Color Your Outlook Messages

Color Your Outlook Messages

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  1. In a previous article, Rule Microsoft Outlook, I talked about how you can use rules to move messages to different folders when they come in.  When you have the time to figure out how to categorize your email, that’s definitely the way to go.  Total email organization.

    Sometimes, however, you don’t have enough time to sort through all your emails to decide what categories of email you have.  When you are in total email overload, your best bet is to just color code emails from people whose emails you have to read immediately after they arrive, and then color code a different color emails from people you should read very soon after they arrive.  The rest of your emails can leave alone, or even route to the junk folder.  You can do this in very little time, and it may just save you your job, or at least your sanity. 

    Create Your Categories

    The first step is to right click on any email, and on the pop-up menu select Categorize/All Categories.  That will bring up the categories dialog box, that shows you a number of colors, and next to each one you see such informative information as “Blue Category.”  On the right there is a drop-down box for selecting a color, and a button for renaming the category.  You can also add new categories, but if you are already overloaded, that is probably a bad idea.  Right now just pick two or three colors, and rename them to something meaningful to you, such as “Boss” and “Employees”, or “Wife”, “Friends”, and “Children.”  When you are done, click OK to close the dialog box.

    Start Color Coding

    Now find an email from somebody whose emails you want to color code when they arrive.  Right click on it, and in the pop-up menu select Rules/Create Rules.  That will bring up the “Create Rule” dialog box.  The first item in the dialog box will be a check box with “from” and the person’s name.  Check the check box, and then click on the “Advanced Options” button at the bottom of the dialog box.

    This will bring up the “Rules Wizard”, and again the first item will be a check box with “from” and the person’s name.  You would think it could remember you checked that box in the last dialog box, but apparently not. Check the check box again, and then click on “Next” button at the bottom of the dialog box.

    This time you will want to check the second check box, which is “Assign it to the category category.” In the box at the bottom of the dialog box you will see:

                    Apply this rule after the message arrives from “person’s name”

                    assign it to the category category

    The “person’s name” will be filled in with the name you selected.  The first category in “category category” will be underlined, indicating that you can click on it.  Click on it, and the Color Categories dialog box will open again.  You can now check one of the categories you renamed before, and then click on OK to close it.  Now the dialog box will have replaced the underlined word “category” with the name you gave the category when you renamed it.  Finally click on “Next” button at the bottom of the dialog box.  You can then click on the “Finish” button, and any “OK” buttons to get out, so that you can select an email from the next person whose emails you want to color code when they arrive.  Just repeat this process for each one.  If you limited the categories to two or three as suggested, the whole procedure should take less than ten minutes.

    After this, when you receive emails from these people, the emails will be color coded.  Best of all, you will have the option to sort by categories, putting all the emails from these people together, so you can easily read them, while ignoring less important emails.



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