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Outlook – applying colour to messages as they arrive into your Inbox

Previous versions of Outlook offered the ability to organise your messages by colour. You could quickly turn on Rules that would distinguish messages from an individual Sender or on a certain Subject and then change the colour and format of the message as it arrived into your Inbox. Therefore making it very quick and easy to identify key messages.

This tutorial teaches you how to apply colour to messages as they arrive into your Inbox.  The instruction applies to Outlook 2010 and 2013.

Conditional formatting

Outlook can help you identify these important messages as they arrive into you Inbox.  Using colour you can identify messages from a specific person or containing specific words.

  1. On the View tab click View Settings.  On the Advanced View Settings dialog box click Conditional Formatting.
  2. On the Conditional Formatting dialog box click Add.  Enter a name for the conditional format in the Name field.
  3. Click Font and select the format that you would like applied to messages that meet the condition.  For example, select a different font colour or size.
  4. Click Condition and then create the filter for the condition.  For example if you would like all messages received from an individual enter their email address into the From field.
  5. Click OK.  The formatting will be applied to all messages that meet the condition.

Sadly, not many people know how to get the most out of Outlook.    In fact, I personally feel that Outlook is possibly the most under utilized application within the Office suite.

That’s why I have created my Outlook – Managing your mailbox course, which is now available for tutor led and online learning.

The following video tutorial is an excerpt from the course demonstrating how to o about applying Conditional Formatting.


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