How can I make Outlook 2010 always select the oldest unread message in a conversation when expanding it?

Outlook 2010 inbox is configured to "Show as Conversations" (w/ "Always Expand Conversations" enabled). When a conversation has several unread messages and is not selected, only the most recent appears in my Inbox's list of messages by default (this is expected).

When I click on the conversation, it expands. The conversation's messages are sorted such that the most recent messages appear first/highest under the conversation and oldest messages appear last (this is to my liking).

But, when the conversation gets expanded, the most recent messages is selected and displayed in the Preview Pane, such that I'm viewing a message whose context is lost on me (b/c I haven't read all of the messages before it -- this is not to my liking).

2 Answers 2


From the menu, View > View settings, then click 'Sort...', then select 'Conversation Index' from the dropbox and click 'Descending'.

Click OK, then OK again.

  • 1
    I saw this had a downvote, but this is actually the only thing that worked for me.
    – Michael
    Feb 4, 2016 at 15:54
  • It depends on if you have "Use Classic Indented View" enabled. This answer helped me find a configuration that I like to have newest last and the newest opened when you click on the conversation: Disable "Use Classic Indented View". In View > View settings, then click 'Sort...', select 'Received': 'Descending'. Feb 20, 2017 at 17:59

I just moved from Outlook 2011 for Mac to Outlook 2010. Outlook 2011 selects the oldest unread message when a conversation is expanded and sorts them by newest first. I have not been able to find the equivalence to this yet for Outlook 2010. The only thing I have found that is close is Tip 965 from Outlook Tips:

If you use the Classic Indented View, the messages within a conversation are arranged in proper threading order within the conversation, according to which message was replied to and the received date. (Note that threading may not work as expected with email from mailing lists or with mail sent from some email clients. When outlook doesn't know where the message belongs in the thread, its placed at the end of the thread.)

What I don't like about this is that my messages within a conversation are now sorted by oldest first but so far this is working fine for me.

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