You can use your favorite social network to register or link an existing account:
Or use your email address to register without a social network:
Sign in with these social networks:
Or enter your username and password
Forgot your password?
Yes, please link my existing account with for quick, secure access.
No, I would like to create a new account with my profile information.
(Our numbers tell us that many people want to learn about conditional formatting in Outlook--a clear explanation is below--so we're moving this post back into the top spot to better share it with all of you.)
Last month I wrote about how to quickly create rules to help rid your Inbox of so-called graymail. This week I wanted to share another tool for making sure the right email messages stick out when you’re reading down the message list in your Inbox. This advice comes straight out of the Outlook Best Practices – a series of guidelines to help you be as productive as possible with Outlook.
Conditional Formatting allows you to customize how different messages appear in your Inbox message list based on criteria that you set. By default, conditional formatting makes unread messages bold. By adding your own customizations, you can highlight the messages that are most important to you.
For example, when you are at work, emails that are sent directly to you and no one else are probably some of the more important messages for you to review. For that reason you might want to set these messages to appear larger than others in your Inbox.
To set up Conditional Formatting from your Inbox, on the View tab, in the Current View group, click View Settings, and then click Conditional Formatting. Click Add to create a conditional formatting rule.
Let me take you through an example. I first created a formatting rule for mail that is sent only to me, so after clicking Add, I named it “Only You.”
Next, I clicked Condition and then specified that I want this to apply for messages where I am the only person on the To line.
After clicking OK, I clicked Font and then selected how I want the text to appear in the message list. Because these are the most important messages, I chose a red color and a larger, bold font.
I repeated these steps to create conditional formatting for mail where I am on the To line with other people, mail that I was on the CC line, and mail that was sent to a specific distribution list (DL) instead of directly to me. Here are the results of what these look like in my Inbox.
The different sizes and colors help me see the most important emails and leave the others for later. I recommend that you try conditional formatting rules that help you keep your Inbox more organized. For some people that might mean using a specific color for messages from family members, or making messages from your boss larger than others. We love to hear what works for you, so leave a comment below.
Outlook Program Manager
More info on Outlook conditional formatting
Dear Crabby: Creative OutlookingGetting too many email messages? Outlook can helpMake the New Year great with a better organized InboxAutomatically change incoming message colors and fonts based on sender, subject, or recipients What happened to the Organize feature? Best practices for Outlook 2010
Nice Post! I have several subfolders under my inbox. I have rules setup to move mail to specific folders. Is there a way to do a global conditinal formating so I don't have to set this up on every folder under my inbox?
I know this is off-topic but I can't find anywhere to post my bug and suggestion, Microsoft Connect doesn't have any open submissions for Outlook. I would like an update for Outlook to support proper CSS such as float and position etc. Can't you easily do something similar to how IE8 handles the standards compliancy? If a full DOCTYPE is included in the HTML email then IE rendering is used in standards mode, else it reverts to the Word rendering and keeps all those Office people happy. Seems like an easy fix to me for Microsoft to have a standards complaint option and also backwards compatibility. I hope someone reads this in the Outlook team and thinks it is also a good idea.
^ Luke - Check out the blog post directly under this one... Or just go to answers.microsoft.com...
Chad, You can apply your conditional formatting and all of your other view settings to a number of folders at once. Once you have set up a folder the way you like, just to to the "View" tab on the ribbon, click "Change View," and then "Apple Current View to Other Mail Folders." From here you can select which folders to apply the customized view to. Hope that helps,
Josh Meisels, Outlook Program Manager
@BraveStarr: Thank you. I have started a topic over there. I don't understand why there is no official bug reporting channel for Office where this should be added. I guess I will have to accept the forum as a place to suggest this.
Thanks for the great article. But what about normal formatting i.e. while browsing through mails, I would like to change formatting for a particular mail. Currently I can categorize it with COLORS, but that does not serve the purpose always. I wish there were buttons(Font type, color, size0 in the context menu to change the formatting.
I have used conditional formatting since it first appeared and love it. However there is a problem.. its not integrated with Exchange. If you open outlook on, say, your laptop and sync your email you have no formatting. If you delete your OST (something I found myself doing regularly with the 2010 Beta otherwise outlook just wouldn't open) you lose all your settings. Please, give us some means of backing up and restoring these settings Ian
Nice post. I have been using it from last 2-3 years :)
Although a nice feature I've been using for quite a while, the colors available reminds me of my Windows 3.1 days. In the next Outlook release, please allow the full color range for this feature. Thanks!
Great feature which I use a lot. However, one area where this doesn't work is the new tabbed view in Business Contact Manager. On the View ribbon there is a View Settings button which allows you to change the conditional formatting for the current view, but it is not saved when you move away from the tab. In all other areas of Outlook the Manage Views screen can be used to save these settings, but this is not available for the tabbed view in BCM. Please can you add this functionality to the BCM as well.
thank you so much , really this post will help me
My unread messages are in Bold Blue, when they are read, they turn to Bold Black. I want to set up a color for a particular sender, when I get e-mails from John Doe, show them in green. Problem is, the blue appears to trump the green. That is, Unread messages from John Doe still show up in blue, once I read them, they turn to green. How do I make the unread e-mails from John Doe show up in green, without turning off the blue for all my other unread e-mails? I've played around with the Conditions, etc. but I cannot move the John Doe formatting above the general unread messages to give it priority. Any help appreciated.
I currently have my unread e-mail in bold Blue, and once I read the message, it turns to bold Black. I’d like e-mail sent to me from John Doe to be bold Green, and once read, then just Green. When I try to set this up using the conditions, unread bold Blue trumps Green. That is, unread messages from John Doe are still Blue, and only turn Green after I have read them (thus, defeating the purpose). In the automatic formatting screen in the Organize/colors, you cannot move the “John Doe” rule above the “unread messages” rule (I assume these would work in a priority). Are there any work arounds so that my unread messages from John Doe are bold Green, and my unread messages from everyone else remains bold Blue?
Hi, just starting out with Outlook 2010 and conditional formatting. I added a conditional format to mark unread messages in red font. However, if I use the 'Mark as Unread' option on a message that I've already read, it ignores my conditional format and puts the message in bold black text (I think the original default format for unread). This seems like a bug? Is there a way to get the 'Mark as Unread' function to use my conditional format instead of the default?
@Mike - Can you try adding a new conditional format to the bottom of your list? Call it whatever you want, then under 'Condition' | 'More choices' set "Only items that are: unread". Make sure it's the last rule and it should work for you. Jed Brown, Outlook Program Manager