Conditional Formatting by Contact Category

Last reviewed on February 3, 2012   —  No comments yet

A very frequent request is the ability to apply rules or automatic formatting to messages and meetings with people in specific categories.

For example, the user wants a rule that moves all mail from people who are assigned the Green color category to the Green folder. Or they want to highlight all mail sent from people assigned to the Green category with the green text.

While this is a great idea and would make color categories more useful, unfortunately, this is not possible in current versions of Outlook.

"I want emails coming in from color categorized contacts to have a different view when coming in. I see where you can change settings for the view and I create a conditional format that says change the font of the email when it comes in if the contact is in this category."

There are two ways to make this work.

If the list of addresses is short, create a Conditional formatting view (Automatic formatting in older versions of Outlook) and list the addresses in the From field on the Messages tab. This From field applies to the email address or apply it to all email from any domain by entering a comma separated list of addresses and/or domains: "microsoft.com, slipstick.com,mary@contrary.com"

Conditional formatting rule to highlight messages from senders

To apply a conditional formatting rule to a long list of addresses or when the list is updated often, a separate Contacts folder for the “category” members usually works better. Enable the contact folder as an address book then create a rule that applies a category to messages from members of this address book.

Once this is done, conditional formatting can be applied to the messages in the category. This isn't my favorite solution because it means multiple contacts folders, but it's an easy way to work with large or dynamic groups.

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.

Leave a Reply

If the Post Coment button disappears, press your Tab key.