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Email Tags – Flags, Importance Level, Sensitivity Level, and Categories

In Outlook, we can easily add flags, color categories, mark importance status, sensitivity levels, etc. for received emails. Similarly, we can also add these properties for the new composing, replying, or forwarding email too. Here, this tutorial will guide you to add these properties for editing emails easily in Outlook.

Table of Content

Note: Methods introduced on this page apply to Microsoft Outlook 2019 desktop program in Windows 10. And the instructions may vary significantly or slightly depending on the version of Microsoft Outlook and the Windows environments.


1. Add flag or reminder to emails

1.1 Add flag or reminder to a single email before sending

When composing/replying/forwarding an email in the message window, we can add the follow up flags, custom flags, or reminder to the email easily.

1.1.1 Add follow up flag to a single email before sending

In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, click Message > Follow Up, and then pick up a flag from the drop-down menu as you need.

Then you will see a flag information is added above the message header as below screenshot shown:

Tips:
(1) If the replying/forwarding message is embedded in the reading pane, you need to click the Pop Out button to show the replying/forwarding message in the message window.

(2) After sending this email, the follow up flag  will automatically display beside the sent email in the message list, and the sent email will automatically be added to the to-do list too.

(3) These kinds of follow up flags work in the senders' Outlook only. The recipients will not get the follow up flags.

1.1.2 Add custom flag or reminder to a single email before sending

If you need to add a custom flag or reminder to the current composing, replying, or forwarding email, you can do as follows:

1. In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, click Message > Follow Up > Custom or Add Reminder as you need.

Notes: If the replying/forwarding message is embedded in the reading pane, you need to click the Pop Out button to show the replying/forwarding message in the message window firstly.

2. In the Custom dialog, go to the Flag for Me section, and do as follows:
(1) Type in the flagged text in the Flag To box;
(2) Specify the start date and due date as you need;
(3) If you need to add a reminder for the email, tick the Reminder option, and specify the reminder date and time as you need.

3. Click the OK button.

4. Compose and send the email.

1.2 Automatically flag all outgoing emails

If you need to automatically flag all outgoing emails, you can create a rule to achieve it.

1. In the mail view, click Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.

2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog, click New Rule under the Email Rules tab.

3. In the Rules Wizard, click to highlight Apply rule on messages I send, and click the Next button.

4. In the second Rules Wizard, do not check any conditions, and click Next directly. Then in the popping out Microsoft Outlook dialog, click Yes to go ahead.

Notes: If you only want to add flags for emails that meet specific conditions, you can tick the specific options and specify the conditions, and then click the Next button.

5. In the third Rules Wizard:
(1) Tick the flag message for action in a number of days option in the Step 1 section;
(2) Click the underlined text action in a number of days in the Step 2 section;
(3) In the popping out Flag Message dialog, specify the flagged text and remind duration as you need, and click OK;
(4) Now it returns to the Rules Wizard, and click Next.

6. In the fourth Rules Wizard, click Next directly.

Tips: Here we can set exceptions to run this rule. If necessary, specify the rule exceptions as you need.

7. In the last Rules Wizard, name the rule, specify the running rule options, and click the Finish button.

Sometimes, there is warning Microsoft Outlook dialog popping out, click the OK button to close it.

8. Then we go back to the Rules and Alerts dialog, click OK to close it.

From now on, all outgoing emails will be flagged automatically.

Notes:
(1) The rule will not flag outgoing emails if we close the Outlook.
(2) The rule will only add flag for the sent item in senders' Outlook, and recipients won’t get the flag information.


2. Set important levels for emails

2.1 Mark one email as important

When you are composing a new email or replying/forwarding an email in Outlook, you can add or change the priority for the email.
In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, click the High Importance or Low Importance button to set the priority for the currently editing email directly.

Notes:
(1) If the High Importance or Low Importance button has been highlighted already, you can click the button again to cancel the importance priority from the email.

(2) Alternatively, you can click the anchor  at the bottom-right corner of the Tags group on the Message tab to enable the Properties dialog, specify an importance priority from the Importance drop-down list, and close the dialog.

(3) By the way, in the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, you can also click File > Info > Properties to open the Properties dialog, and then specify the importance priority from the Importance drop-down list.

(4) When the replying or forwarding message is embedded in the reading pane, you can click the High Importance or Low Importance button on the Message tab (Compose Tools) directly.

2.2 Mark all new emails as important automatically

If you want to mark all outgoing emails as high priority automatically, you can configure the Outlook options as follows:

1. In the mail view, click File > Options to open the Outlook Options dialog.

2. In the Outlook Options dialog, click Mail in the left sidebar, go to Send messages section, and specify the default importance from the Default Importance level drop-down list.

