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How to File or Categorize with One Click in Outlook.com

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When you're done with an email, do you file it in the "Done" folder? When an email needs work, do you categorize it with "needs work"?

In Outlook.com and Windows Live Hotmail, you can set up instant actions that let you file and categorize with a single click.

File or Categorize with One Click in Outlook.com or Windows Live Hotmail

To move a message with one click or apply a category:

  • Move the mouse over the message you want to move or categorize.
  • Click the desired instant action button to move or categorize the message.
    • If you click a button for categorizing again, the category will be removed from the message.

To set up an instant action that moves a message to a certain folder or assigns a category:

  • In Outlook.com
    • Click the settings gear.
    • Select More mail settings from the menu.
  • In Windows Live Hotmail:
    • Select Options | More options….
  • Follow the Instant actions link under Customizing Outlook (for Outlook.com) or Customizing Hotmail (for Windows Live Hotmail).
  • Make sure Show instant actions is enabled.
  • Click Add actions.
  • To add an instant action button for moving a message to a specified folder:
    • Select Move to from the menu that has appeared.
    • Pick the destination folder under Moves a message to a folder you choose..
    • Now pick a color for the instant action button under Choose an icon for this instant action.
    • Optionally, check Also mark as read to have Outlook.com or Windows Live Hotmail mark any moved messages read.
  • To add an instant action button for applying a specified category to a message:
    • Select Categorize from the menu.
    • Choose the desired category under Adds a message to a category you choose..
    • Pick a color for the instant action button under Choose an icon for this instant action.
  • Click Save.

For categorizations that follow simple patterns (say, in the "Subject" line or the sender's name), you can also set up filters that categorize automatically in Outlook.com.

(Updated November 2012)

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