Outlook 2003 Suggestion

I've already said how much I love Outlook 2003, on multiple occasions. The recap: search folders, smart date grouping, notification pop-up, and the colored follow-up flags are all very good.

I think all in all, the Office team did an excellent job on the improvements That's not to say there aren't things I wish were better.

I use the flags as they are no doubt intended - to categorize the items I need to follow through with, based on what task I have to do (reply to the e-mail, call someone, read something, whatever) and/or the project it deals with. This is especially important as I'm becoming involved in many different roles in both security and development. It's hard to stay on top of everything, and these definitely help. I use categories a lot to help keep track of my action items, but these aren't as fast and useful for the quick ones as the new follow-up flag interface.

What would be awesome, however, is the ability to rename those flags. Instead of saying - Flag Status: Red Flag - I could rename the flag so I immediately know in the search folder what type of item that is and what I need to do with it.

Sure, there are other ways I can accomplish this - predefined search folders, adding criteria such as what folder they are in or what category they are tagged with - but it's not as easy as using the colored flags.


  • I agree with you completely on this one. Here's a workaround I found. You can define a search folder whose criteria is a single color flag (e.g., orange). You can name that search folder for what the flag represents (e.g. bug reports). So, when you get a bug report, you flag it orange. The only problem is that you have to remember which flag means what. I ended up naming my search folders like this: Immediate Response (Orange), Further Reading (Purple), etc.

  • I shared this idea with the Outlook team, and one of the program managers came up with an idea I wanted to share with you. You can add the flags to a toolbar and you can give whatever name to that toolbar that you want, so at least it will always be visible (a red flag icon next to the word "high importance", a blue flag icon next to the word "personal", etc):

    1. Right click on a toolbar and choose customize

    2. On the Toolbars tab, click New and drag that toolbar to just below one of the existing toolbars

    3. On the Commands tab, click Actions and drag "red flag" "blue flag" etc up to the new toolbar

    4. Right click on the flags in the new toolbar and choose "Image and Text"

    5. In the Name field, put in the name for the flag. Put & before the key you want to use for the accelerator - i.e. &X would make it be activated with Alt+X.

    Does this help?

  • awesome tip! thanks KC!

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