Software & Apps MS Office Apply Categories Automatically With Rules in Outlook Let your inbox automatically organize all your emails into categories by Heinz Tschabitscher Writer A former freelance contributor who has reviewed hundreds of email programs and services since 1997. our editorial process Heinz Tschabitscher Updated on January 30, 2020 MS Office Outlook Word Excel Powerpoint Tweet Share Email Organize your inbox and categorize your emails. Categories make emails easier to find. For example, set up categories for email that contains certain words in the Subject line or specified recipients in the Cc line. Then, automate categories by creating a rule so that Outlook.com applies the desired category when the message is delivered to your inbox. Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Outlook for Microsoft 365; and Outlook.com. Apply Categories Automatically With Rules in Outlook.com To set up a filter in Outlook.com to add categories automatically to incoming messages automatically: Go to Outlook.com and sign in to your account. Go to Settings and select View all Outlook settings. In the Settings dialog box, select Mail > Rules. Select Add new rule. In the Name your rule text box, enter a name for the rule. Select the Add a condition dropdown arrow and choose the condition you want to use to assign a category. For example, to categorize email marked as important, choose Importance and select the High option. Select the Add an action dropdown arrow, choose Categorize, then select the category you want to assign it to. Select Save to save the rule. The new rule is added to the Rules settings dialog box and incoming emails that match the rule criteria are assigned to the category. Remove an Existing Outlook.Com Rule If you want to remove any of the category rules you've created, go to the Rules list (Settings > Mail > Rules) and select Delete rule (the trash can icon) to remove the rule from the list. Apply Categories Automatically with Rules Using the Outlook Desktop App You can also add categories automatically to incoming emails in the Outlook desktop app as well. Open the Outlook desktop app and go to the Home tab. Select Rules > Create Rule. In the Create Rule dialog box, select Advanced Options. In the Rules Wizard, choose the condition you want to use to automatically add a category to the incoming email, then select Next. Select the assign it to the category check box. Select the blue category link. In the Color Categories dialog box, select the category you want to assign to the incoming email. To customize a category, select Rename and enter a different name for the category. Select OK to close the Color Categories dialog box. In the Rules Wizard, select Finish to create the rule. Remove Rules on Outlook Desktop To see the list of rules you created, go to the Home tab and select Rules > Manage Rules & Alerts. Use the Rules & Alerts dialog box to manage the rules you created. To delete a rule, choose the rule and select Delete.