Can’t see all unread items

The Inbox shows in parenthesis (9). However, opening up the Inbox shows a blank page, or only one or two messages, but certainly not nine.

Why does it show more unread items than there are actually there?

Unread Emails buttonThis usually happens because of one of the following reasons:

  1. You have Focused Inbox enabled.
  2. You have a filter applied to your view.
  3. You are not allowed to see private items in a shared mailbox.

The first scenario is easy to recover from but for the second scenario you’ll need the cooperation of the mailbox owner.

You have Focused Inbox enabled

When you have Focused Inbox enabled, you’ll see 2 tabs above the message list; Focused and Other.

Based on your usage of Outlook and message characteristics, messages that are deemed unimportant or lower priority to you will show on the Other tab.

Focused Inbox is available when using Outlook for Office 365 or Outlook 2019. It will also require you to use Office 365 Exchange Online, Exchange or an Outlook.com account.

To turn Focused Inbox on or off, select your Inbox folder and choose;

  • View-> Show Focused Inbox

Focused Inbox separates your Inbox into a Focused and Other tab.
Focused Inbox separates your Inbox into a Focused and Other tab.

You have a filter applied to your view

Filter buttonIn most cases you’ll also see the remark “Filter Applied” in the Status Bar in the left bottom corner. Switching to the Messages view or resetting the Messages view will show all messages again.

To switch to the messages view choose:

  • Outlook 2007
    View-> Current View-> Messages
  • Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016 / 2019 / Office 365
    View-> Change View-> Compact (or Single, if you prefer that)

If you are already in the Messages view, you can remove the filter or reset the view:

  • Outlook 2007
    View-> Current View-> Customize Current View…
    • To Reset: press Reset Current View
    • To modify/remove the filter: press the Filter… button
  • Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016 / 2019 / Office 365 (Classic Ribbon)
    • To Reset: View-> button: Reset View
    • To modify/remove the filter: View-> View Settings-> Filter…
  • Office 365 (Single Line Ribbon)
    • To Reset: View-> Current View-> Reset View
    • To modify/remove the filter: View-> Current View-> View Settings-> Filter…

You are not allowed to see private items in a shared mailbox

Private buttonWhen you are in a folder of a shared Exchange mailbox and you do not have the permission to view items which are marked as private, then folder could be displaying the wrong amount of unread items for you.

To resolve this, you must contact the Mailbox owner and ask if you can have the “Delegate can see my private items” permission.

The mailbox owner can do this via the Delegates dialog.

  1. Open the Delegates dialog:
    • Outlook 2007
      Tools-> Options-> tab Delegates
    • Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016 / 2019 / Office 365
      File-> Account Settings-> Delegate Access
  2. Select the Delegate.
  3. Click the Permissions button.
  4. At the bottom select the option: “Delegate can see my private items”.

For more information on setting permissions see Setting Permissions on a Mailbox.

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