A user recently had this query:
I want to set up a condition that allows me to highlight all messages from my boss, say, as red, then I would also be able to filter to show only those emails highlighted as red.
Conditional Formatting (called Automatic Formatting in older versions of Outlook) is used to color messages from someone. This is actually a view and the color goes away when you change views or reset the view.
You can't filter on conditional formatting, but you can create a filter using the same conditions used to create the conditional formatting. It's all done in a view so you can create the formatting, copy the view and add a filter to show only messages from the boss. Use it by switching views.
Better would be to use a rule to assign a Color Category to email from the boss (you can use the color category on meetings too). Use the Category Arrangement option (group by category) to group everything by category. This command is on the View ribbon and on the context menu when you click or right click on the field names above the message list.
In addition, under the 'Search People' command ('Find a Contact' in older versions) you'll have a Filter Email > Categorized command that creates an Instant Search query for a specific category.
Tip: If you need to find all items in the category, click the All Outlook Items button in the Search ribbon.
If you need to find messages from anyone, even people you aren't categorizing, you can use Find Related. Right click on a message from your boss and choose Find Related > Messages from Sender. This creates an Instant Search for all email from the sender of the selected message. (In older versions of Outlook, it's called Find All.)
Which is better – categories, instant search, or custom views? If you need a solution that is persistent as you change folders and return, use a custom view. If you just need to find messages quickly, use categories and Instant Search.
Published April 3, 2013. Last updated on April 3, 2013.