I haven't found a clear answer on this yet. When I configure a color category in my Outlook 2007 or 2010 client -- say I configure the color red to be "Important Emails" -- does that affect all other users on the same Exchange server, or are the categories per user?

Everything I found says that they are per user. But when I first opened my categories to customize them, I found two or three had names already on them that I did not set and were related to my company (so not a Microsoft default). Before I start tweaking away, I want to make sure I'm not going to enforce my own personal organization on all the other users in the building.

If it is global, is there any way to use the categories for just myself?


For the most part your categories are your own and will not be visible to others.

The others might see your categories in certain situations like:

  • you send message, or meeting requests with a category.
  • you have delegation setup, or you have shared some of your folders so other people can view something like your calendar
  • you use your categories on items in public folders. Perhaps you have a shared contacts folder?
  • This appears to be true, though I'm not sure why I got a few of someone else's categories -- I don't have any emails with that category referenced. Interesting. – Nathan Loding Oct 12 '10 at 14:34

I have categories in my Outlook set up because my organization used to assign work requests based on Outlook tasks. Each task was categorized and, even though we use a 3rd party system now, my team still has these categories defined.

  • 1
    We do the same thing on a shared mailbox - works great for small groups – pauska Dec 14 '11 at 21:58

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