Inbox Field/Column width does not apply to all folders

Posted on 2008-06-15
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Dear Expert,

How can I apply the field/column width settings across all folders in Outlook Ultimate 2007?

I have adjusted the Inbox folder the way I like it and I also want all the other folders to be the same. Can this be done at all?

It took me a while to figure out how this works in Windows Explorer. But I could not fnd any articles about the equivalent for Outlook.

Question by:Frohike
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 21792766
Hi, Frohike.

Apply the same view to all the other folders as you access them.  If a folder is already using that view, then switch to another view and switch back.  In other words, if the view you have tweaked is called MyView, then apply MyView to each folder as you access it.  If a folder is already using MyView, then switch to a different view, then switch back to MyView.  

Author Comment

ID: 21792911
Thanks for your response.

I'm a little unfamiliar with Outlook 2007 and therefore having some difficulty understanding the instructions. Could I trouble you for a step by step?
ID: 21795450
In Outlook 2007 the column widths are meant to be adjustable by folder.  This way the user can change the width of the subject field in one particular folder because it suits them.

To set a column to a specific width for all folders you will need to set it for each folder individually or use the best fit choice.

To change this select the folder for which you wish to make the change and right click the column header of the column to resize.  Then select Format Columns.  This will open a dialog box listing all of the columns showing within the current folder.  Select the column on the left and enter the size (in characters) you wish the column to be (or select best fit which changes the columns size to allow for all columns to fit on the screen).  

You can change each column within a folder from this one dialog, but you will need to access the dialog separately for each folder in outlook.  I do not believe there is a way to set the folder sizes for all folders at once.

Hope this helps

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Author Comment

ID: 21824885
Hmm...I thought this might have been the case. Somewhat disappointed by it. To apply this manually for every folder is an issue for us because there are hundreds of foldes we have already created over several years. The PST was imported from the previous version of Outlook. It would have been really convenient if there is a feature to apply to all. I can add this one to my ever growing list of MS annoyances.

Would best fit apply the same column width for one folder to the next? Or would it calculate the width of the columns based on the max length of the data contained within the column, so that when a best fit is applied, all folders will have varying column widths for the same column type such as Name and Subject?
ID: 21824992
I think best fit applies a predetermined size and sets the columns for each folder to that size.  I am not aware that this number is editable.

The use of best fit apparently depends on which column you right click to set it... giving priority to the right clicked column, but in testing it seems the subject field wins with the most real estate.  The type of column though doesn't seem to play into the equation at all.

Author Comment

ID: 21840853
Best fit appears to make all my folders messy, as all the columns now have different widths according to the maximum length of the contents of each column. This is frustrating :(

Is there a way to restore column width of all folders to their default?
ID: 21841064
I believe once best fit is applied, the column widths must be changed individually to get them set differently, there is no undo that I am aware of.

I guess the best thing to do would be to set up one folder with each column sized as needed and then jot them down to be used on other folders since there is no way for Outlook to do this for you.

Author Comment

ID: 21852571
Ok. Don't you just love Microsoft.

Thanks for the help anyways.

Expert Comment

ID: 22418729
Frohike, While researching a similar problem, I ran across your question.
The solution I found for my problem might work for yours.
I wanted all my folders mail folders to look like my inbox. Here is how I accomplished this in outlook 2003.
By the way, if anybody simply wants all of their folders to have the Outlook Factor setting, then simply run step #2, and ignore the other steps.
#1, I selected the inbox, and took a screen print so I would have a document of the current layout and the fields that were on it.
I then did view >  arrange by> custom > format columns > then I selected each field one by one, and wrote down the column width  number of characters for each field.
#2, I closed outlook then did   start > run > outlook.exe /cleanviews.  This THREW AWAY all custom settings from all folders and returned the standard views to their factory settings..  All of my incoming folders reverted to the "Messages" view (of course, a few other folders reverted to "sent to" view etc).
#3, I selected a incoming folder then did view > arrange by > current view > define views > select "Messages" > Modify > fields
I added and removed fields until they were in the order I wanted, then clicked OK
#4. Then, under  Modify > format columns, I changed each field to have the # characters.
#5 I clicked  OK > OK > APPLY
voila, all of my folders looked the same with the desired formatting.
I know I am 3 months late with the answer, but I hope it helps.

Author Comment

ID: 23248611

Thanks for your help. I only just got this comment in my email. Weird...seems this was written some time ago.

How do I apply to all folders? There are way too many to do as suggested manually.

LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:David Lee
David Lee earned 25 total points
ID: 23248818
Hi, Frohike.

Sorry, I don't know of a way to apply a view change globally.  I know it'd be a pain to go through all the folders at once, that's why I suggested applying the view as you access each folder.  

Accepted Solution

rberke earned 75 total points
ID: 23249765
Hi, Frohike,

My post on 9/8/2008 makes all of your folders look the way you want.  It takes about 3 minutes and is nearly exactly what you are requesting.

The main difference is that my solution turns every folder into Message View whereas your hope had been to have a way of turning every folder into YourSpecialView.  


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31467326
Oh hey rberke, I didn't read through the whole thing and I missed your comment. By the way your's worked really well when applying across all folders!

Thanks to BlueDevilFan as well for some insight.

Expert Comment

ID: 23250494
Glad it worked out, and thanks for the points

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