Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Color Code Emails in Your Outlook Inbox

Letting Outlook color-code emails can greatly improve your productivity by focusing your attention on the right emails. Here are a few simple tips ... using tools that are built into Outlook ... that you can use to achieve this.

Color messages sent only to you
If you don't respond to a message, that was addressed only to you, then no one will. Outlook's Organize feature makes it easy to highlight these messages so that you don't miss them.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize to display the Organize pane..
Click Using Colors (on the left) of the Organize pane.
Click the Turn On button next to "Messages sent only to me now appear blue". (Change the color from blue if you want)

Slight problem … You may find that this also colors email newsletters you receive in your Inbox as they are normally addressed to you (only) as well. I get around this by using rules to automatically move newsletters to a folder I have called Read Later.

Color messages sent by your boss, wife/husband, important clients etc
You can use the same Organize function to color code emails from specific people.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize.
Click Using Colors.
Change the drop-down next to Color Message so that it reads "from".
Type in the email address in the box provided (or select an email from that person in your Inbox and Outlook will fill in the box for you)
Change the color if you need to.
Click the Apply Color button.

Deleting Color Coding
If you need to delete or change the color coding at a later date.

Go to your Inbox.
Click Tools-Organize.
Click Using Colors.
Click Automatic Formatting to display the list of color formats applied to the folder.
Select the relevant item from the list and click Delete.

Advanced Color Coding
You can also use the Automatic Formatting screen described in the previous Delete section for more advanced color coding. Detailed instructions can be found on an earlier post titled Let Outlook highlight your important emails.

I hope these simple color coding tricks help make your Inbox more manageable.

Do you have you own email coloring tricks? Tell me more by leaving comments on the blog.


Janet Barclay said...

One of the things I love about Outlook 2007 is that you can assign colours to categories. I use rules to apply categories to my incoming messages and have my inbox sorted by category so I can easily focus on the most important emails first.

Anonymous said...

thanks everso much for posting this simple tip. I heard about the feature, searched for about 1hr in outlook help, then gave up: your blog was the first one that popped up when i googled it and works like a dream: so easy, thanks alot!

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to color a task request so the receiver sees more than just a different icon?

SergeantSue said...

What a wonderful site this is. I'm so glad Google has you fairly high on their search list.

I knew there was a way to highlight my clients' inquiries, but could not find it.
I spent well over 30 frustrating minutes searching Outlook's help section to no avail and about 30 seconds here.

Thank you , thank you , thank you. I will never miss another important email from my clients again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. It is so simple to apply after reading this. This alot better than out look help.