Use Categories To Track Items In Outlook

Do you struggle trying to locate items in Outlook? Do you spend far too much time searching through your Inbox and various other folders in Outlook trying to find the item you are looking for? If so, you might want to consider using Categories.

A category is a specific word or phrase that you can use to group your Outlook items so you can easily find them later. I should say ‘logically’ group items because they can be stored in different folders. For example, if you are working on a business project, you can assign all related items (e-mails, notes, contacts, and so on), to the same category (such as business or the specific project name). When you want to bring up items related to your business project, you can do so using the category you assigned the items to.

When it comes to using Categories, Outlook includes a Master Category List. You can group your items using the predefined categories or you can create your own categories. Once you have Outlook open, select the item/items you want to assign to a specific category. An item can include e-mails, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, appointments, and so on. You can select more than one item by holding down the CTRL key as you highlight them. Then, from the Edit menu, click the Categories option. From the list of Available Categories that appears, select the category you want to assign to the items. Keep in mind that you can assign an item to more then one category.

As you can see from the above steps, Outlook has a predefined set of categories. However, you do have the option of creating your own categories if the existing ones do not meet your requirements. So as an alternative, by performing a few simple steps, you can create your own custom categories.

Creating a new category is very easy to do. Once you have Outlook open, select the item or items you want to assign a new category to. From the Edit menu, click the Categories option. From the Categories dialog box, click the Master Category List button. Type in a name for the new category that you want to create in the New category field and click the Add button. You can repeat this step for any additional categories that you want to create. Click OK to close the Master Category List dialog box and click OK to close the Categories dialog box. Searching your folders for specific items should now be much quicker.