There is the possibility to assign a category to a mail, and as a result the mail gets a coloured rectangle:


Is it possible to colour the whole message, like this?

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, changing the background color is not possible in Outlook natively. The closest you can get is changing the font properties, such as the family, color or formatting (bold, italics, etc.) And as far as colors go, you are limited to a basic 16 colors.

If you decide that this could work for you, this is how you would go about doing it:

Views: Conditional Formatting

  1. Click on the View tab on the Ribbon, then View Settings.

    View -> View Settings
  2. Click on Conditional Formatting.

    Conditional Formatting
  3. Click the Add button to add a new rule.

    Add a new rule
  4. Name the rule and then click the Condition button.

    Name the new rule and then go into the Condition settings
  5. Click the More Choices tab, then the Categories button, then choose the category you want.

    More Choices -> Categories -> Choose Category
  6. Click OK and then click the Font button to customize the font.

    Enter the Font settings
  7. Customize the font settings to your liking. Click OK when done.

    Customize the font settings
  8. Click OK to get out of the Conditional Formatting dialog and again to get out of the View Customization dialog.

    You will now see your rule in action.
    Conditional formatting rule in action

I typically use these rules to change the font color of mail entries where I am in the "To:" field or the "Cc:" field, or mails from me that I receive (such as sending to a distribution list of which I am a member). There's a lot of support for different conditions, but unfortunately, you can only alter the font and not the background.

I hope this helps.

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