluidly and fast and not be filled with clutter. to this end outlook.com leaved gmail for dust.

People stuck using google apps at work, I feel sorry for, as its a far lesser experience than an exchange based system. I used it for a while, actually setting some customers systems up for it but the support requests and frustration I experienced from end users was staggering, all have switched to the lowest office 365 plan now and are very happy with it.

I do like Outlook.com a lot; however it still seems incomplete and the Tasks in Calendar are abysmal. Can't even print tasks out and all you can do is a simple task list.

Lamp Post said,
They still have some things they need to fix (unless I missed anything), like better filtering of emails (more than one criteria).

Yes they do. I miss Gmail's filters which enabled you to mark a message as read. I never use Outlook.com's filters because it moves new mail into folders without marking it read.

Beyond Godlike said,
I guess thats a good thing, because 2014 for Outlook.com is just plain email with no sorting rules. I cant imagine how anyone who gets alot of mail would use outlook.com.

Id rather my email client look decent and had features than did nothing and looked pretty.

Are. You. F**king. Serious!?! Categories & Rules. You must have spent less than 60 seconds investigating that service. Simple rule generation and automated sweep. Categories easy peasy. Honestly.