I'm using the Outlook Focused Inbox feature and currently I don't have an email workflow in which I archive emails I no longer need. I would like to switch to that, but I need to start from a blank state, meaning I should archive all of my emails.

If I click on the checkbox to select all my emails, though, the Archive option is greyed out, and there is an option to delete the emails, but it is not what I want to do.

In my specific situation, "Other" contains a bunch of newsletters I don't care about.

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Even if I disable the focused inbox, the button remains greyed out.

There are 36 thousand emails so a solution that requires Page Down or scrolling through them is not feasible.

Most of my emails are in the Inbox.

  • Glad you found a solution that works. FYI: No need to mark 'edits' as such.
    – Blindspots
    Jul 10, 2023 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


I can confirm that the "Select All" checkbox greys out the "Archive" button if there are more messages in the folder than can fit on one page.

In that case, you can use the block-selection approach to work around this issue.

  1. Select the first message
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  3. While holding the Shift key, select the last message in the list.
  4. Click the "Archive" button

Additionally, you can temporarily or permanently fit more messsages on each page by changing the "Text size and spacing" to "Small" in "Settings/Mail/Layout"


I found a nice solution to archive all the inbox (so I disabled the focused inbox first, since in my case it only served to hide away emails I didn't really care about[1]). This leaves other folders untouched, since rules only run on the inbox.

Settings > Mail > Rules > New rule

Condition: Apply to all messages

Action: Move to Archive

Outlook screenshot

After that, run the rule. Re-run it if it gives an error (Settings > Rules > Play button). Once all emails are successfully archived, delete the rule or it will keep archiving future emails.

[1]: I ended up using the "clear" button in the Other tab to delete all the newsletters and other emails I didn't really care about, and then went to the trash to unsubscribe to everything. Either way, after disabling the Focused Inbox, the Archive button was still greyed out.

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