Have you lost your attachments in Outlook - image credit Dragos Gontariu on UnsplashI got a message for urgent help from a student the other day. They found that they could no longer access the attachments they had been sent in historic emails. They were quite distraught as they could not ask the sender to resend the attachments for one reason or another. When I investigated further with them as to what they could see and do, I found that they had their email set up for conversations.

Therefore, I decided solving this problem would make a good tip idea. Being able to view your emails as conversations is a great way to see a string of emails that ‘to and fro’ from yourself and another party. they may span quite a few weeks if not longer and you can see them in the date sequence easily. The only thing is that when you reply or even forward that email you no longer have easy access to the attachments in that message. You may well think that they have been removed. They have not been removed just hidden from view.

Here is what you can do.

How to create a conversation trail in Mail

  • From the View tab select the Show as Conversations box.

View tab

This is the dialog box that appears.

Conversation selection

  • Select the one most appropriate.

Your emails are by default sorted in date order. 

Default View

  • Turn on the Show as Conversations and you get this result. Conversation view of emails

Here I have circled the white arrows that indicate there are more emails in this thread.

  • Click on one of them and the thread expands.

Problem with conversations

Once you have created these conversations when you look at a top-level message you cannot see any attachments in that trail. You do however see the paperclip denoting that there is an attachment.

How to access the attachments in a conversation trail.

  • from the View Tab select Conversation Settings.

  • When you select that a list appears and you need to select Always Expand Selected conversation.

Always expand This will show you your emails in a conversation trail but you will not only be able to expand the trail but most importantly have access to all the historical attachments.

How to remove conversation trails.

Quite simply go to the View Tab and remove the tick in the Show as Conversations box.

This dialog box appears.

deselect conversation choice

  • Select the appropriate one.

You have successfully turned on conversations and now turned it off so that you can access all historical attachments.

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