Smart merge reduces duplicate emails


A common problem customers had before Front was that they would end up with duplicate copies of the same email in their inboxes, resulting in confusion and inefficiency. Front solves for this with smart merge, which consolidates duplicate threads in Front to make working together on emails simple.

What triggers smart merge

Mention, assign, or invite a teammate

Front can automatically merge conversations together when one recipient of an email @mentions, assigns, or invites other recipients on their copy of the conversation, as long as there are no conflicts in the copies. When that happens, a smart merge will be triggered so all the teammates involved can work on one unified copy together.

Between individual copies

For instance, if a customer copies both you and your teammate on an email, you would initially each have your own private copy. If you want to discuss the topic with your teammate, you would @mention them in your copy. Instead of keeping two copies separate copies, Front will check whether there is any conflicting activity on the two copies. If not, we will smart merge into one master copy since it does not reveal any confidential information.

Between individual and shared copies

Smart merges can also occur between individual and shared inboxes. For example, a customer emails the Support shared inbox that is set to keep copies separate and CCs your individual inbox, resulting in two copies. Your manager, who sees the shared inbox copy, mentions you on it. If there is no conflicting information on the two copies, we will smart merge into one master copy.

Email sent to shared and individual inbox

If an email is sent to both a teammate’s individual inbox and a shared inbox, then there will be 1 copy of the email that is shared in the inboxes. This means that:

  • The email will be visible in both the teammate’s inbox and the shared inbox.
  • Comments and activities will be visible to both the teammate and the team.
  • If the teammate archives, snoozes, or trashes the conversation in their own individual inbox, this will not archive/snooze/trash the conversation in the shared inbox, unless the teammate is the assignee.


In order to preserve access rights and privacy, we will not merge if:

  • One of the recipients is a BCC.
  • The teammate does not have access to the shared inbox.
  • The shared inbox has been set to keep copies separate.
  • The email was only sent to an individual inbox first, and then a shared inbox is added in the CC later.
  • One of the inbox channels has threading set as Disabled.

Mention a teammate, then add them to CC

If you mention a teammate into an email conversation, and then add them as a To or CC recipient, your teammate will not receive a second copy of the email. Instead, both you and your teammate can continue to work off the one conversation without having to manage separate copies.

Share a draft, then add teammate to CC

If you share a draft with your teammate and then add them as a To or CC recipient, your teammate will not receive a second copy of the email when you send the draft. Instead, both you and your teammate can continue to work off the one conversation without having to manage separate copies.

Merge duplicates with one click

Front will intelligently determine when you have duplicates of the same email ask if you want to merge them into one copy by displaying a banner. This banner will appear when: 

  • Other teammates mention you on their private copies of an email that was also sent to your private inbox. 
  • An email is sent to your private inbox and a shared inbox, where the shared inbox has been set to keep copies separate.

When these cases occur, Front will show you a banner at the bottom of all relevant copies of the conversation you have access to, and you will be able to click Merge all to directly merge these copies, or click View to see what these copies are. Once duplicates are merged, all participants from all copies will be on this one copy. 


Why do I still have multiple copies?

  • There is conflicting information between the two existing copies, such as if there are already comments on one copy. That means if your teammate @mentions you into their copy, you will see 2 copies in your Inbox.
  • If you email from your individual inbox to a shared inbox or vice versa. Exception: If a user emails their own individual inbox from a shared inbox, there will only be 1 copy.
  • If an email is sent to your individual inbox, and then you add a shared inbox as a CC, the shared inbox will receive a separate copy, in order to to respect your privacy for any past content.

When would an @mention not trigger smart merge?

The merge will happen as long as there are no conflicts between your copies of the conversation when recipients @mention each other. Conflicts in copies are:

  • Different messages in your two copies.
  • The person being mentioned has a tag on their conversation that's not on the mentioner's copy. However, if the mentioner has a tag that the person being mentioned doesn't have, it will still merge.
  • There are different assignees on the copies.
  • There are different comments.

Can an @mention smart merge happen between two shared email channels?

Nope! The email will already be shared between the two shared inboxes. Therefore, there's no need to have a merge.

Can an @mention smart merge between a recipient and a sender?

Yes! For example: Mike emails Sarah, and Sarah @mentions Mike on her copy of the email. Their conversations will merge assuming that there is no conflicting information in the threads, like if Mike has @mentioned someone else already or tagged his copy.

Why did my smart-merged conversation split into a new conversation?

In some cases, Front will auto-split the conversation again to avoid possible confidential content being exposed on an auto-merged conversation. A new inbound message will create a new conversation if all the following conditions are met:

  • The new message was sent only to you
  • You did not comment on or assign the conversation
  • You did not send a message with the channel receiving the inbound in this conversation

Can I manually merge conversations?

Yes! You can manually merge conversations, separate from smart merge. Follow these instructions to manually merge conversations.