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Categories in Microsoft Outlook

These topics are covered in our Outlook Level 2 Advanced course.

Creating and Applying Categories

Assigning a category to each Outlook item helps you sort and find your data. Outlook supplies a Colour Category List that you can use as it is, but as your data entries become more task specific, you might find it helpful to add your own categories to the list. Your category designation can be a keyword or a phrase, and you can apply it to related items stored in different folders.

For example, you can keep track of all messages, tasks, appointments, and contacts related to a Mardi Gras celebration by assigning a category named Mardi Gras to each of them. You apply categories with the Color Categories dialog box, shown in Figure 1-5, and create categories with the Add New Category dialog box, shown in Figure 1-6.

Note: If an email account is set up to use IMAP Categories can sometimes be removed as a feature from Outlook for that account.

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The Categories Dialog Box

The Master Category List Dialog Box


To create and apply categories:

  1. Create or open an appointment, task, or contact.
  2. From Home menu, choose Categorize and select All Categories.
  3. The Color Categories dialog box will appear.
  4. In the Color Categories dialog box, Select New….
  5. The Add New Category dialog box will appear.
  6. In the Name: box Type a name for your new category.
  7. Click on the Color: drop down arrow and select a color for your new category.
  8. Choose OK.
  9. Repeat steps 4 to 7 as necessary
  10. Once you have created all your new categories Choose OK from the Color Categories dialog box



In the following exercise, you will create and apply categories.

  1. Open the Contacts folder. [The general contact list appears in the information viewer.]
  2. Open the Association members subfolder. [The Association members contact list appears.]
  3. Select the Felicia Montrachet address card, and then double-click it. [The Contact window opens.]
  4. From Home menu, choose Categorize. [The Color Categories dialog box appears.]
  5. Select  New. [The Add New Category dialog box appears.]
  6. In the Name: text box, type Food Festival. [Select a Color from the Color: drop down menu.]
  7. Choose OK. [Food Festival appears in the list.]
  8. Choose OK. [The contact Felicia Montrachet is now categorized  with Food Festival and color coded.]
  9. Save and Close the address card.

Related Outlook Lessons


Manually Archiving

Retrieving Archived Items

Outlook courses

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