How to organize messages with categories in Outlook

Content
  1. Color code your Outlook inbox and find messages easily
  2. Guide to organizing Outlook messages
  3. Organize messages with categories in Outlook
  4. Add a new category

Color code your Outlook inbox and find messages easily

If you receive a lot of email messages and need a way to organize them, group your email messages by category in Outlook. Outlook provides a start list of categories. Rename these categories to suit your needs and add more categories as needed. Then, to find messages in a category, filter the message list to show categorized emails.

The instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Office 365.

Guide to organizing Outlook messages

There are several ways to clean and optimize incoming Outlook messages:

  • Set up a folder for each theme.

  • Create categories and add more folders as needed.

  • For email that falls under multiple categories, categorize each message in the message list.

  • Outlook automatically applies categories with some intelligence to highlight newsletters, social media updates, send notifications, and ads.

Organize messages with categories in Outlook

Assign color categories to related items for easy tracking and sorting.

  1. Open the message in the reading pane or in a separate window. To assign a category to multiple messages, select all emails in the message list.

  2. Go to the tab House in Group tags and select categorization † If the message is open in a separate window, click the tab Message and select categorization

  3. Select the category you want to use.

    You can assign more than one color category to elements.

  4. The first time you assign a category to a message, a dialog box opens. Rename Category † In a text field Name enter a descriptive name for the category.

  5. Select Yes

Add a new category

You can create or rename categories in Outlook.

  1. Go to the tab House and select categorization

  2. Select All categories

  3. In the dialog box Color Categories select New to use the new color.

  4. In the dialog box Add a new category select a color and enter a name for the category.

  5. Select Okay

  6. To rename an existing category, select an existing color and select rename

  7. Enter a new name for the category and click Enter

  8. Select Okay

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