The Outlook navigation bar lets you navigate to different folders, mailboxes, and groups. However, it includes folders that you can never access but cannot hide. Here’s how to create a custom navigation bar that shows exactly what you need.

If you ever use Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items, and Archive, this guide is probably not for you. Just add these folders to Favorites (which you can learn how to do in our navigation bar guide) and you’re good to go. But if you have a lot of folders, have access to various shared mailboxes, or are a member of multiple Office 365 groups, you might find the navigation bar a bit cluttered and untidy. Adding all the folders you want to add to Favorites just doesn’t cut them off as there are too many to be organized.

Instead, you can create your own navigation bar that only contains what you want and nothing else. To do this, click the Shortcuts icon at the bottom of the navigation bar.

This will open an empty shortcuts panel.

To add a shortcut to a panel, right-click on the «Shortcuts» heading (right-clicking anywhere on the panel will do nothing) and select «New Shortcut».

The Add to Folder panel will open, displaying all of your available mailboxes. Select the folder you want to add to the shortcut bar and then click OK (or double-click the folder).

This will add the folder to the shortcut bar. You can add as many folders from any mailboxes you have access to as you want.

It’s not as neat as it could be, so we’re going to add a new label group and move some folders around. First, right-click the «Shortcuts» heading again and select «New Shortcut Group».

This will create a new text field that you can rename to whatever you want.

Give your group a name — we’ve moved on to «Work» — and then press Enter. You can now either right-click on the new group name and add new shortcuts, or drag and drop the shortcuts you’ve already added. We dragged 3 labels that we added earlier.

You can also right click on the shortcut and use the «Move up» and «Move down» options.

You may have noticed that you cannot add shortcuts to Office 365 Groups in the Add to Folder panel. However, you can add shortcuts to Windows folders. Open Windows Explorer, find the desired folder, and drag it to the Shortcuts header (or the group header you created).

The «Link» tooltip will appear when you hover over the group header, after which you can place a folder shortcut in the group.

You can also drag and drop shortcuts to files into the shortcuts panel, making this a great way to group all your work into one panel.

You can’t add URLs directly from the browser, but you can create a shortcut to a URL in a folder and then drag and drop it as a file. When you click on a shortcut, it opens in your default browser just like any other link. This means that if you have a web URL for an Office 365 group, you can still add it to the shortcut bar.

Once you’ve customized the shortcut bar the way you want it, you can use it instead of the default navigation bar. Outlook will open with the panel you opened when you closed Outlook, so you never have to go back to the navigation panel if you don’t want to.

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