Color Code Emails in Your Outlook Inbox

By: standss , Oct 14th, 2010

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.

The instructions in this post apply to Outlook 2000-2007. If you are using Outlook 2010, refer to Let Outlook highlight your important emails.

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.

Ways to Organize Inbox

  • 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.

Ways to Organize Inbox

  • 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.

Ways to Organize Inbox

  • 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.

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