Expanding all the folders in the Outlook Inbox

I was asked the other day if there was a way to expand all the Outlook Inbox folders without clicking each one separately. The person had inadvertently moved a folder somewhere else, and they wanted to be able to see all the expanded folders so they could easily spot it. My first pass at research made it appear there was no way to do that without writing macros and such, but then I found this tip that works pretty good (provided you’re running Windows)…

In the example below, I have a folder (Renewal Tracking) that has a number of nested subfolders in it:


In order to expand that folder without clicking on it, I can left-click the Inbox folder and then press the Windows Key at the same time you press the Asterisk key on the numeric keypad on your keyboard:


(This is the Windows Key)


As you can see, the Renewal Tracking folder has expanded one level. If I had other first level folders, they would have expanded also. If I keep pressing that key combination, everything continues to expand as deep as necessary:


If you want to collapse everything again, just double left-click the Inbox folder.

I have noticed that sometimes a single Windows > Asterisk combination key press will expand everything in one press. I’m not quite sure why that is, but either way this is far better than having to click each item individually.









    1. That’s good. For expanding the folder structure in the ” shift to folder”-view that works too. My Laptop does not have numeric block, how to proceed here? The asterisk on the laop top keyboard does not work.


    1. You mean you don’t have even a Fn substitution? Laptops tend to have a substitution for a numeric keyboard, using the Fn button / Fn+something “Fn switch” to keep the button on, then you can simply use win+ the substituted numeric keyboard asterisk. Or you can use the keyboard on screen tool.


      1. Thank you for this comment. My laptop does have a substitute numeric keyboard, with the P key as the asterisk. Windows key + fn + P(*) worked to expand the folders. I’d been struggling to find a workaround when not using a standard keyboard (with numeric keyboard), so I’m hoping this might help someone too.


  1. You have to click the folder element and then wait a sec and click again the FOLDER NAME element (it gets dotted around then) and only THEN the combination works!!! Please add this to the article! Thanks


  2. You can also **”collapse everything again”** by using minus sybol next to the * on numpad
    **Colopse All**: ‘⊞Win’ then –
    **Open All** : ‘⊞Win’ then *


  3. You can also ”collapse everything again” by using minus sybol next to the * on Num-Pad.
    Colopse All: ‘⊞Win’ then –
    Open All : ‘⊞Win’ then *


  4. I’ve been searching the method and tried every one. This is actually the only one works well. Excellent! This save me a lot of efforts every day, really appreciated for your sharing!


  5. Great!! Is there any way to by default having collapsed the folder (effectively ‘⊞Win’ then –) at startup?


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