3. Click the OK button.

From now on, all new emails and replies you sent will be marked as the specified default importance level automatically. However, the forwarding emails will remain the importance level of original emails.

2.3 Notes

When recipients receive the emails that are marked as different priorities, they will see the high-priority emails are marked by red exclamation marks  , and the low-importance emails are marked by blue down-arrows  in the message list as below screenshot shown.

When recipients read the emails in the reading pane or message windows, the importance level information is added below the message header as above screenshot shown.


3. Set sensitivity levels for emails

3.1 Mark a message as confidential, private, personal, or normal

In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message windows, we can easily set a sensitivity status for the current email as follows:

1. In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, click File > Info > Properties to open the Properties dialog.

Tips:
(1) Alternatively, you can also open the Properties dialog by clicking the anchor  at the bottom-right corner of the Tags group on the Message tab.

(2) If the replying or forwarding message is embedded in the reading pane, you can click the anchor  at the bottom-right corner of the Tags group on the Message tab (Compose Tools).

2. In the Properties dialog, select a sensitivity status from the Sensitivity drop-down list as you need, and close the dialog.

Now the sensitivity status is set for the current email, then compose and send it as you need.

3.2 Automatically mark all new emails as confidential, private, personal, or normal

You can also configure the Outlook options to add the specified sensitivity status for all new emails automatically.

1. In the mail view, click File > Options to open the Outlook Options dialog.

2. In the Outlook Options dialog, click Mail in the left sidebar, go to the Send messages section, and specify the default sensitivity level as you need.

3. Click the OK button.

From now on, all new emails will be set to the default sensitivity status automatically.

Tips: the replies and forwards will remain the sensitivity status of original emails.

3.3 Notes

When recipients receive an email with sensitivity status, they will get the sensitivity status information below the message header when they read it in the reading pane or message window.


4. Categorize emails before sending

We also can add one or multiple categories for a new composing, replying, or forwarding email in Outlook.

4.1 Categorize one email

In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, you can add one or multiple categories for the email as follows:

1. In the new composing, replying, or forwarding message window, click File > Info > Properties to open the Properties dialog.

Tips:

(1) You can also click the anchor  at the bottom-right corner of the Tags group on the Message tab to open the Properties dialog.

(2) If the replying or forwarding message is embedded in the reading pane, you can click the anchor  at the bottom-right corner of the Tags group on the Message tab (Compose Tools) to open the Properties dialog.

2. In the Properties dialog, specify the categories from the Categories drop-down list as you need, and close the dialog.

Tips:
(1) You can specify one color category from the Categories drop-down list at a time, and repeat the operation for adding multiple color categories.

(2) You can also click Categories > All Categories to open the Color Categories dialog. And in the new dialog, create, rename, or delete categories as you need, or tick multiple categories in bulk if necessary.

(3) In the Properties dialog, click Categories > Clear All Categories to remove all existing categories from the current editing email.
Then compose and send the email as you need.

4.2 Automatically categorize all new emails

In some cases, you may need to automatically categorize all outgoing emails, or outgoing emails by special criteria, you can create a rule to achieve it.

1. In the mail view, click Home > Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts.

2. In the Rules and Alerts dialog, click the New Rule button under the Email Rules tab.

3. In the Rules Wizard, click to highlight the Apply rule on messages I send option, and click the Next button.

4. In the second Rules Wizard, click the Next button without specifying any conditions, and then click Yes button in the Microsoft Outlook dialog.

Tips: If you need to add categories for emails by criteria, you can tick corresponding conditions, and configure the conditions as you need.

5. In the third Rules Wizard, please do as follows:
(1) Tick the assign it to the category category option in the Step 1 section;
(2) Click the underlined text “category” in the Step 2 section;
(3) Now the Color Categories dialog comes out, please tick one or multiple color categories as you need;
(4) Click the OK button;
(5) Click the Next button in the Rules Wizard.

6. In the fourth Rules Wizard, specify the exceptions if necessary, and click the Next button.

7. In the last Rules Wizard, name the new rule in the Step 1 section, tick the running options as you need in the Step 2 section, and click the Finish button.

Note: If the warning Microsoft Outlook dialog pops out, please click the OK button to go ahead.

8. Now it returns to the Rules and Alerts dialog, click the OK button to save changes and close it.

From now on, all outgoing emails (or emails meeting criteria if you have specified) will be added the specified color categories automatically.
Tips: It requires Outlook running regularly. If the Outlook is not running, the rule will not categorize outgoing emails.

4.3 Notes

The categories will be sent with emails to recipients. When recipients receive these emails in Outlook, they will get the color categories besides the email in the message list, and at the top of message content in the reading pane or message window.


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