How to assign category to outgoing email in Outlook?

This article provides three methods for assigning category to outgoing email in Outlook.

Manually assign category to an outgoing email

Manually assign category to an outgoing email with VBA code

Automatically assign category to outgoing email by creating rule


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Manually assign category to an outgoing email

You can manually assign category to an outgoing email in Outlook. Please do as follows.

1. In the new email window, click the Message Options button in the Tags group under the Message tab. See screenshot:

2. In the Properties dialog box, select a category from the Categories drop-down list, and then click the Close button.

3. Compose your email and send it. And the email with specified category is assigned for this outgoing message in the Sent Items folder in your Outlook.


Manually assign category to an outgoing email with VBA code

Then below VBA codes can help you easily assign category to an outgoing email in Outlook. Please do as follows.

1. Press the Alt + F11 keys to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

2. In the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window, please double click to open the ThisOutlookSession code window, and then copy below VBA code into the code window.

VBA code 1: Manually assign category to an outgoing email

Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
Dim xNewEmail As MailItem
If Item.Class = olMail Then
    Set NewMail = Item
   NewMail.ShowCategoriesDialog
End If
Set xNewEmail = Nothing
End Sub

3. Press the Alt + Q keys to close the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

4. Every time when you click the Send button in a composing email, the Color Categories dialog box will be displayed. Please select the category you need and click the OK button. See screenshot:

Besides, you can add below VBA script to the Quick Access Toolbar for easily assigning category to outgoing email in Outlook.

1. After opening the ThisOutlookSession code window, copy below VBA code into the Code window.

VBA code 2: Manually assign category to an outgoing email

Sub SpecifyCategoryforNewEmail()
Dim xNewEmail As MailItem
Dim xItem As Object
Set xItem = Outlook.Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
If xItem.Class = olMail Then
    Set xNewEmail = xItem
    xNewEmail.ShowCategoriesDialog
End If
Set xNewEmail = Nothing
End Sub

2. Press the Alt + Q keys to exit the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

3. Create a new email, click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button, and then select More Commands from the drop-down list.

4. In the Outlook Options window, you need to:

4.1 Select Macros from the Choose commands from drop-down list;

4.2 Select Project1 in the left textbox and click the Add button;

4.3 Select Project1 in the right box, click the Modify button and modify a symbol button to the macro;

4.4 Click the OK button in the Outlook Options window to save the changes. See screenshot:

5. From now on, if you want to assign category to an email you are composing, just click the button in the ribbon to open the Color Categories dialog box, and then select the category for this email. See screenshot:


Automatically assign category to outgoing email by creating rule

If you want to always assign category to emails which sent to a specific recipient, the below method can help you.

1. Click Rules > Manager Rules & Alerts on the Home tab.

2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog box, click the New Rule button. See screenshot:

3. In the first Rules Wizard dialog box, click the Apply rule on messages I send option in the Start from a blank rule section, and then click the Next button.

4. In the second Rules Wizard dialog box, check the sent to people or public group box in the Step 1, and specify the recipient’s email address in Step 2, and finally click the Next button. See screenshot:

5. In the third Rules Wizard dialog box, check the assign it to the category category box in the Step 1, select a category for the rule in Step 2, and then click the Next button.

6. Click the Next button directly in the fourth Rules Wizard dialog box without selecting any options.

7. In the last Rules Wizard dialog box, name the rule as you need, and then click the Finish button. See screenshot:

From now on, when sending email to this specified recipient, the email will be assigned by certain category automatically.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Alf Ivar · 6 months ago
    Hi same problem as below. It first worked but after I closed and re-opened Outlook it it didn't work anymore. How do i get the macro to work again and all the time?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Austen · 8 months ago
    Hi, I had the same problem as John below. I did the auto categorize option when clicking send using VBA code, it worked at first but when I closed and re-opened Outlook it didn't work anymore. I then tried the second VBA method and it created the symbol in the quick tool bar but nothing happens when I click it.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    John · 1 years ago
    this i great. i made the macro to manually add by VBA code 2. it worked for about an hour and now the button is still there but it will not assign the category set for it. How do i get the macro to work all the time? thanks