Assign categories to calendar events in Outlook 2016 IMAP accounts
Update March 2019: This workaround, which didn’t work for a while after an Outlook update, is now working again. Enjoy!
I use Outlook 2016 with an IMAP account. I was looking to add categories to calendar appointments as I used to do when working on Microsoft Exchange. I couldn’t get it to work (the Categorize tab was greyed out). On googling the problem, to my surprise I found out that this function is disabled for IMAP accounts. None of the workarounds worked for me or they were very complicated.
So I found my own very easy workaround. It takes 7 steps to set up, but then you can simply use Function key shortcuts.
Here’s how it works.
- In Outlook 2016, open a NEW appointment.
- Click on File (tab), then Properties (box)
- Click on the button “Categories” at the bottom of the Properties box, then click All Categories.
- This will open a window where you can assign colors, rename the categories. And assign shortcut key codes: Ctrl F2, F3, etc.
- Create all the categories you want and assign names, colors and shortcuts.
- Take a screenshot as a handy memorizer of the shortcuts.
- Press OK, exit Properties and close the new item (you don’t have to save it).
- Go into your calendar, click on an item to select it and press Ctrl (Function key). It will apply the color of the assigned category. It will even apply it to all events in a recurring appointment.