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How to change appointment colors in Outlook?

Author: Kelly Last Modified: 2014-10-30

Sometimes, you may want to highlight your appointments and make them easy-to-find in Microsoft Outlook. The common way is to change the appointments’ color. Here I will introduce two tricks to change appointment colors in Microsoft Outlook with ease.

Change color for one appointment in Outlook

Auto change color for multiple appointments in Outlook

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arrow blue right bubbleChange color for one appointment in Outlook

It’s quite easy to change an appointment’s color in Microsoft Outlook, and you can get it done easily with right-clicking the appointment, selecting the Category from the drop down list, and specify a color from the submenu.  See screen shot below:

When composing an appointment, you can also change its color with clicking the Categorize button on the Appointments tab, and specify a category color from drop down list.

arrow blue right bubbleAuto change color for multiple appointments in Outlook

In this section, I will guide you to change Calendar folder’s view settings and make conditional formatting, so that Microsoft Outlook can automatically change color for multiple appointments easily.

Step 1: Shift to the Calendar view, and open the Calendar folder where you will change color for multiple appointments.

Step 2: Click the View Settings button on the View tab.

Note: In Outlook 2007, you can click the View > Current View > Customize Current view.

Step 3: In the opening dialog box, click the Conditional Formatting button (or Automatic Formatting button).

Step 4: Now you get into the Conditional Formatting dialog box, and:

(1) Click the Add button;

(2) Enter a name for the new rule in the Name box;

(3) Click the Color box, and specify a color from the drop down list, see screen shot below;

(4) Click the Condition button.

Step 5: In the popping up Filter dialog box, specify your filter criteria.

For example, you will change color for all appointments with the text of “test” in their subject fields only, just enter the text of “test” into the Search for the word(s) box.

Step 6: Click all OK buttons to close all dialog boxes.

Then Microsoft Outlook changes the color of all appointments which meet the filter criteria you specified in Step 5 automatically.

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Comments (8)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Amanda are you really sure, a reason for asking is that in O 2021 pro plus I only get the below, wheras on O 2016 I'd agree with you ..
This is for the Single Appointment, modification or creation.

a) right click options on an existing appointment the only options there are only;
Quick Print,
Invite Attendee,
Show As,
There is no 'Categorize' option.

b) When creating a New Appointment there is No Categorise section in the Appointment Ribon;
just the Options section, 'Recurrence', then the next section is Tags,
No Categorize' section


If could post screenshots diectly I wouls post these, (I do not use 3rd party picture holders/libraries).

Is there some form of option(s) you have previously set to enable in O 2021, assuming you have tried this in O 2021?

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi S,

Sorry that I tried that on MS 365 instead of 2021 accidently.

And you are right, categories are not working in Outlook 2021. The Categorize command greyed out even though I added the command to the ribbon.

About the screenshots posting, you do not need any 3rd parties, you can upload pictures from your computer directly by clicking Upload Attachment in the bottom-left corner beneath the text box.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
What Office versions is this supposed to cover as I dont belive the option exists past 2016, i.e. in Office 2021, does it?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi there,

The options are still there, please follow the instruction to get what you need done :)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I'd like to be able to see my all day appointments in another colour in the To-Do bar because I always forget about them they are in that grey box which by most windows applications, means "unimportant". Does anyone know a way to do that?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I can no longer find the icon for categorize
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I used find the categorize choices by right clicking and I would have 8 choices. Now I right click and I only get 7 choices, the categorize icon is missing. Neither is it available on the ribbon when composing an appointment. How can I restore it?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I have Auto changed the color for multiple appointments in Outlook but when i shutdown my computer and then restart, it resets them back and I need enter them again??
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