Email threading and how to change your threading mode
Edited

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 (Gmail)

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 (Gmail)

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 (Gmail)

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? [legacy]

⚠️ This is legacy behavior that applies to Front accounts created before Aug 16, 2023. See this article for the latest sync behavior.

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.


Office 365 threading options

Office 365 threading

When you connect an Office 365 account to Front, the default threading will be set to Office 365 threading. This is where we thread messages in accordance with Office 365's logic. See below section for the impact on syncing using this threading mode.

Subject-Recipient threading (Office 365)

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

Office 365 + 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 (Office 365)

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 Office 365 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 its 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 its 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 its 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 its own conversation

Each message created its own conversation

Each message created its own conversation

Person1 sends email to shared mailbox, person2 sends an email with the same subject line and includes another recipient

Each message created its own conversation

Each message created its own conversation

Each message created its 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 its own conversation

*Both messages threaded together in one conversation

Each message created its 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 its own conversation

Each message created its own conversation

Each message created its own conversation


Impact on syncing when you change threading

Gmail or Office 365 default threading

For accounts created before Aug 16, 2023: Whenever possible, you will maintain a full two-way Gmail or Office 365 sync including open/archived status, tags, and inbound/outbound emails. There will be cases where syncing will not be possible, explained here.

For accounts created after Aug 16, 2023: You will maintain a two-way Gmail or Office 365 sync for inbound/outbound emails, but spam status will no longer sync.

All other non-default threading options [legacy]

⚠️ This is legacy behavior that applies to Front accounts created before Aug 16, 2023. See these Gmail or Office 365 articles for the latest sync behavior.

If you choose any non-Gmail threading or non-Office 365 threading option such as Regular threadingRegular + Subject-Recipient threading, or No threading:

  • What will sync: inbound/outbound emails with Gmail and Office 365, tags from Gmail/Office 365-to-Front direction.

  • What will not sync: tags from Front-to-Gmail/Office 365 direction, open/archived status of emails. The reason is to respect the separate status of these emails that are now threaded differently from Gmail or Office 365.


SMTP 

Regular threading (SMTP)

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 (SMTP)

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 (SMTP)

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

Click the gear icon on the top right of Front and select company, Workspace, or personal settings in the left sidebar, depending on the space you’re working with. Select Channels from the left menu.

Step 2

Select the channel that contains the channel that you'd like to change the threading mode for, then click the Settings tab.

Step 3

Navigate to the Threading mode setting and choose between the options listed.

Step 4

Click Save to finish changing the threading mode. 

Please note that changing your threading mode will not retroactively update past conversations. It will only apply on new conversations going forward. For information on changing the threading in an existing conversation, you can use the manual Split or Merge functions. 


Order of messages

When viewing a conversation in Front, messages will always be ordered with the oldest message at the top, down to the newest. The same logic will also apply to comments and other activities featured in the activity trail such as tagging and rules. This order cannot be changed, in order to ensure conversations show as a chronological timeline that is intuitive to read from top to bottom.