Is there a way to sort emails in a folder in Outlook by subject line in a way that they are in ascending order, but that works with for numbers/dates?

For example, the subject lines of some of the emails I have are like this, sorted in ascending order:

  1. "21/07/2016 - Request something"
  2. "21/08/2016 Request something else 2"
  3. "22/07/2016 - Request something else"

I want a way to sort the subjects so they show as in this order:

  1. "21/07/2016 - Request something"
  2. "22/07/2016 - Request something else"
  3. "21/08/2016 - Request something else 2"

Is this possible? It is important that we sort the emails in order of actual date.


Unfortunately you cannot apply a different sorting order to a substring of the subject line in Outlook.

The only options that Outlook itself allows for the sorting order of a specified field are: ascending and descending. They apply to the whole field with the exception of a few prefixes, like RE:, FW:, which are ignored.

The actual order of characters (including accents and national characters) is determined by the operating system's regional settings.

You might try however to add a custom field to your email database and a VBA script to fetch the value by parsing the subject string of your incoming emails.

A sample piece of code (for reference, as it does not solve your problem directly) for retrieving the subjects of incoming emails is for example here.


In the USA, you can write the dates with the year first, then month, then day. It's a standard practice that lets things sort in order in file names and directories, and it works for Outlook as well. For instance, 20160721 for July 21, 2016, etc. You can also add a dash between if it makes it easier for you to read, i.e. 2016-07-21.

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