Office 365 (Outlook 2010) - Assign a color category to an email message

You can organize your messages, events, contacts, and other items (items: Units of information in Outlook, such as e-mail messages, calendar events, contacts, tasks, and notes.) by assigning them to categories. Because categories are color-coded, when you view the item list, it's easy to see which items belong to which category. You can assign an item to a standard category, such as Family or Travel, or to a category that you create.

Color adds visibility to your Outlook items. Color categories can be assigned to email messages in Microsoft Outlook, which enables you to quickly identify them and associate them with related items. You can assign more than one color category to messages, or use a Quick Click category (Quick Click category: A default color category that is assigned to an item when you click the Categories column for the item in your Inbox or other table view. You set this color category from the Categorize menu.) to click once and assign a color category to a message in your Inbox.

Assign a color category to a message

A color category must be in the color category list before you can assign it. If a color category is not listed, you can create a new color category and assign it to an item for the first time. You can also choose from several default color categories and rename them to be more meaningful to you.

To assign a color category, do the following:

  • For a message in your Inbox or any message list    Right-click the message, point to Categorize, and then click a color category.
  • For an open message    On the Message tab, in the Options group, click Categorize, and then click a color category.

To see more categories or to create a category, click All Categories to open the Color Categories dialog box. To assign a color category from the Color Categories dialog box, you must select the check box next to the color category. The Color Categories dialog box is also a quick way to assign multiple categories to an item.

The first time that you assign a default color category to an item, you'll be prompted to rename the category. At this time, you can also change the color of the category and choose a keyboard shortcut.


  • You can change the color associated with a category at any time.
  • Another way to open the Categorize menu and Color Categories dialog box is by clicking Categorize on the ribbon, on the Tags tab.
  • Only the 15 most recently used color categories appear on the Categorize menu. To see the rest, click All Categories on the Categorize menu.

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Assign a Quick Click category to a message

With a single click, you can assign a color category to an item in your Inbox or any message list (message list: The middle part of the main Outlook window that displays the contents of the selected folder.) by setting a default Quick Click category. This can be especially helpful if you focus on one main project or frequently categorize items as Important, Review Immediately, and so on.

Set a Quick Click category

  1. On the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Categorize, and then click Set Quick Click.
  2. In the Set Quick Click dialog box, in the drop-down list, select a color category.

 Tip    From an open message, you can click Set Quick Click on the Categorize menu to set the default color category for all future messages, not just the message that is selected.

 Note    If you change the Quick Click category, it does not change the color category assigned to previously marked messages.

Assign a Quick Click category

  • In your Inbox, click the Categories column next to a message. This adds the color set for your Quick Click category to the column. If you open the message, the color and the name of the color category appear in the header.

 Tip    A Quick Click category can be assigned to other Outlook items, such as Contacts, Tasks, and Calendar appointments, in the same manner when they are viewed in table (table: A view type that displays a list of items (rows) and their attributes (columns). Use this view to display details about items. Table is the default view type for Inbox and Tasks.) views or in the To-Do Bar.

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Keywords:microsoft office 365 event appointment schedule scheduling outlook 2010 calendars colors categories category emails contacts messages o365   Doc ID:31428
Owner:Ara M.Group:Office 365
Created:2013-07-03 10:25 CDTUpdated:2014-04-30 17:34 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Office 365
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