Adding color to your Outlook inbox

I’ve been asked a number of times, “Hey Tom! Is there a way I can make my inbox show emails from my boss in a different color?” To date, my answer was always an apologetic “no”. But a colleague recently sent me a screen print of her inbox doing just that, so I had to figure out how she made that happen… and I found it!

In Outlook, select the View > View Settings option:


In the View Settings dialog box, select Conditional Formatting:


In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click Add to get a new rule. Name the rule (in this example Sandra Email Messages), make sure the box is checked, and then click the Font button:


In the Font dialog box, select how you’d like the Inbox lines to appear. For this example, I want Sandra’s emails to use the Segoe UI font, be bolded and bigger than normal, and the color purple. The Sample box will show you how that will look. Once that’s set, click OK:


Next, click the Condition button to set the rule for when this formatting will apply:


In the Filter dialog box, I’ve set the formatting to apply whenever the From field is Sandra Mahan. Feel free to play with the all the various options there, as there are plenty of different ways you can set things up. Once that’s done, click OK:


Continue clicking OK until you’re back to your Inbox. You’ll see that the new formatting rule has been applied for you:


The only drawback to this feature is that it only applies to the folder you were in when you set it up. However, you can copy this rule to other folders if you’d like.

To do this, click on View > Change View > Apply Current View to Other Mail Folders:


In the Apply View dialog box, select which folders you’d like to have use the rule you set up, and then click OK. All your selected views will now have that same rule:



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