In Outlook 2010 folder names were bold if there was unread mail in them. In Outlook 2013 this was changed, and by default there's only a bold-blueish number behind the folder.

How can I once again have bold folder names for folders with unread mail in Outlook 2013?

Things I've tried, to no avail:

  • Search the web. I even landed at our friends at experts-exchange (scroll down to see the "answers" ;-))
  • Conditional formatting tips on the web, but they all come down to changing other UI bits
  • Custom conditional formatting rules, but they all seem to be about the list of messages (middle pane), not about the list of folders

A Microsoft MVP mentioned on answers.microsoft.com that it's just not possible. That post was from quite a while ago, I would hope that someone has found a solution or workaround by now?

To clarify, here's a screenshot with indication of what I'd like:

Screenshot of mailbox with notes

  • 1
    Not an answer since I don't use Outlook 2013 and I'm not able to test this, but you could have a look at wfSpy. Provided that 1) Outlook 2013 is written using Windows Forms in a supported version of .NET and 2) wfSpy does what it stays on the tin ("allows you to spy/browse the window hierarchy of a running Windows Forms application [...] and to change properties as well") you might be able to pull this off. Obviously this will require some hacking, so as it stands--even if this method works--your current answer is still the correct one.
    – Eric
    Feb 6, 2013 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


The answer on microsoft.com you've found is correct: this can't be done in Outlook 2013.

  • 1
    Same bad design in Outlook 2016. Gnnnnn!
    – 8DH
    Nov 21, 2016 at 8:02

Unfortunately, this is impossible. However, you could always revert to Office 2010.



View->View Settings->Conditional->New Mail
Change the font.

  • Wouldn't such a rule be for changing the font of items in the other panes? In any case, with just the instructions you've posted it's kinda hard to see what's needed. Can you include some more details, perhaps add a screenshot or two of how this works and the end result?
    – Jeroen
    Sep 8, 2014 at 6:26

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