Sorting Accounts in the Navigation Pane in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook allows you to have multiple accounts within a single Outlook profile. Outlook 2010 even allows you to have multiple Exchange accounts in the same profile. The delivery destination for new content is specific to each account. You can have all accounts deliver to a single location, like an Exchange mailbox or a PST file, or you can have each account deliver new content to its own unique destination. PSTs are also not tied to the machine or Outlook installation used in their creation. When closed, a PST can be opened by other installations of Microsoft Outlook or with a number of tools that adhere to PST data standards. When you open a PST file, you may have a single account or many accounts, depending on whether multiple accounts were configured to deliver content there.

These accounts are listed in the Navigation pane when in Mail view or when the view is set to Folder List. The top level of the PST file hierarchy can be assigned a name, typically chosen when the PST file is created. Sometimes users find that the accounts listed in the Navigation pane are not in the preferred order. Outlook sorts these account alphabetically by name. That name is configurable. To change the order, just change the names to adhere to alphabetical sequence.

Figure 1 shows an Outlook 2007 installation with four accounts created and configured. To move the account called MMG listed in Figure 1 to the bottom, we need to change its name to reflect a later position in the alphabet than any of the other names. To change the name, right-click on the name in the navigation view and select Properties. Near the bottom of the properties window, click on the Advanced button. Now near at the top of the Advanced Properties window, as seen in Figure 2, you can change the name of the account. For this example, I changed it to Web—MMG. Figure 3 shows the net result of that change with the updated order of the presentation of the actual accounts.

When I open archived PSTs I prepend the account name within the PST with “z_” to present them as the last account in the navigation pane. This tip can be helpful where you have many accounts opened simultaneously or when you open many additional PSTs throughout the day.

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