Updated: 2009-04-09

Categories in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 enable users to personalize and add categories to any type of Outlook information. You can configure several options for how categories work for users.


This topic is for Outlook administrators. To configure Outlook categories on your computer, see Configure color categories.

You can lock down the settings to customize categories by using the Outlook Group Policy template (Outlk12.adm). Or you can configure default settings by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), in which case users can change the settings. The OCT settings are in corresponding locations on the Modify user settings page of the OCT.

The Outlook template and other ADM files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) on the Microsoft Download Center.

To customize categories options by using Group Policy

  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).

  2. To customize how results are displayed, under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Miscellaneous, double-click the setting you want to set. For example, double-click Add new categories.

  3. Click Enabled.

  4. Specify the options for this setting and click OK.

The settings you can configure for categories are shown below.

Categories option Description

Managing categories during e-mail exchanges

Control how categories are shared as users exchange e-mail messages. For example, specify that categories are not removed for users' incoming e-mail.

Add new categories

Append new categories to the user's current list of categories. Deploys text of categories only; colors used for categories repeat as needed.

Categories and flags migration

When you upgrade users to Office Outlook 2007 from an earlier version of Outlook, each user's categories and flags are still available. Earlier versions of Outlook had several types of flags, reminders, and labels that are rolled into categories functionality in Office Outlook 2007. Outlook migrates category and flag information into the new categories structure.

  • Quick flags: When a user starts Office Outlook 2007 for the first time, all existing quick flags migrate to categories. The same color is used, but date information is not retained. If an item has a reminder flag, the reminder is migrated separately.

  • Calendar labels: Labels also migrate when Outlook starts and are added to the user's categories list.

  • Other categories: Categories for non-mail items (such as tasks) migrate to Office Outlook 2007 categories and a random color is assigned to each category.

More information about existing categories is included in How categories and calendar labels from earlier versions are updated for Office Outlook 2007. More information about how flags are migrated is included in How flags from earlier versions are updated for Outlook 2007.

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See the full list of available books at Office Resource Kit information.