Tag Archives: colour-coding

GTD – Using Microsoft Outlook to colour-code e-mails

I receive a lot of e-mail that is not sent directly to me. I work for a large company with thousands of employees – at least 50% of my inbox is made up of corporate “global all” type e-mail. Whilst it’s important to read these, I personally prefer to read’n’process the e-mail that are sent directly to me before I look at the global all items. To do this, I make use of Microsoft Outlook’s built-in formatting options such that mail sent directly to me appears in my inbox in light blue.

Here’s how we do this…choose the Tools menu followed by the Organise menu item:

Next, click on Using Colours. I already have e-mail that is sent to me and me only appear in blue, hence the option to turn it off is available. Assuming that you don’t have this option enabled, click on the Automatic Formatting button at the top right:

By default, Microsoft Outlook provides a handful of automatic formatting rules, one of them is “Mail sent directly to me”:

Outlook will do a pretty good job working out the conditions required to make this happen. For the sake of completeness though, click on the Condition… button to see for yourself:

As long as you have a tick beside the “Mail sent directly to me” rule, Outlook will colour-code your incoming e-mail:

This is yet another small and simple product feature that you may well have been aware of, however if it’s new to you, it could be of some use.

Other posts
GTD Action/Deferred/WaitingFor/Someday folders in Microsoft Outlook – Show Item Count
Making e-mail simpler and easier to handle: using Microsoft Outlook rules
Elementary GTD using Microsoft Outlook “move to folder”

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