Using Categories

Categories are one of those features in Outlook that have a lot of interesting purposes.  In this article I'll introduce you to how to use them and talk a bit about a few scenarios where you might find them useful.

What Are Categories?

Categories are basically just tags that you can use to organize your items. Outlook comes with a number of pre-created categories, but you can rename or delete those or create your own custom categories.

You can assign one or more categories to any item (e-mail, appointment, contacts...) and then use those categories to find, group or filter your items so that you can work with like items more easily.

How Do I Assign a Category?

Probably the easiest way to assign a category is to right-click the item you want to categorize and choose "Categorize"

Right-click an Outlook item If you just highlight "categorize" a pop-out menu will show you a list of your most-used categories for quick application.

If you want a different category click the "All Categories" option from the bottom of the list. Here you'll get a dialog box that lets you choose any category you want.

This is also the place to go if you want to create a new category, edit an existing category or delete the category entirely.

How Do I Remove a Category?

To remove a category just right-click the item, highlight Categorize, and uncheck the category from the list.

If you want to remove ALL of the categories assigned to that item then right-click the item, select categorize, then click "Clear All Categories" which is the very first item on the list.


It's sometimes useful to be able to group together things that relate to the same matter.  E-mails, contacts, appointments, tasks...even journal entries.  By creating a category for the matter you can then assign that category to all of the items related to that matter.