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What Is The Difference Between Outlook’s Clutter And Junk?

The arrival of the new Clutter feature in Microsoft Office 365 caused a certain amount of confusion. Even now, there is much discussion over the difference between Clutter and Junk. In this article, we answer all those burning Clutter questions and set the record straight.

What’s the difference between Clutter and Junk?

Microsoft created the Junk folder to protect users from dangerous spam. Clutter, on the other hand, helps keep your mail tidier and you influence its rules through your usage habits. Think of Junk as rubbish to be disposed of and Clutter is mess that needs to be tidied away.

Does Clutter work automatically like Junk?

Outlook automatically enables Clutter for mailboxes just like Junk, though the way it manages email is slightly different. For Clutter, your personal behaviour signals to Outlook to process and create new rules within your mailbox. For example, the Clutter folder takes moving an email to the Clutter as a signal to move similar messages there. If you reply to an email, it is an indication that the email is not Clutter and so future emails from this sender are likely to remain in the inbox. In contrast, it is the collaborative behaviour of all Outlook users that automatically create the rules for Junk mail.

Is Clutter or Junk best for managing unwanted emails?

Both are very valuable tools. Where Junk will protect you against threats to your PC, Clutter will sift through unimportant emails, such as marketing/newsletter subscriptions.

Is Clutter as useful as Junk?

Since Junk is influenced by Microsoft’s known spam collection, unwanted emails are filtered very well (though a few can slip through the net from time to time). Clutter can be just as effective in managing your unimportant emails but when first enabled it needs time to take in information from your behaviour in order to make smart decisions, so you may have to monitor the folder regularly for a few weeks.

Junk is a valuable feature for all email users because nobody wants spam in their inbox. Clutter, on the other hand, may not be as valuable for all. For example, those who never subscribe to mailing lists will likely not have any use for clutter. If you are in this community and leave Clutter turned on, important emails may accidentally be missed from your inbox.

Where can I find the Clutter and Junk folders?

You’ll find both Clutter and Junk on the left hand panel of your mailbox, underneath the ‘Folders’ heading. You can click and hold the folder names to drag them up and down the list, or to move them into another folder where they will become a sub-folder. To turn Clutter on or off, you must visit the Outlook Web App, click the Gear icon, Options, Automatic Processing, Clutter, then select whether or not to ‘separate items identified as Clutter’ before clicking Save.