Focused Inbox and Office 365 Emails

Microsoft introduced a feature called Clutter, that will route emails that don't seem important to the user to another folder called Other. This was a good approach to help users focus on emails that would be important to them, and they can check the Other folder later on, however, users needed to visit another folder in order to see emails. That's why Microsoft introduced Focused/Other filters.

 

Now in Office 365, emails will have 2 filter tabs, Focused and Other. Important emails are going to appear in the Focused tab, and other emails will appear the other tab clearly. Now a lot of questions might come up when using these features, so let's review some of them: 

 

  • How can a user control what emails appear in other and what emails appear in focused tab? 

There are algorithms that teach the application what emails are good enough to appear in the Focused tab, so once a user moves an email from the Other tab to the Focused tab, Outlook will know that this email source is important for the user, and it'll make sure to make upcoming emails from this source appear in the Focused tab.

 

  • Can a user disable this whole functionality in his Outlook application?

Yes, you can do so by selecting the filter dropdown beside the tabs, and unchecking the option to "Show Focused Inbox", as shown in the image below: 

Focused Other 
Filter 
Next: No events for the ne 
V All 
Filter 
no-reply@sharepoi 
Raed Ibrahim mentioned y 
Raed Ibrahim: Hey @Moha 
Last week 
Microsoft 
Changes coming to Power 
Find the version that's best f 
Microsoft Online Se 
Unread 
To me 
Flagged 
Mentions 
Sort by 
Show as 
V Show Focused Inbox 
View your Office 365 Ente

 

 

Now let's have a look at this scenario, let's say you're working on a project inside SharePoint online, and one of your colleagues mentions you in the newsfeed inside that project portal, like the following image: 

 

Newsfeed (9) 
Raed Ibrahim 
Hello @Mohamed D«halli I am excited to start on this project What's the plan? 
A few seconds ago Like Reply

 

You're going to receive an email from: no-reply@sharepointonline.com,  But .. That email is going to appear only under the Other tab, and here's the catch, you won't receive notifications for emails that appear under the Other tab. By notifications I mean, you won't get notified when you're working in Office 365 that you received a new email: 

 

Undo 
? Mohamed Dernalli 
Notifications 
Nothing new right now

 

Remember that the newsfeed web part only sends emails when you're mentioned. 

 

So how do you solve this? You can't just ask each employee to disable the Focused functionality. You have 2 options in this case, either tell Exchange Online to route all emails from no-reply@sharepointonline.com to the Focused tab, or you can just disable the Focused inbox functionality on the tenancy level. Here's how we can do that: 

 

 

Go to your Office 365 Exchange admin center, and from the left navigation, click "mail flow". Click the + sign to add a new rule: 

 

permissions 
compliance management 
organization 
protection 
mail flow 
mobile 
public folders 
unified messaging 
Create a new rule... 
Apply rights protection to messages... 
ere are no Iti 
Apply disclaimers... 
Bypass spam filtering... 
Filter messages by size.. 
Generate an incident report when sensitive information is detected... 
Modify messages... 
Restrict managers and their direct reports... 
Restrict messages by sender or recipient... 
Send messages to a moderator... 
Send messages and save a copy for review...

 

 

A new window will appear, that looks like this: 

 

new rule 
Name: 
*Apply this rule if... 
Select one 
*Do the following„. 
Select one 
Properties of this rule: 
Audit this rule with severity level: 
Not specified 
Choose a mode for this rule: 
@ Enforce 
O 
Test with Policy Tips 
O 
Test without Policy Tips 
More options... 
Riahts Manaaement Services (RMS) is a premium feature that requires an Enterorise Client Access License (CAL) or a RMS 
Save 
Cancel

 

 

 

 

Give the rule a name, let's say: "Other to Focused Emails Routing", then choose "The recipient address includes…" and click "Enter words…" and add the address you want to appear under Focused tab for all users, in this case no-reply@sharepointonline.com, then click the + sign and hit OK. 

 

 

specify words or phrases 
Cancel

 

 

 

Then go all the way down and click "More options…":  

 

new rule 
Name: 
*Apply this rule if... 
Select one 
*Do the following„. 
Select one 
Properties of this rule: 
Audit this rule with severity level: 
Not specified 
Choose a mode for this rule: 
@ Enforce 
O 
Test with Policy Tips 
O 
Test without Policy Tips 
More options... 
Riahts Manaaement Services (RMS) is a premium feature that requires an Enterorise Client Access License (CAL) or a RMS 
Save 
Cancel

 

 

In the "Do the following…" dropdown list, choose: Modify the message properties > set  a message header

 

the following„. 
Select one 
Select one 
Forward the message for approval.„ 
Redirect the message to.„ 
Block the message„. 
Add recipients„. 
Apply a disclaimer to the message... 
Modify the message properties.„ 
Modify the message security„. 
Prepend the subject of the message with.„ 
Notify the sender with a Policy Tip... 
Generate incident report and send it to„. 
Notify the recipient with a message.. 
remove a message header 
set a message header 
apply a message classification 
set the spam confidence level (SCL)

 

 

 

Set the header to: X-MS-Exchange-Organization-BypassFocusedInbox  and the value to true. So the final result should be: 

 

new rule 
Name: 
Other to Focused Emails Routing 
*Apply this rule if... 
The recipient address includes„. 
add condition 
*Do the following„. 
Set the message header to this value.. 
add action 
Except if... 
add exception 
Properties of this rule: 
Audit this rule with severity level: 
Not specified 
A for this 
Set the message header 'X-MS-Exchange-Organization- 
BypassFocusedInbOx' to the value •Enter text 
Save 
Cancel

 

 

Click save, and that's it. You can wait for a couple of minutes, and then test it. Upcoming emails will be delivered to the Focused tab, and you will receive notifications.

 

 

 

The other option would be to disable the Focused inbox functionality for all users in the tenancy, which leaves you with PowerShell. Once you connect to Exchange Online using PowerShell, you can run the following 2 commands: 

 

Get-OrganizationConfig

Set-OrganizationConfig -FocusedInboxOn $false

 

 

I prefer doing the first approach, and just routing the important emails to users' Focused tab, and give them the freedom to have it if they need.