About organizing in Outlook

Outlook provides the following features to help you organize and find your messages, events, contacts, tasks, and notes.




Assigning items to color-coded categories provides a visual representation of items, without having to move items to different folders. To learn more, see Categorize an item.


The powerful search tools within Outlook can help you locate items quickly. For many users, the search tool is the most efficient way to be organized — no sorting or classifying required! And you can save any search to create a dynamically updated Smart Folder. To learn more, see Find items in Outlook by doing a basic search.

Follow up flags

When you really have to follow up on a message or with a contact, you can flag it for follow up and set a start date, due date, and reminder time. Then you can check your Tasks list to see everything you need to do. To learn more, see Add or remove a flag for follow up.


You can create rules so that Outlook does your organizing for you. Rules can automate tasks such as moving certain messages to a folder or adding category information. To learn more, see Create or edit a rule in Outlook for Mac 2011.

Mailing list rules

The Mailing List Manager helps you set up rules specifically for your mailing lists. These rules also keep your mailing list messages from landing in the junk mail folder. To learn more, see Organize mailing list messages.

See also

Move or copy a message between folders

Arrange and group items

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