KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]


Naming the colored flags in Outlook 2003

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I noticed this blog entry (thank you, main feed!) with a feature request for Outlook, and I shared that request with the Outlook team. One of the PMs in Outlook suggested an idea of how to achieve something close to this by putting the flags on a toolbar and adding custom names to those toolbar buttons:

1. Right click on a toolbar and choose customize
2. On the Toolbars tab, click New and drag that toolbar to just below one of the existing toolbars
3. On the Commands tab, click Actions and drag "red flag" "blue flag" etc up to the new toolbar
4. Right click on the flags in the new toolbar and choose "Image and Text"
5. In the Name field, put in the name for the flag (such as the priority of the followup response, the project it applies to, etc). Put & before the key you want to use for the accelerator - i.e. &X would make it be activated with Alt+X.

P.S. Office's customizable toolbars rock.

  • In a Beta chat session, I suggested that it would have made more sense to tie the flags into the categories used in the outlook calendar but i like this idea :)

  • Ein coolen Tipp, wie man im Outlook 2003 die Kennzeichen-F

  • KC--Great tip! Sometimes it's the little things.

  • This combined with a search folder is as good a solution as we're going to get for now.

    Great tip.

  • KC has written a post that makes Outlook 2003 Flags instantly accessible and meaningful! Using her easy to follow steps, I created this toolbar in about 2 minutes. It's now lodged on my Outlook toolbar and I'm flagging items left and right... because I now can remember what a red flag means. KC... you rock!...

  • I can't thank you enough. My email productivity will now go up ten-fold and my small mind will remember the purpose of the colour! Great - and the instructions were simple and quick. Many thanks.

  • What is the purpose of the bar? Is it simply to remember what the colours are for or should the follow up folder open on clicking?

    Unless the bar is highlighted the colours are too muted to be readable and what is the point of the activation & if it doesnt open a list of flagged emails? Perhaps it should and I am being my usual dim self....

  • I just found that it's a little less intuitive to edit the flag names, but here's how you do it:

    Right click on the toolbar>Customize. This opens up the Customize toolbox. You can then choose re-arrange commands, choose your toolbar at the top, and choose modify selections. Or as I just found out, if you open the Customize toolbox, you can then right-click on an individual flag in your flag toolbar and get the same edit menu, saving a couple of clicks. Great tip, one that's going to make me an Outlook Flag-Waver!!!

  • Andy: You don't have to create a separate toolbar if you don't want. I just included that in the steps because some people might like having these buttons separately accessible on their own toolbar rather than mixed in with others (or floating if so desired). The purpose is yes, simply to remember what the colours are for (see the link to Marc's Outlook on Productivity, above, he includes a screenshot). This tip wasn't to open a list of flagged emails, although that could be done as well (probably better done with a search folder). What are you doing such that the bar is dimmed?

    Kip: Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that's basically the same tip as I described above, except you got to it in a different way...?

  • The toolbar is dimmed (not activated?) I have found when a folder, rather than an specific email, is highlighted. It works fine enough as you describe but I still dont understand the purpose of the &

    Would it be possible to assign a macro to each flag in the bar to open the search folder associated with the flag? And what would that macro be?

  • Ahh, I see. Yes, that dimming will happen if non-items are selected, since those actions can't operate on non-items, no way around that that I know of.

    It would be fairly straightforward to have a macro open a certain folder, but there's another way that doesn't involve macros.. you can just right click on the search folder and choose "Add to favorite folders".

  • Well yes I know that! ;-)

    What I was getting as is giving the bar with the renamed coloured bars a more indepth function. What I ment was clicking on the flag would display the search folder contents assigned that (and only that) colour flag clicked. As clicking on the flag assigns the flag to the highlighted email I dont suppose this is possible.

    As it stands it is quite useful - just thought it could do something more.


  • This tip is great KC. I had asked in the newsgroups about this and no one ever replied.
    The next step would be to make the actual flag names customizable so when you right-click the correct name shoes on the context menu.

  • Excellent tip!