How to Upgrade to Color Categories

Last reviewed on March 7, 2013

Applies to Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007

After upgrading to Outlook 2007 or above, you need to convert categories to color categories to add them to the master categories list.

Data File Properties

Do this by right clicking on the top level folder (where Outlook Today is) and choose Data File Properties from the menu.

If using Outlook 2007, the command is called Properties.

It should be the last command, as seen in the screenshot, but may not be the very last item if you have add-ins installed that add commands to this menu.

In the Properties dialog, click the button to Upgrade to Color Categories. This will convert the categories and add any not already on your master color category list, to it.

If you have more than one account in your profile that uses an existing data file, you need repeat these steps for each account.

Upgrade to color categories

To share color categories with other users, see the Tools below.


Categories Administrator for Outlook/Exchange

Categories Administrator was specifically designed for users to easily administer Master and Individual Contact Categories in Outlook/Exchange/BCM. Add, rename, merge, remove, delete, import, and create categories in Outlook/Exchange/BCM. Create a query and then map it to the selected contacts.

Category Importer

Category Importer for Outlook, exports your Master Category List (MCL) to a text file that you can easily import on another PC. Free

Category Manager

Category Manager allows sharing of color categories; it adds a sidebar to the folder view as well as opened items, in which you can group your categories and assign them lightning fast; and it adds a reminder, which optionally prompts you if you forget to assign a category. Version 3.0.4

CodeTwo CatMan

CodeTwo CatMan allows sharing of Outlook categories with other users on the local network. Centralized management using a shared configuration file. Version 3.0.1

Exchange Category Exporter

For Mac users. Export contacts from a specific category in Outlook 2011 or Entourage.

Exchange Category Manager

Exchange Category Manager is a plug-in for Exchange server 2010. Without any interaction to the user's pc or Outlook it enables you to manage the Outlook categories and colors that are available to the users in Outlook 2007 and higher. You can define an unlimited number of groups with different users. Each group can have it's own set of categories and colors that the user can choose from. Per user group you can either add categories to the existing list that a user has in Outlook or replace everything with the predefined list. As it integrates with Exchange server directly the users do not have to do or install anything, their category list is simply automatically managed.

ReliefJet Essentials for Outlook

The updated version of ReliefJet Essentials for Outlook adds many new features including support for Quick Text with hotkeys and expandable macros. New utilities added like Add BCC to Messages and Redirect Messages. All utilities can be integrated with Outlook Rules. A command line tool for Outlook professionals and administrators is also provided. More than 70 tools and utilities are now included.

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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