Email threading and how to change your threading mode

Overview

Conversation threading is a feature used to automatically group messages with their replies. Every email contains a unique message-id, which is automatically included in the references of the email header. When we receive an email, we loop in the references and message-id to see if we can find any similar conversations. If we do, we'll thread the incoming message to the existing conversation we’ve just found. If no message is found, then we create a new conversation.

Threads can be displayed in a variety of different ways. Front has several threading options depending on how you connect your email account. Any change to your threading mode will only apply to future conversations.


Gmail threading options

Gmail threading

When you connect a Gmail account to Front, the default threading will be set to Gmail threading. This is where we thread messages in accordance with Gmail's logic in addition to regular email threading. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Regular threading

Regular threading is where we thread messages only if they reference a previous email in a thread with the same message-id. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Regular + Subject-Recipient threading

We will thread messages where the recipients explicitly respond to each other (Regular threading), or when the subject and the recipients are the same (Subject-Recipient threading). This threading mode means that if messages do not reference a previous email in a thread with the same message-id, they can still thread if the subject and recipients are the same. In instances where recipients/subject are different, but the message does reference a previous email with the same message-id, these messages would still thread together, as this still meets the criteria for Regular threading.

Messages will only thread by recipients/subjects if received within 2 days of each other. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

No threading

A new conversation will be created whenever you receive a new message. Your outbound replies will still thread with the incoming message it's replying to. Subsequent inbound replies to your message will not be threaded and will create new conversations. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

FAQs on Gmail threading options

When should I not use Gmail threading?

If you frequently move messages to split conversations or send sequences in a Gmail channel, we suggest changing your threading mode to another option that will disable the sync of archiving, deleting, and tagging with Gmail. All emails will continue to show up in both Front and Gmail, so you can access them in both systems.

With Gmail threading, there is usually a 1:1 relationship between Front conversations and Gmail conversations. When you move a message or send a sequence, you create multiple Front threads for a single Gmail conversation. When you tag, archive, or delete one of the threads, the others can be tagged/archived/deleted by mistake because Gmail syncs that action back to all of them. Changing your threading mode to another option will break this aspect of Front's sync with Gmail to prevent this from happening.

Why does my Gmail inbox setting to Message view not reflect in Front?

In your Gmail inbox, you are able to set the view to be either Conversation view or Message view; however, this is not a change to the actual Gmail threading. It just how Gmail displays the view. Thus, changing the view in Gmail will not result in unthreaded conversations in Front - you would still need to change the threading setting in Front.


Office365 threading options

Office365 threading

When you connect an Office365 account to Front, the default threading will be set to Office365 threading. This is where we thread messages in accordance with Office365's logic. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Subject-Recipient threading

Messages with the same subject line will be threaded together, only if the email recipients are the same. Messages will only thread by recipients/subjects if received within 2 days of each other.  If you send email campaigns or auto-generate emails to your customers that solicit responses, you'll want to select this option. Keep in mind, this only addresses outbound messages (recipients).  For inbound messages, we will thread based on the sender's email and the subject line. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Office365 + Subject-Recipient threading

We will thread messages if it meets either threading options above. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

No threading

A new conversation will be created whenever you receive a new message. Your outbound replies will still thread with the incoming message it's replying to. Subsequent inbound replies to your message will not be threaded and will create new conversations.

See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Examples of O365 threading

Here's a further breakdown of when to use which threading mode: 

Scenario O365 S-R O365 or S-R
E-mail blast to multiple recipients All replies will be threaded together *Each recipient's reply will be it's own conversation All replies will be threaded together
Person1 sends email to shared mailbox, person1 sends another email to the shared mailbox again with the same subject line *Each recipient's reply will be it's own conversation Both messages threaded together in one conversation Both messages threaded together in one conversation
Person1 sends email to shared mailbox, person1 sends another email to the shared mailbox again with the same subject line but adds another recipient *Each recipient's reply will be it's own conversation Both messages threaded together in one conversation Both messages threaded together in one conversation
Person1 sends email to shared mailbox, person2 sends an email with the same subject line Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation
Person1 sends email to shared mailbox, person2 sends an email with the same subject line and includes another recipient Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation
Person1 sends an email to shared mailbox and cc's person2, person2 responds to the thread and adds person3 Both messages threaded together in one conversation *Person2 response to the thread created a new conversation Both messages threaded together in one conversation
Person1 sends an email to shared mailbox and cc's person2, person2 sends in a new conversation with the same subject line and same recipient Each message created it's own conversation *Both messages threaded together in one conversation Each message created it's own conversation
Person1 sends an email to shared mailbox and cc's person2, person2 sends in a new conversation with the same subject line+ different recipient Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation Each message created it's own conversation

Impact on syncing when you change threading

Gmail or Office365 default threading

Whenever possible, you will maintain a full two-way Gmail sync including open/archived status, tags, and inbound/outbound emails. There will be cases where syncing will not be possible, explained here.

