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Outlook add-on for organising emails hierarchically?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Jul 8, 2020 at 05:56 PM


Is there some kind of an add-on for Outlook that allows you to organise emails hierarchicallly, in an outline-like form?

Alternatively, is there some PIM or outliner software where you could just drag and drop Outlook items directly?

I’m on Windows 7 Pro, using Outlook 365 (the full Outlook client).

Previously I used the simplified Outlook web client in conjunction with WorkFlowy and the Clip to Workflowy Chrome extension.

The great thing about the simple Outlook web client was that each email had a specific URL, and so it was easy to organise emails in WorkFlowy and just click on the URL to get back to the given email in Outlook.

However, recently I switched to the fuller web version of Outlook because I like the option to have a dark theme. The downside is that it does not allow using the specific URL for each message any more.

So I’m stuck with either giving up on the idea of the dark theme or no longer being able to have a hierarchical organisation for important emails.

Any other solutions for this? I realise that are PIMs that may have some integration with Outlook. But I’m really just looking for the simplest drag-and-drop functionality of select emails, rather than managing all emails from yet another software (unless there are some really compelling reasons for doing so).

You may ask why do I use both the Windows version of Outlook and the web-version in Chrome? Because I often switch between my Windows laptop and my various Chromebooks, plus because I like to use the dark theme that the web version has, once I my eyeballs can no longer handle the bright white Outlook in Windows.

Thanks in advance.


Posted by Franz Grieser
Jul 8, 2020 at 08:22 PM



I am not sure I understand your request.

Outlook does not need a separate add-in for managing emails hierarchically: You can create folders (and folders in folders) and drag&drop emails into these folders; you can also create rules to automatically move emails into folders.

When you need an URL for an email: Save the email as .msg. or .html file. You can do that manually or use an add-in for bulk-processing your emails (if you’re interested, I can point you to the best add-ins for that).


Posted by Dr Andus
Jul 8, 2020 at 10:27 PM


Franz Grieser wrote:
>I am not sure I understand your request.

Thanks for your suggestions.

I think I’m a difficult case, as I don’t really like to use Outlook, so ideally I’d prefer to either lift those emails out of Outlook into another software, so I can organise them there, or link to individual Outlook messages from another software, just like I used to do via WorkFlowy to Outlook in Chrome.

I guess I don’t like to use the folders in Outlook because it’s a bit all too permanent. In WorkFlowy if an email does not turn out to be important, it just gets eventually burried and sedimented over by all the newer WorkFlowy items. But, if I ever need to find that email again, I can find it in its hierarchy or through a search.

I realise I was asking for an add-on or add-in in Outlook, but maybe I was asking for the wrong thing then.

Eventually it’s not the email that actually matters but the task or information that it represents or contains. So in WorkFlowy I could just deal with it as a todo or a project item or whatever, and the URL was just there in case I ever needed to look up that email again, to see the rest of the message for context, or if I needed to respond to the people who were copied into the email.

Basically what happened was that my workplace upgraded to Office 365, so suddenly I was able to run the full Windows client on my laptop and to use the nice dark theme on the web client in Chrome, but this has disrupted my existing system that I had with WorkFlowy.

I do need some of the functionality of the full Outlook (previously I just used VMware to dial into the server version, if I ever needed to sort messages via sender or subject etc., which is rather limited in the simplified web version), but now I’m realising that I miss the extra layer of organisation that I had running in WorkFlowy.

I may just need to revert to the super simple web client, so I can have those URL links again…


Posted by Leib Moscovitz
Jul 9, 2020 at 04:01 AM


There is a PIM that lets you do this - Ultrarecall; you can drag and drop Outlook emails into UR and then organize them hierarchically or however you wish.

There is even a hack which enables you to display Outlook emails internally in UR, and then, again, you can drag them into UR and manipulate them as you see fit.


Posted by Franz Grieser
Jul 9, 2020 at 06:39 AM


Dr Andus wrote:

>Eventually it’s not the email that actually matters but the task or
>information that it represents or contains.

Then, the full-blown Outlook client is probably overkill. It’s built for handling, managing and archiving massive amounts of emails, for managing contact addresses, calendar items and tasks (though it’s not a very powerful todo manager). If you do not use these capabilities, you are probably better off with a simpler tool.


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