• Go Ask Debbie

Color Code Your Inbox - Outlook Organization Tip

Updated: Oct 4

I know some of you may know how to use Conditional Formatting in Excel, but did you know it's also available in Outlook?


Conditional formatting allows you to color code messages just as you would color code using conditional formatting in Excel. With Conditional formatting in Outlook, you can format your Inbox emails that meet defined conditions to help them stand out in the message list by using color, fonts, and styles. You can format incoming messages based on information such as a sender’s name or email address, and then conditional formatting is applied only to those messages.


For example, a conditional rule can specify that all messages sent from your manager appear in red text in the message list.


Here are the steps to create a conditional formatting rule.


1. On the View tab, in the Current View group, select View Settings


2. In the Advanced View Settings dialog box, select Conditional Formatting.



A set of default rules appears. This includes the Unread messages rule. This rule makes unread messages appear bold in the message list. In addition, any conditional formatting rules that you created in the Organize pane with an earlier version of Outlook appear.




You may then do any of the following:

  • To delete a rule, select the rule, and then select Delete.

  • To temporarily turn off a rule, clear the check box for that rule.

  • To change the criteria for a rule, select the rule, and then select Condition.

  • To change the text formatting, select the rule, and then select Font.

  • To add a new conditional formatting rule, select Add, in the Name box, type a name, select Font to specify the formatting, and then select Condition to specify the criteria for this rule.


Try out this nifty little trick and let me know how much easier it is for you to find and organize specific emails. I just know you'll love this tip!


If you're interested in learning more on Outlook, CLICK HERE to download my FREE Outlook Time Management Mini-course.





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