Outlook Tips--Color-Coding Appointments

How do I color-code appointments in the monthly view of my Outlook calendar?

In Outlook 2000 and earlier, you can't color-code appointments. However, in Outlook 2002, you can add colors to appointments in any Day/Week/Month view in any calendar folder. Microsoft added a Label feature that lets you highlight any appointment with one of 10 colors. To apply a label color, right-click the appointment, choose Label, then pick from the list of colors.

Table 2 lists the colors and the default label that Outlook supplies for each color. You can change the labels to change the text associated with each color. Choose Edit, Label, Edit Labels. For example, in Figure 4, the default label for the fifth item was Must Attend, but I changed the label to Deadline. At home, you might want to have a different color for each member of the family. At work, you might have a My Meetings color for meetings that you organized and an Other Meetings color for appointments at which you're an attendee.

Keep this table handy, because even though Outlook lets you group, sort, and filter by label, the text that it shows in its filter dialog box and views is the default label text, not your custom label text. If I want to filter my calendar by the Deadline label, for example, I must set the filter to show only items with the Must Attend label.

The color labels work in any Day/Week/Month view, whether the view shows a month, a week, or just one day's schedule. The labels don't work in the table view, but you can use Outlook's usual automatic-formatting feature to apply color rules in the table view. (See my June 2000 column for an explanation of automatic formatting.) No color-coding is available in a time-line view.

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