Office 2007 has many improvements over previous versions but most of my colleagues use Office 2003. As I’ve had to install a virtual machine (VM) on my 64-bit desktop in order to run essential 32-bit applications (like our VPN client), I decided to stay as close to the corporate standard as possible and installed Office 2003 in the VM. One unfortunate side effect (apart from the many features that I am missing in Outlook) was the loss of the categories upon which much of my e-mail searching and filtering is based.
Earlier versions of Outlook featured something called the master category list, which could be transferred between PCs using a registry key export and import. Unfortunately, Outlook 2007 dispenses with this approach and instead stores the categories in the master store (mailbox or personal folder).
It seems that I can still search and filter on the categories that my mail was assigned to (they are just not in the master category list) but this also restricted me when adding new mail to categories.
In the end, I decided that reverting to Outlook 2003 was just too painful and I started using Outlook 2007 again to access my corporate e-mail.
The following links may be useful to anyone else who is trying to get to grips with categories in Outlook:
- Where does Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 save my information and configurations? (there is some additional information on Sue Mosher’s Outlook 2007 Tips and Techniques blog).
- Move an Outlook data file from one computer to another.
- How categories and calendar labels from earlier versions are updated for Office Outlook 2007.
- How to migrate custom categories to other users in Outlook 2002 and in Outlook 2003 (Microsoft knowledge base article 297405) – including links to previous articles for Outlook 97, 98 and 2000.
- Restore the default colour categories.
- Microsoft Outlook categories.