All other non-default threading options

If you choose any non-Gmail threading or non-Office365 threading option such as Regular threadingRegular + Subject-Recipient threading, or No threading:

  • What will sync: inbound/outbound emails with Gmail, tags from Gmail-to-Front direction.
  • What will not sync: tags from Front-to-Gmail direction, open/archived status of emails. The reason is to respect the separate status of these emails that are now threaded differently from Gmail.

SMTP 

Regular threading

Regular threading is where we thread messages only if they reference a previous email in a thread with the same message-id.

Regular + Subject-Recipient threading

We will thread messages where the recipients explicitly respond to each other (Regular threading), or when the subject and the recipients are the same (Subject-Recipient threading). This threading mode means that if messages do not reference a previous email in a thread with the same message-id, they can still thread if the subject and recipients are the same. Messages will only thread by recipients/subjects if received within 2 days of each other.

Note that with this threading mode, in instances where recipients/subject are different, but the message does reference a previous email with the same message-id, these messages would still thread together, as this meets the criteria for Regular threading.

No threading

A new conversation will be created whenever you receive a new message. Note that your outbound replies will still thread with the incoming message it's replying to. Subsequent inbound replies to your message will not be threaded and will create new conversations.


How to change your threading mode

Step 1

Go into your Settings and select Inboxes. Then click the inbox on which you wish to change the threading mode.

Step 2

Select the channel on which you wish to change the threading mode.

Step 3

Select Threading mode and choose between the options listed.Step 4

Click Save to finish changing the threading mode.

15replies Oldest first
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  • Is possible in a thread to view the most recent emails at top (and not at bottom)?

    Like 3
  • Right now new messages in a thread are added to the bottom of a conversation view; there is no preference to reorder them. I will pass your question on to our product team as a feature request for consideration

    Like 1
  • Cori Morris I would also love this feature -- a setting to show most recent emails at the top of a conversation view.

    Like
  • Max Friedman Thank you for your feedback - I've logged it for our product team!

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  • Hey we are trying to get certain messages to thread but unsuccessfully. These are internal transactional emails where an inbox sends an email to itself with a consistent subject line. But no joy. Any tips?

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  • what threading option should I choose if I want emails I respond to to move to the top of my inbox? I had it set to gmail before and when I replied those messages went to the top of my box. Now they stay where they are and don't move to the top, so what I am looking at in the top of my inbox does not reflect what I have actually responded to, seems a bit backwards and is hard to keep track of where I am, inbox wise...thanks.

    Like
  • tk Hello! This is actually not related to threading, but to a slightly updated behavior of Front's sorting method where we now prioritize the customer's last message as opposed to your last message, since we have the archive button to archive your own message to get it out of view. The old way of popping it to the top of the list wasn't truly aligned with our mission of reaching inbox zero, as we want to encourage you to use the archive once you've actioned on the item instead of keep it in your inbox. In other words, if you are going through your inbox from bottom to top (oldest to newest), if you reply, you actually want the conversation to stay in place so you can clearly see the conversations you haven't worked on and action on those. This is especially nice for chat conversations where you often send but not send+archive. You actually don't want it to constantly bump to the top each time you hit enter. This behavior is also more similar to how Gmail behaves. Hope that helps clarify!

    Like
  • Jack Whyles Hi Jack, sorry we didn't see this message earlier! Email us a specific example conversation ID to support@frontapp.com so we can take a look!

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  • Helena Li thx, so there’s no way to change it? Everyone’s got their thing; this doesn’t make sense to me. I find myself searching my inbox to see what I’ve responded to and what I haven’t, it’s confusing. It just flowed before with what I last touched at the top of my list and with what I haven’t yet underneath. 

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  • Are you guys still considering adding the option to change the ordering of email threads so newest messages are at the top?

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  • Hi Claire Vannette,

    Previously (many years ago), messages were ordered bottom to top where newest messages were at the top. We decided to reverse this because many aspects of the app now rely on the top to bottom flow, and it is not possible to support both. Here’s why.

    Comments are a very important part of Front. It's how you chat internally about anything. If your team cannot easily see your comments, it makes interactions a lot harder. In the bottom to top order, a common complaint was that comments were hidden. Now, comments are inline, and appear in the flow of the conversation along with messages.

    Ultimately, it wouldn't make sense to mix comments in chronological order while messages were in another order, so we were forced to reverse the order of messages.

    I hope that helps you understand why it is the way it is. Happy to answer any additional questions you have.

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  • Cori Morris Is there a preferred email provider? Does Front work better with Gmail or O365?

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  • JG They are both great options, both Gmail and 0365 are fully supported by Front. It's a matter of personal preference or what works best for your workflow.

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  • I would like to change the threading mode for mails meeting certain conditions. Our case is we send a reminder email to our customers and everybody replies to that mail. All the replies pile up in one giant thread and we often lose who's assigned to what. We don't want to use a no-reply address (that's just not the service we want to provide). We could go around this by sending the mail in a different manner (one per person), but best would be if threading could be managed in a rule. Even just being able to split the thread in a rule when receiving replies. Thanks in advance!

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  • Hi Egill Pálsson ! Would love to hear more around your use case here and get more information. As a next step, please each out to us here at support@frontapp.com so we can talk with you and get a closer look.

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