How to use contact categories in Outlook

You can organize and manage your Outlook contacts by assigning categories and colours, flagging them for follow-up, or marking them as favourite or private. In this article, we’ll show you the ropes of contact management by using Outlook contact categories. 

Note: These steps apply to Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, and Outlook 2013. To open Contacts, click People on the Navigation bar.

Categorizing contacts

You can organize your contacts into categories, such as Family, Friends, or Business. You can assign each contact to more than one category.

  1. Open Contacts and click the Home tab. 
  2. Select the contact you want to categorize.
  3. Click Categorize and choose the category you want to assign to the contact.

4. If this is the first time you’ve used the category, you’ll be asked to choose whether you want to rename it. Enter a new Name and click Yes, or click No to keep the current name.

Note: The Categorize menu item is available only if you use POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) to retrieve your email. For more information about email protocols, see our Knowledge Base article: What are the differences between POP3 and IMAP?

Flagging a contact for follow up

You can create a to-do item to remind yourself to call or email a contact by flagging the contact for follow-up.

  1. Open Contacts and click the Home tab. 
  2. Select the contact. 
  3. Click Follow Up and select the timeframe for the reminder.
  4. If you want to create a to-do item that includes a scheduled reminder, click Add Reminder instead of Follow Up.

A to-do follow-up item will be added to your tasks.

Marking a contact as private

A private contact is visible only to you and not included in shared contact lists.

  1. Open Contacts and click the Home tab.
  2. Select the contact, then click Private.

Adding a contact to favourites

Adding contacts to favourites allows you to find and send emails quickly.

  1. Open Contacts and click the Home tab.
  2. Right-click the contact and select Add to Favorites.
  3. Hover over People in the Navigation bar to see your favourite contacts.

More information

To learn more about Outlook contacts, see the following articles in our Knowledge Base:

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