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I'm running Outlook Version 2020 Enterprise (as part of the MS 365 Apps for Enterprise [as an aside: is there anybody else who feels they have stolen our Sundays?]).

I have a particular email message I need to refer to during my current work task. I would like to visually mark it so that I am able to find it quickly, as it is not on the top of my date-sorted list any longer. In Thunderbird I would click the "star" but best would be to give it a different background or font color/size/weight in the list. The only possibility I could find was to "give it the little flag" to mark it as a to-do task (I'm on the German version so I may not label things with the exact English wording, my apologies for that). It then has a very pale yellow background. But in all reality, this email is not a task. It doesn't have a date attached, it should not appear on my todo list.

Alternatively I could create a rule or define conditional formatting based on that message but that's overkill. I could also move it to a temporary folder but that's overkill as well and removes the message from its context.

I think my request is simple and occurs regularly to typical users (I received a booking or order confirmation, need to get back to somebody later, whatever), so it's likely possible and I'm missing something.

Is there a simple, non-semantic way to make an arbitrary message visually stand out in the Outlook message list?

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  • You can right try using categories. Right-click on the message > Categorize, then select a color for example blue. Next time you want to find that message, arrange the message by categories. – Reddy Lutonadio Feb 1 at 12:14
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    Another possibility is to use View> View Settings > Conditional Formatting > Add, then Condition to define conditions related that particular message. – Reddy Lutonadio Feb 1 at 12:29
  • @ReddyLutonadio Ah, that's what I mentally included in "rules". I'll fix that in the post. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Feb 1 at 12:59
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    @ReddyLutonadio Ah, your comment made me look up conditional formatting though (I hadn't really looked into that because I didn't want to highlight a particular date or sender or subject etc. But I the condition lets you specify a "Category" (Red, Blue etc.) as well which allows me to change the appearance of specific messages in the list with two clicks (by assigning them a category). That's part of what I found frustrating: Why does a message categorized "blue" not appear blue!? But I can still specify that. If you make that an answer I'll upvote. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Feb 1 at 13:13
  • That's Microsoft for you – Reddy Lutonadio Feb 1 at 13:14
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If you can, try webmail application instead regular Outlook. I'm using it since months and I can "pin" messages on folder's top. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/use-the-web-version-of-outlook-like-a-desktop-app-b360bd9a-00dc-43a4-bdf8-71cdeeb78e83

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