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Microsoft Office 365

Office 365: Use Conditional Formatting to Automatically Assign Colors to Calendar Items in Outlook

By September 27, 20195 Comments

I like my calendars to be color-coded.  It looks nice, and when you have a busy week it just helps make sense of your calendar at a glance. You can use conditional formatting in Outlook to automatically assign colors to calendar items using conditions that you create. This really takes the work out of color-coding your calendar!

Open the Calendar View Settings by going to the Calendar in Outlook, then selecting the View tab, then “View Settings”:

Select Conditional Formatting:

Click “Add” to create a rule. Give it a name and color for the calendar items. Select Condition to create the rule needed to color-code the meeting:

In this example, I want calendar items containing “PTO” to be teal, so I just used the keyword search in the condition window:

That’s all I need for this rule, but check out the other tabs to get a feel for the conditions you can create:

I created a calendar item called “PTO”, and sure enough, it was assigned the color teal immediately:

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Jes says:

    Are you able to save it in cloud or something because the colors will not show up on outlook android/iOS app but I have them color coordinated on PC where I colored them.

    • Megan Hagedorn says:

      I have not tested this myself, but according to this UserVoice post, Microsoft added this feature to the IOS (not sure about Android) app over Summer 2019. According to that post, “To check to see if you should have this feature, go to Settings > Accounts > Account Details. If you see “Microsoft sync technology” at the bottom, you should have this feature.”

  • Kimberly Stokes says:

    Now what if you want to only see in your calendar on PTO? I cannot seem to set a view for that based on conditional color setting. I like the conditional changing of the color but now I have to only see the PTO and print a month view of that only.

    • MeganH says:

      Hi Kimberly,
      If I understand your issue correctly, you’re trying to create a view that only displays your PTO? I just tested this in my Outlook and was able to create one–make sure your view type is set to Day/Month/Year, then modify it, and open the “Filter” settings. In the “More Options” tab, you’ll see an option to select a category/color to display in the view. If you use the “Show as” field to display your PTO as “out of office”, you can also use that to filter the view. In the “Filter” settings, in the “Advanced” tab, select the “Field” drop-down. Under “Appointment Fields”, select “Show Time As”, then select “out of office”. I hope that helps!

  • paul says:

    This works fine if you only use 1 agenda. But if you have shared agenda’s, the conditional format applies to all the agenda’s. How can you make it work with only your own agenda?

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