I don’t know what I did but for some reason my emails are out of order;
they’re not in chronological order. It is getting harder to check my e-mail.
Please tell me how I can reset my the order of my emails.
This is one of those things that’s very obvious and easy if you know about
But if you don’t know, it can be extremely frustrating until someone shows
you. And based on how frequently I get the question, a lot of people don’t
So… let me show you.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
I’ll use MSN Hotmail as my example, but the technique applies to
just about any web mail program, and almost all GUI mail programs like
Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora and the like.
Short version: click on the column header you want to sort by. Click
on it again to sort “the other way”.
Here’s a snapshot of my Hotmail inbox:
You can see that my messages are sorted by date, in ascending order.
The date column header shows this because it’s a slightly different
color, and it has an up arrow in it. If I click on the word “Date” in
the header, the sort order changes:
You can see that both the arrow next to “Date” has changed, as has
the sort order of my messages.
Actually, you can click on any of the column headers to sort by that
header. Here’s my inbox sorted by “From” after I clicked on the From
Here the “From” column header has changed color, and now has the
arrow indicating the direction of the sort. I can also click on the
envelope on top of the read/unread/junk? icon column, and have my
messages sorted by that:
There’s no room in the header for the accompanying up or down arrow,
but you can see that the column header has changed color.
That’s all there is to it! And as I said, almost any mail program or
web mail interface that shows your messages in a list with columns will
allow you to change the sort order by clicking on the appropriate
In fact, it was probably a stray click that got your inbox in an
unexpected order to begin with :-).
Reader David reports: “The word from Hotmail
customer support is that the ‘sort’ function now disappears after your
mailbox exceeds 5000 emails. They recommend either configuring Outlook
Express to use a Hotmail account or downloading Windows Live Mail.”
In my opinion if you’re keeping 5000 emails in Hotmail you’re asking
for trouble anyway, simply based on the number of reports of lost and
hacked email accounts. Using Windows Live Mail, or one of the other
approaches to downloading your Hotmail to your own PC so it can be
managed and backed up there is by far the best approach.