Conditional Formatting in Outlook

Conditional Formatting in Outlook is a really useful tool that allows you to customise how different messages appear in your inbox message list based on criteria that you set.

By default, conditional formatting makes unread messages appear in bold but you can add your own customisations also. For example, you may want messages that are just sent to you and no one else appear larger in your message list, or you may want message that are sent to you from your manager to appear in a different colour so they stand out. Both of these things can be done by applying conditional formatting.

Setting up Conditional Formatting

From your inbox:

  • Click on the View tab
  • In the Current View group, click View Settings
  • Click Conditional Formatting
  • Click Add to create a conditional formatting rule

Let’s look at an example. I want to create a formatting rule for mail that is sent only to me. I have named by rule ‘Only Me’.

Cond_Form1
  • Click Condition
  • Put a tick in the ‘When I Am’ box and specify ‘the only person on to To line’
Cond_Form2
  • Click OK
  • Click Font

Select how you wish these messages to appear. As these are important I have changed the font style, made it purple and bigger so they really stand out.

  • Click OK
Cond_Form3

When I switch back to my inbox, I can now see the conditional formatting has been applied to my message list.

Cond_Form4

Another example would be setting conditional formatting for mails that come in from a specific person.

To do this, repeat the above steps but when you click Condition, enter the name of the person in the From field. Click OK and then set the formatting options through Font.

Cond_Form5

There are lots of options within conditional formatting so its worth taking a look at trying out different options to make your important mails really stand out from the others.