Let Outlook Highlight Important Emails

By standss Friday, July 30th, 2010

You can make better use of your time by getting Outlook to automatically highlight important emails by color-coding them for you.

I subscribe to several newsgroups/mailing lists on the Internet. I use Rules to move these emails out my Inbox to read later so that they don’t interrupt my normal work day.

The problem is that one newsgroup in particular has a few hundred emails every day. Most of the topics discussed are of little interest to me.

I’m only interested in emails that have the word Outlook in them.

I’ve setup Outlook so that it automatically highlights (Red Bold) any email with the word Outlook in it.

This way I don’t waste my time scanning through hundreds of emails. I am also able to provide better value to other members of the newsgroup by responding to Outlook related postings quickly.

1. Go to the Folder in which the emails are. This can be the Inbox or any other folder.

2. In Outlook 2010, Click View on the Ribbon and then click View Settings.

On all other versions of Outlook, on the menu at the top, Click View-Current View – Customize Current View to display the Customize View screen.

3. In Outlook 2010, Click Conditional Formatting… button

In other versions of Outlook, Click the Automatic Formatting… button.

4. Click the Add Button

5. Enter a name e.g. “Colour Code Outlook Emails”

6. Click the Font button and using the resulting screen to choose how you want emails to be highlighted (I chose the colour Red and Bold). Click OK to return to the previous screen.

7. Click the Condition button to display the Filter screen and enter your criteria and click OK.

In my case I chose;

Search for the word(s): Outlook
In: Subject and message body

8. Click OK 3 times to return to your Folder.

Your Emails are Now Color Coded

Any emails in the folder that meet the criteria you specified will automatically be highlighted. Any new emails will also be highlighted.

You can use this technique whenever you need to highlight an email e.g. highlight all emails from your most important client.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips

9 thoughts on “Let Outlook Highlight Important Emails

  1. I’ve been trying to colour code my emails in Outlook 2010 for weeks.

    There’s no “Automatic Formatting” button under “View settings”, in my version.

    Any suggestions?



    Miles Barry | E: mb@mbarry.org.uk

  2. Miles,

    Don’t know if you’ve given up on this, but the instructions for Outlook 2010 appear to have left out a key step.

    After you click on View Settings on the ribbon tThe Advanced View Settings: Messages dialogue box should appear. Click on the Conditional Formatting button in this box and you should then be able to proceed as described above.


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  4. Loads of Thanks!!
    My company requires a 24 Hr. turnaround on all emails received. I have been trying to figure out how to do this for MONTHS!

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