External email indicator needs refinement

A while back I wrote about how you can enable

Native external sender notifications in Exchange Online

which is a great security enhancement. However, now I’m beginning to see some push back from SMB customers.

Why? Well, if you take a look at my inbox you can probably see why:


Most of my emails comes from external contacts, and only one is internal. That means I see the word ‘External’ a hell of a lot in my inbox. Many point out that this ‘External’ tag chews up a lot of precious screen real estate as it appears as a prefix in the From field during email preview..


The challenge is that if you disable the external sender notification you also lose the warning “The sender user@domain.com is from outside your organization’, which is very handy.

It would be handy if we had a bit more customisation for the ‘External’ tag in the Set-ExternalInOutlook command, that would perhaps allow the tag to be disabled in the email preview but retain the warning line when an email item is full opened. I think that would work much better for SMB and many others also.

Hopefully, someone can let the appropriate people at Microsoft know that SMB users in particular are beginning to request this very important security feature be disabled to save screen real estate. That is a very bad thing I would suggest given the importance of email security, especially in SMB. However, I think Microsoft does need to look at this ‘External’ tag in light of the SMB experience, where there are more external than internal senders and screen real estate is at a premium.

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