Three Brilliantly Simple Ways To Use Conditional Formatting in Outlook

The average worker sends and receives 122 emails every day. Of those, you're tasked with managing that fire hose while how to use conditional formattingsimultaneously identifying "actionable" emails in a timely manner. Put Conditional Formatting to work to start visually identifying the most important ones and put a serious dent in your overflowing inbox.* To create a conditional formatting rule in Outlook. You'll need to navigate to the View tab. From there, click the View Options button on the far left side.

conditional formatting

Click the Conditional Formatting button found towards the bottom.

how to use conditional formatting

Once you're here, click Add Rule and name it (remember to be descriptive in case you want to edit it later!)

The Font button will allow you to customize the text formatting once it meets your conditions. The Condition button is where you'll set your conditions to trigger the text formatting you set above.

how to use conditional formatting

That's it! Setting it all up is easy, the hard part is getting creative and figuring out the best way to put this powerful new tool to work. Below are three simple but clever suggestions to get you started.

The "Vanity Rule"

Stuck in a Reply All hurricane? Find the emails with your name in the subject line or body text.

vanity rule

You Talkin' To Me?

Getting CC'd in a lot of emails? Find the emails that are being sent to just *you*

getting ccd on emails

O Captain! My Captain!

When the boss comes knocking, it likely flies to the top of the To-Do List. Never miss another "quick question".

o captain

There are so many creative ways to put Conditional Formatting to work. If the above feels too simple, explore the More Choices and Advanced tabs to find even more criteria for defining incoming emails. I’m sure I’ll be back with more advanced recommendations in the coming weeks. Happy Formatting!

*Outlook for Windows only at this time unfortunately. Sorry Mac users!