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Priority Inbox For Outlook 2010? Highlight Only Important Emails via Conditional Formatting

Gmail’s Priority Inbox is getting all the rave reviews these days. Users looking for a similar feature in Outlook 2010 will be disappointed to know that it doesn’t exist. However, the Conditional Formatting feature in Office 2010 suite applications lets you apply formatting over user-defined rules or pre-defined conditions. In Outlook 2010, you can use this feature to highlight most important emails. Furthermore, it allows you to define the font family, font color and other styles for emails from specific senders. The applied conditional formatting rules checks all the emails from your mail folder and highlight the important emails as per the defined rule.

Today we are covering a simple way of applying conditional formatting rule on a mail folder. This feature will help you quickly highlight the most important emails and conversations from a specific mail folder. Just like Priority Inbox feature, it makes it easy for you to identify the important emails when Outlook finishes the sync process. In what follows, we will explain how you can use the conditional formatting to create a rule for highlighting the important emails.

To begin, launch Outlook and select the mail folder from the main navigation bar. Now, head over to View tab, from Current View group, click View Settings.

Generic Inbox

In Advance View Settings dialog, click Conditional Formatting for defining a condition. Now, click Add and name the property, then hit Font to select a unique Font family and font color. Once done, click Condition button.


It will open a Filter dialog. From Messages tab, you can enter the criteria/condition of highlighting the mail item. Enter the search keyword and then specify the mail element. You can set it to search a keyword in the subject field or subject field and email main body.

You also have an option to specify the recipient or sender email address to be searched in mail folder for applying the conditional formatting rule. Furthermore, time of sent, received, created, and modified mail items can also be selected. Once done, click OK and view the mail items in the main window.


Now you’ll see the specified type of mails formatted as per applied condition(s).


Conditional highlighting provides a simple way to mark all the important mails. It must be noted that by applying conditional formatting, all new emails and those emails that are residing in Mail folder, which match the applied condition, will be automatically highlighted. You can follow the aforementioned procedure to highlight mails from your family, peers, friends or from any specific sender by setting a unique font size and color.


  1. Well, Outlook is a very powerfull tool indeed but it is very hard for a business user to leverage all the hard core engineering inside. This is why we tried to replicate Priority Inbox in Outlook. We are in beta at the moment and you are able to download your version of Priority Inbox for Outlook for free. Check it out at http://www.priorityinboxforoutlook.com

    And don’t forget to send us your feedback!

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