Pushing Outlook Categories to All Users 4

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I needed to push a uniform set of categories to all users so that they could use the same set when categorizing Contacts in Outlook. This would facilitate the gathering up of information for marketing purposes. For example, we could then search across all mailboxes for Contacts in the Alternative Energy category.


Just like you I head to my trusted internet sources when doing something I’ve never done before. In this case the solution was provided by a very nice write up slipstick.com. I have been a slipstick.com fan since the beginning of my career, which is gosh pretty much when the Internet was born, well not born but certainly back to when it became useful. Smile 

http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/outlook-categories-and-color-categories/ is the post that I recommend.

To deploy your group policy you will need your categories in comma delimited of semi-colon delimited format. I use comma delimited in Notepad so I could easily paste them into the group policy.

If you haven’t already installed the group policy template files into your DC, then you’ll need to do that first. Here’s the download pages for Office 2010 and Office 2013 group policy template files.

Office 2010 http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=18968

Office 2013 http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35554

Once you have the templates installed you will add your additional categories under Miscellaneous. The whole path to this location is User – Policies – Administrative Templates – Outlook 2013 (or Outlook 2010 or both) –  Miscellaneous – Add New Categories



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4 thoughts on “Pushing Outlook Categories to All Users

  • Allen

    I can’t find any definitive explanation of the format that these codes need to be put into the policy. This is how I currently have them entered in:

    Red: AV Needed, Purple: Children’s Dept, Blue: Closed, Orange: Library Event, Yellow: Meeting, Green: Standard

    Originally I put them in like this:

    Red, AV Needed, Purple, Children’s Dept, Blue, Closed, Orange, Library Event, Yellow, Meeting, Green, Standard

    I’ve tried it a variety of different ways but nothing has worked. Can you explain how the comma delimited color codes are supposed to look when entered into the policy?


    • Third Tier Post author

      Comma or semi-colon should both work. You want you list to look exactly like the list currently in your registry. See the slipstick article that I site for all the details.

      • Jeff

        I’m having the same issue. the slipstick article doesn’t explain how you need to add color categories into GP for them to push out correctly.

        ex. is ‘Red: category 1; blue: category 2’ the correct format? or is ‘Red; category 1; Blue, category 2;’ the correct format. etc…

        this is important if you want to have specific colors assigned to specific categories.

        • Third Tier Post author

          I would suggest asking slipstick this question. I didn’t have any trouble with it but my usage must have been simpler.