Creating New Color Categories

Last reviewed on October 17, 2013

Creating new Categories in Outlook 2007/2010 is not as easy as in older versions – you can’t just type in the Category field. You can’t copy and paste lists into the Master Category dialog. You need to select a color category from the Color Category dialog and create the categories one at a time.

Sending Categories on Email Messages

How to create new color categories

Category Icon

  1. Begin by clicking on the Categorize button in any Outlook window to expand the Category list.
  2. Color Categories menuSelect All Categories to add new or edit existing categories or to select from categories not listed in the menu.

Click New to create a new category or select an existing category to Rename it, or change the color or keyboard shortcut.

Select (check) categories you want to apply to the selected Outlook item.

Add Color Category


Right click on an item and choose categorize to add or remove categories.

Ctrl+click or Shift+click to select multiple items, then right click, Categorize to apply a category to the selected items.

If using By Category view, you can drag items between categories to change or remove categories.

Video Tutorial

Bulk Add Categories in Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010

To bulk add categories to the master list in Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 requires a two step process.

Note: if the categories are already on one or more Outlook items, skip to Step 2 to add them to the master category list and assign colors. If you want specific colors assigned to a category, you’ll need to edit the color or add it to the master last yourself.

Step 1: Add the Categories to a Contact item

  1. Open a contact form and switch to the All Fields page.
  2. Select Frequently used fields from the Select from menu, then type (or paste) a comma-separated list of categories into the Category field.
  3. Save the contact form.

Step 2: Upgrade to color categories

  1. Return to the main Outlook window
  2. Right click on the top level of your data file (where Outlook Today is) and choose Properties
  3. Click Upgrade to Color Categories button

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.

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