Colour-code your email messages

Some of us get a few emails per day…

Others get a LOT of emails per day!

It is often quite a challenge to work through your inbox and make sense of all the stuff arriving at regular and irregular intervals.

One way to create some form of system, is to colour code your emails.  This is quite easy to set up, and presents your emails in an array of colours.

Image result for color pencils

Below are the simple steps to set up colour coding for your inbox, on Microsoft Outlook 2013.

1.  Open Microsoft Outlook 2013.

2.  Go to the messages tab.

3.  From the menu at the top, select VIEW.



6.  The CONDITIONAL FORMATTING window will open.  This will show a number of RULES FOR THIS VIEW with some boxes ticked and others not.  You will use this window to set up or add a new rule to give your email messages a colour.

7.  Select the ADD button, and the NAME field will be highlighted.  The default entry is “Untitled”.  This is where you enter the name of your new rule.

Say for example you want to colour-code all messages coming from your BOSS as red.  And all messages from a specific department (e.g. SALES) as blue.  You can then call these rules:  “Email from BOSS”, and “Emails from Sales”.

8.  Set up a BOSS rule to show all emails in red text.  Type the words “Emails from BOSS” in the NAME field.  At the same time, this rule will be added to the bottom of the rules list.

9.  You now need to set up the rule itself, by clicking on the CONDITION button.  The FILTER window will open, presenting a number of ways to set up a rule.  Go to the MESSAGES tab, and in the FROM field, enter the email of address of your boss.  (You can also press the FROM button and the default list of email addresses will be presented from where you can select the correct address or addresses).  If you want to select more than one address, ensure you separate them with a semi-colon.

Once done entering the addresses, select the OK button.

10.  Clicking YES, will take you back to the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING window, where you now need to select the FONT button.

11.  In the FONT window, you can choose how you want the message from your boss to be displayed, by selecting the font, font style, size, etc.  If you want to display the message as a specific colour, then select the colour from the COLOR menu (the default is black, but I have selected red in the screenshot below).

Press OK, to return to the CONDITIONAL FORMATTING screen.

12.  Here, the font size, type, and colour will be shown for the rule “Emails from BOSS”.

13.  Select OK on this screen, and then OK on the ADVANCED VIEW SETTINGS: COMPACT window, to exit the setup of the rules.

If there are any emails in your inbox from your boss’ address, they will immediately change red.  And any new, incoming emails from the BOSS will be colour-coded RED – for you to immediately see it, and respond to it…


You can use this function to set up rules for different people and/or email actions.

Have fun!

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