How to color-code your email as it ages

Last reviewed on May 8, 2014

I receive a lot of questions from users who want help identifying email as it ages. One user wanted to count how many times a message was read and after it was read 3 times, but not replied to, send an email to two supervisors. He also wanted to send an email when there were more than 500 messages in the Inbox. Other users are looking to mark or highlight mail as it ages. While all of these requests are possible, highlighting mail as it ages is fairly simple for anyone to do with a custom view, in any version of Outlook.

To create a custom view to highlight messages 7 to 14 days old in Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, follow these steps:

    1. Switch to the View ribbon.
    2. Click View Settings.
    3. Click Conditional Formatting button to create formatting rules.
    4. In the Conditional Formatting dialog, click Add, and enter a name for the conditional rule
    5. Click Font to choose a font color.

Create a conditional rule

    1. Click Condition.
    2. On the Advanced tab, type Received in the Field box, choose between as the condition and type 7 days ago and 14 days ago as the value then save.

Add the filter values

  1. Save the rule.

Repeat Steps 4 through 8, choosing a different color for the Font for each conditional formatting rule. Repeat as necessary.

When you’re finished, click Change View then select Save current view as a new view to save a copy of your view.

Filtered views

Outlook 2007 and older

You can create the same custom views in any version of Outlook. The steps are the same, once you open the Customize view dialog. To open the Customize View dialog, right click on the row of field names at the top of the message list and choose Customize. Click the Automatic Formatting button and create your conditional formatting rules.

To create a copy of the view, look for the Define Views command on the View menu. It's on one of the fly-out menus on the View menu, the exact location will vary with each version of Outlook.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

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