Categories such as '_SQL' & 'SQL Scripts' or '_GP,' 'GP 9,' & 'GP 10' started to appear in my list. In the beginning, separating all these seemed like a good idea, but I soon found that there is a trade-off between how specific my categories are, the time it takes to categorize a message, and how useful my searches are. If I have categories that are too specific, it takes me longer to correctly categorize a single message, and longer to select all the categories I might need for a search. I wanted to simplify things and combine categories. During the process of tuning my category choices, I stumbled upon this feature, which as far as my Google searches reveal, is almost completely undocumented.
Now, after a long-winded introduction, here is how to merge Outlook categories for Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010!
For this example I will merge 'SQL Scripts' and '_SQL' to become '_SQL'
(The instructions below show pictures for Outlook 2010, but the steps are the same in Outlook 2007)
- Open All Categories from the Categorize menu.
- Select the category that you wish to be renamed and merged into another category and click Rename.
- Rename the category to the category you wish to merge it with, then hit Enter. (I renamed 'SQL Scripts' to '_SQL')
- Click Yes at the dialog box.
Hopefully these instructions will save some time and help you reduce the number of crazy categories you may have. Leave a comment if this was helpful!