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Organizing Your Contacts List in Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011

Assigning Categories to Contacts

The category feature makes it possible to assign one or more color-coded categories to items throughout Outlook—including contacts. When you apply a category to a contact, not only do you change the color that it appears in the item list, but you add a category tag that you can use for sorting or searching. Assigning categories to contacts also makes it easy to show or hide contacts by using the category check boxes in the navigation pane.

You apply a category to a selected contact with the Categorize button on the Home tab. Select the contact in the contacts list and then click the Categorize button to display a menu of available categories. Choose the category you want to apply, and that category tag is added to the contact. The color of the contact text in the contacts list changes to the color of the category and the category name appears beneath the phone number in the list.

You can repeat this process as much as you like to apply multiple categories to a contact. To remove a category, simply click it on the menu again to clear the check mark. To clear all categories from a message, click Clear All on the Categorize menu.

Outlook comes predefined with nine categories: Family, Friends, Holiday, Junk, Manager, Networking, Personal, Team, and Travel. But you can add, remove, or modify categories if desired to better meet your needs.

In this exercise, you’ll apply categories to a number of contacts to see how their appearance changes. You’ll also work with category check boxes in the navigation pane to show or hide contacts based on categories. Finally, you’ll remove individual categories and clear all categories from a contact.

  1. In the contacts list, click Kim Akers to select her record.

  2. On the Home tab, click the Categorize button to display its menu of options. This menu will include all categories set up in Outlook.

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  3. Click Friends. The Friends category is applied to Kim’s record. It appears in the contacts list as well as at the top of the reading pane with her record selected.

  4. Click the Categorize button again to display its menu of options. Note that the Friends category appears with a check mark beside it, because it is applied to Kim’s record.

  5. Click Personal. The Personal category is also applied to Kim’s record. It appears in the contacts list as well as at the top of the reading pane beside the Friends category with her record selected.

  6. In the contacts list, select any other record. Note that Kim’s name and email address appear in the same color as the Personal category—green, unless you’ve changed it—and the Personal category appears beneath the phone number. Only the last category name appears in the contacts list, even with multiple categories applied.

  7. In the contacts list, select the Ben Andrews record.

  8. Using the Categorize button’s menu, apply the Personal and Family categories to his record in that order. Note that only the Family category name appears in the contacts list.

  9. In the contacts list, select the Josh Bailey record.

  10. Hold down the Command key and, in the contacts list, click Nancy Anderson. Both records are now selected. You can use this technique to select any number of records.

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  11. Using the Categorize button’s menu, apply the Team category to the selected records.

  12. If necessary, in the navigation pane, click the disclosure triangle beside Address Book or My Contacts to display contact categories. (If you have more than one contacts list, also click the disclosure triangle beside the one you copied the sample contacts to to display its categories list.)

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  13. In the navigation pane, clear all displayed check boxes. (A quick way to do this is to clear the top level check box; all check boxes below it are also cleared.) All contacts disappear from the contacts list.

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  14. In the navigation pane, select the Team check box. The two records you applied the Team category to (Nancy Anderson and Josh Bailey) appear in the contacts list.

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  15. In the navigation pane, select the Personal check box. The two records you applied the Personal category to (Kim Akers and Ben Andrews) appear in the contacts list, even though both of them also have another category applied and that category is not selected.

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  16. In the navigation pane, select the Family check box. The contacts list does not change because the only contact with the Family category applied (Ben Andrews) is already displayed because of its Personal category.

  17. In the navigation pane, clear the Personal check box. The record that has the Personal category and another unchecked category (Friends; Kim Akers) is removed from the list.

  18. In the navigation pane, select the No Category check box. All contacts that have no category applied are added to the contacts list.

  19. In the contacts list, select Lisa Andrews and, using the Categorize button’s menu, apply the Friends category to her record. Lisa’s record disappears from the contacts list because it has an undisplayed category applied to it.

  20. In the navigation pane, select the check box beside Address Book or My Contacts to display all contacts lists (if you have more than one), categories, and contacts.

  21. In the contacts list, select Kim Akers.

  22. On the Home tab, click the Categorize button, and then click Friends. The Friends category is removed from Kim’s record. Selecting a selected category removes that category.

  23. In the contacts list, select Ben Andrews.

  24. On the Home tab, click the Categorize button and then click Clear All. All categories are removed from Ben’s record.