Sort Outlook Deleted Items by Date Deleted

Want to sort your deleted items folder by date deleted, not date received? Have you ever accidentally deleted an e-mail that you can’t remember what day it was sent to you on? It makes tracking down your accidental deletion almost impossible. Well, where there is a will there is a way. I’ll show you how to sort your deleted items folder by date deleted, not date received.

Sort your deleted items folder in Outlook by date deleted makes tracking down an accidental deletion easier than sorting through thousands of emails. Today I (yes, even the most computer savy people make mistakes) was working on my computer and something fell on my keyboard, holding down the delete button for an extended period of time. I didn’t know it was on my keyboard so by the time I realized what was going on, my whole inbox was gone. This not being that big of a deal because it’s all in my deleted items folder, I knew I could get it back. However because I get about 200 emails a day, I didn’t want to restore all the emails I’ve deleted back to my inbox because quite frankly, I’d rather lose email than have to go through cleaning it all up again, which I do about once a week.

I needed a way to sort my deleted items folder by the date I deleted the email, not the day I received the email. Thank god Microsoft provides many sort options inside of your outlook client. Here is a step by step list on how to sort your deleted items by date deleted and then how to recover those deleted items.


Sort Deleted Items by Date Deleted


First off, I’m showing screen shots with Outlook 2013 however the procedure for Outlook 2010 are the same, it might look a bit different but the fundamentals are the same. If you are on an older version of Outlook

  1. Go to your deleted items folder
  2. In the ribbon bar at the top, click on View tab then select View Settings
  3. A box will pop up called Advanced View Settings, click on the Columns… button
  4. Under Select Available columns from: choose the “Date / Time fields” drop down
  5. Single click on “Modified” and select Add which will put it at the bottom of the list on the right hand side, click OK
  6. Back at the first box, select “Sort…”. At the bottom drop the box down under Select Available Fields From and choose Date / Time Fields.
  7. Then at the top, drop the box down under Sort Items By and choose Modified. It should auto select “Descending” but if it doesn’t, choose it. You want the most recent modified file to show up at the top, not the oldest.
  8. Click on OK and make sure your settings are now showing up (see picture) and click on OK again.
  9. Your folder should automatically re-sort its self however if it didn’t, just select the By Date sort option at the top of the email items header.

I deleted an item from 3 days ago however you can see in my deleted items folder, the date it shows up under is today’s date. 

Save View and Change Sorting Back to Default

Of course you won’t want to keep this setting all the time. Usually you want to be able to track down your deleted email by date received so when someone tells you they sent something and you can’t find it, you can search by the date they say they sent it to you. 

Save the Date Deleted Sort View For Future Use

However, this is a useful search tool for future use, so you might want to save the view setting to easily switch from the default “Date Sent” to the useful “Date Deleted”. To do this:

  1. Click on the View tab at the top then select “Change View” and select “Save Current View as New View”.
  2. Make a handy name like Date Deleted for your new view so you can easily know what the view does and select “All Mail and Post Folders” if it’s not already selected and click OK.

It will now show under “Change View” alongside of the other views.

Change the Compact View Back to Default

Now to set your default view back to the default “Date Sent” view:

  1. Click on Change View and select “Compact View” (This is the default view, if you were using another view when making these changes, then select that one but for most of you, it will be the “Compact View”
  2. Select View Settings and if “Reset Current View” is able to be clicked at the bottom, click it and select OK.
  3. If Reset View Settings is grayed out / un-clickable then when you saved the view, Outlook put the default settings back. I don’t know why but this is a 50 / 50 chance that it puts it back for you. If this is the case, just close out the Advanced View Settings box and you’re done.

There you have it. A great new view setting to find that deleted email you accidentally deleted but weren’t able to find and you can now switch back and forth between that view and the default view any time without having to go through all this again. I hope this helps some people like it did for me today. The time it took to figure this out, do it and then write up this article is still less time than it would have taken me to restore all the emails and clean up the ones I meant to delete but were now restored and in the way.