How To Set Categories, Flags, Reminders, or Colors in Outlook

Learn how to organize your contacts, emails, notes, and calendar items and stay focused by setting categories, flags, reminders, or colors in Outlook.
How To Set Categories, Flags, Reminders, or Colors in Outlook

When using Microsoft Outlook, you are able to easily organize your contacts, emails, notes, and calendar items depending on their subject and the category you want them to fall under. Outlook allows you to create your own unique categories such as finances, personal, business, etc. With Outlook, you are able to stay up to date and organized in every aspect of your life.

How to Assign a Category to an email:

  • First, right-click the message you want to categorize
  • A list of options will appear > choose categorize
  • Create or select a category to put your email in
  • Reminder: You can put an item in more than one category

At first, the categories on Outlook are named with generic colors, displayed in table view such as your inbox. This allows you to customize all your categories to your Outlook items. For example, you could have work emails blue, friend and family emails green, social events red, and so on. By giving each category a different name and color, you make it easy to organize and identify all the information you have.

How to Create Color Categories:

  • Choose Home > Categorize > All Categories
  • Select Color Category and then select rename
  • Choose a suitable title for the selected category
  • If you wish to change the color of a certain category, click on the color drop-down
  • When you are finished in Color Categories, select OK

 There are many helpful elements of Microsoft Outlook. Not only can you categorize all of your important information, but you can set reminders and flag certain events, notes, and anything else you might need reminding of. Outlook will also automatically send pop-ups of these reminders over your calendar to let you know when your scheduled event is coming up.

How to Set a Reminder for messages:

  • Go to your message list
  • Select the message you want to be reminded of
  • Go to the toolbar at the top and click Follow Up > Add Reminder
  • You can customize your reminder with the time, date, and description
  • When you are done, select OK
  • An alarm icon will appear on the message- this is telling you the reminder has been set
  • If you ever need to change the time of your reminder, click Follow Up > Reminder, edit the time, click OK

How to Set a Reminder for Tasks:

  • Go to the bottom of the screen and choose Tasks
  • Click Home > To-Do List to view Tasks
  • Select a task on the list
  • If you want to add a task reminder- Choose the task and a time frame to meet your deadline in the Follow Up group
  • If you want to remove a task reminder- Go to Manage Task group and select Remove from List

How to Show Reminders over other Programs and Apps

  • Click File > Options > Advanced
  • In the Reminders box, check the section that is marked Show reminders on top of other windows
  • Press OK

How to Dismiss Reminders from past events:

  • Choose File > Options > Advanced
  • In the Reminders section, click Automatically dismiss reminders for past events

How to Set a Follow-Up flag:

  • Select the email message that you are wanting to flag
  • Select the flag icon
  • Then the flag will turn red and a Follow Up message should appear in the header

Note: Follow up flags can only be used on Actionable Items

How to create flags in outlook

  • Right-click the email message you want to unflag
  • Choose Follow Up > Mark Complete

Setting up categories and flags in outlook

  • The Follow Up flag will turn into a green checkmark and be removed from the To-Do Bar

How to View all Follow-Up flags:

  • Click View > To-Do Bar > Tasks
  • The To-Do bar opens allowing you to view all flags

How to Find an Action Item:

  • If Outlook finds an item that looks like an action item, the Actionable Items tab will appear on the reading pane
  • Choose the Action Items dropdown to read that Action Item
  • If you would like to set a Follow Up Flag to remind you of that item, select Follow Up
  • When you are done, mark the item as Complete

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