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Rediscover the robust task management features in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Author Gini Courter explains the difference between Outlook tasks and To-Do Lists, and shows how to use Outlook 2010 to handle both business and personal schedules, from making appointments, to creating and completing tasks, to color-coding calendars and tasks for at-a-glance review.
If you used the flags in prior versions of Outlook that were different colors blue and red and green and so on to be able to organize and then sort or group items in your Inbox, to be able to sort and group contacts or tasks you'll feel really good about color categories here in Outlook 2010. But if you haven't used categories at all and you didn't use colored flags I would like to encourage you to dive into categories anyway they're easy to use and they give you the ability to group like items together, so they're very useful for organizing many of your folders your Inbox for example in your contacts list and they give you a great visual overview of your calendar.
To be able to apply a category to an item simply select the item and then choose categorize in one of many different ways. We can go up here on the home ribbon and in the tags group choose Categorize and select the category or you can point or you can point directly to where the category is this empty box and choose from the category list or as with tasks there is actually a quick click category just like there's a quick click flag.
I'm going to double-click and choose the fourth way to do this which is to choose the Categorize command here on the ribbon of the message itself and I'm going to select the Orange Category. The first time you use any category you can rename it and you're prompted to do so, you won't ever be prompted again if you say no right now you can still go in and rename it, but the easy way to do it is to rename this on the fly right now as we go along. So this is actually about advertising and I'm going to create an advertising category that will be used for advertising vendors in my contacts list that will be used for any advertising meetings I have in my calendar and will be used to categorize any item related to advertising that's in my Inbox.
So I am just going to enter Advertising and say Yes. Several things happened, first you'll notice that here in the message there's a banner at the top that notes that there's a category it's advertising and you see the color orange. If I click to look at the Categorize list you'll also notice that we don't have an orange category anymore we have a category called Advertising that I've just apply here. So this item has one category and I'm going to go ahead and close it, you won't be prompted to save an item simply because you have set a flag or added a category to it, if I want to remove a category, again several different ways to do it.
With the item selected here in the Inbox I can either right-click and clear all categories or choose this category again to remove only Advertising. I could clear Categories here I can open the item and if it what was marked Advertising still, I could then go and say no change my mind, by clicking Advertising again or again Clear All Categories. The difference between getting rid of advertising alone or clear in all categories is actually pretty basic; I can assign more than one category.
So let's say there were also some budget implications here and I wanted to assign a category for items that had to do with finance. I can choose Advertising, but then I can also choose the Green category and it says you haven't used this before and I'm going to simply call this Finance. Now I have two categories, you'll notice that they're applied in the order in which I selected them. So Advertising was first and it's on the right, Finance was second it's to left, if I chose yet another category than it would appear to the left again. This doesn't matter a lot when I'm looking at it here but it will matter in one place in particular and that's in my calendar.
I am going to go ahead and close this, you'll notice that here in the information viewer I can see both categories, I can also see both categories here in the preview of the message. And again when I double-click to open it both are there, to get rid of only one category simply select and remove it or choose Clear All Categories to get rid of all of them. I gave you a little bit of a teaser about the calendar so I would actually like to go set up an appointment and show you the effect of assigning category here in the calendar.
So let's say I have a budget meeting about the fall promotion. So this has two things going on with it, it's about Advertising and it's also about Finance. So I'm going to assign Advertising first that I'm going to assign Finance and close this item. I'm prompted to save changes because its calendar item that's brand new okay this didn't exist before it's not that I added categories to it, it's because I'm creating it from scratch. It's going to appear here and then you'll notice that what happens is it has a green background here there is no easy way for the calendar to show me both the green for Finance category and the Orange for Advertising.
So it's green but there's an orange box that you can see here and if I click on this item you'll notice the Calendar tools tab opens and I can click Categorize and see that I chose both of those. If I wanted this to show as orange for advertising if I thought that was the major category I wanted then what I would need to do is actually assign Advertising last. The easy way to do that at this point is to get rid of it and then to assign it again and because this is a Calendar item that's been updated you'll notice my Reminders window is opening pretty frequently.
But now I have Advertising in the left and Finance in the right, I flipped the two of them around. And when I save and close this, now you'll notice that I have for the orange color for Advertising is my main color for the appointment and the green as the minor color that shows up here simply a small bar in my Calendar. So easy enough to create a new item and assign categories as we did here with our calendar appointment or to take an existing item and to assign categories as we did here with our e-mail.
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