office 365 focused inbox poster

Office 365 Focused Inbox and Insert Recent Links Features

If you have the Office 365 subscription service, you get updates every month. We’re going to look at 2 new ones: Focused Inbox and Adding Links to Documents.

I’ve recently noticed I’m starting to get an email that notifies me of the new Office 365 updates and to go and read about them. I really like this, otherwise, I just stumble upon it when doing what I usually do and I half-way notice that something seems a bit different!

Focused Inbox

image of how to turn off the focused inbox in Outlook
Focused inbox in on the web

In the May update, they introduced the Focused Inbox. I had already noticed it on the web, but not on my desktop Outlook. Reading about the update, it said if you don’t have it, maybe your admin disabled it. I went to look at my Business Office 365 Admin area and it was disabled. I did enable it so I could try it out.


Focused inbox appeared instantly in my  web Office 365 business account, but not on my desktop Outlook yet. I read in this article from Outlook expert, Diane Poremsky, that I may need to run a PowerShell command to get it working. When you do see it on desktop Outlook, you’ll be able to move items from one box to another to “train” it. There’s an image further below on what it looks like.


To be clear, the focused inbox applies to Outlook 2016 — so you will have it whether you use Outlook with the business Office 365 or the Home Office 365. See my article here where I go through the differences among all the products. It can be confusing!

When I went to one of my accounts on the web, the focused inbox was already working. If you want to disable it on the web go over to the right, where it says, Filter and a box will pop up where you can choose to show it or not.

O365 focused inbox screen turn on or off
Focused inbox in my O365 Business Acct on the web

Focused Inbox to Replace Clutter

Clutter will go away (we don’t know when). If you’ve turned Clutter off, you can still try out the Focused Inbox and if you’ve been using Clutter, the same algorithm will be applied to send things to the “Other” tab right away — no more

how to move items in focused inbox
Training the Focused Inbox (image from Microsoft)

emails go into Clutter.

If you’ve had the Business Office 365, you’ve noticed the Clutter feature. Outlook tries to train itself to observe which emails you don’t open and then it “learns” to move those types to Clutter.

The Clutter folder is meant to be a time-saver. However, it can misfire and cause you to miss important emails, or it can mislearn your habits.

For example, I get notified when anyone connects with me on Twitter or reacts to a post. Since I have my email set to where I can read the first couple of lines, I don’t need to actually click and open this email. I can glance at it and see the whole thing. Because of this, Outlook moves them to Clutter and then I spend time trying to “train” Clutter. 

Here’s the link to Microsoft’s Focused Inbox article to read the announcement.

If you are a business Office 365 Admin, this article from Microsoft gives you a step-by-step on how to set Focused Inbox rules for your organization.


Insert Links From Recent Files into Word, Excel & PowerPoint

When working on a document, wouldn’t it be great if you could include a link to a document? Now you can and it’s not one of those long, convoluted sharing links you get when right-clicking a file.

To add a file to Word, Excel or PowerPoint, stop at the insertion point and then go to the ribbon and click “insert” then image of drop down arrow for insertinglook to the right where you see Link and a drop-down arrow.


Be sure you click on the arrow then you’ll see a list of files you’ve recently worked on. Select one and the name of it gets put in your document, complete with hyperlink.

Insert recent link screen
Image from Microsoft

Note that the only files presented to you are those in either SharePoint or OneDrive. If the file you want isn’t shown, there’s a hyperlink at the bottom of the list to click to take you to more file options.

If you want to apply custom text to your file instead of the file name, type in the text you want, select it with your mouse and then find your file and click on it.


Potential Problem with Inserting Links

When I added a file to a document and then clicked on it, I was prompted to sign into a Microsoft account. That would be really annoying to get that experience! I’m not seeing anything so far in the Community Q&A about this right now.

At least when sharing files in SharePoint or OneDrive, we can choose right there if they can have edit or view access and start and stop sharing dates!

Office 365 Changes and Updates Keep Coming

Microsoft is really trying to move people to using Office 365 on a subscription basis. Rolling out constant improvements and updates are part of the enticement. For those of us using the Business Office 365, the constant changes to the Admin center make it difficult to find what we’re looking for. It’s helpful to have the search feature within the Admin center. 

When the monthly emails come to Office 365 subscribers, they give the newest version number. To check which version of Office you’re using, simply go to the ‘File’ tab from any app and then click ‘Options’ and look to the right and you can see which version you have. It’s in this same spot you can click to check for new updates. 

Do you like these Office 365 constant changes and upgrades? Looks like it’s something we’ll need to get used to since it’s already here!




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