Outlook 2007, public folders and categories

I had an e-mail conversation with a client this week who uses Exchange public folders to share contacts. He initially was planning on creating sub-folders to group the contacts(suppliers, customers, etc)

I suggested he used categories as it would mean it was still one place to go for their contacts but they could use a view to group them as needed

I know this is SharePoint territory…but until they made the move to Office 2007 the inability to edit directly in Outlook wasn’t desirable for them. They now have Outlook 2007 and plans are underway to get them onto WSS 3.0…I digress

So he went away and created lots of categories and emailed me back to say no-one else could see his newly created categories.

This is normal behaviour, Outlook 2007 now stores categories directly in the mailbox as opposed to the registry in older versions of office

So back to the public folder as this doesn’t help solve the problem!

However, he can still categorise the contacts as the item category is totally separate from the users list of categories

e.g If I categorise a contact as “SUPPLIER” and someone else in the office then opens the contact it will still be marked as supplier even if he doesn’t have that category setup on his system.


But what if we need to standardise on a set of categories? Without having to re-type all the custom categories this is the solution I came up with

Create a dummy contact (call it anything you like) in the public folder

Categorise it with all the categories you need to copy

The on the PC you want to copy the categories to do the following

Open the item, click CATEGORIZE, then ALL CATEGORIES and you’ll get a screen similar to the followingblog 1


It shows the categories not on your list as “(not in Master Category list)”




Highlight one of them and click the NEW button to get this screen


The name has been pre-populated.

Just click OK to get the category saved


The only thing this won’t do is bring the colours across but in terms of grouping/viewing the colours are partly irrelevant

Repeat with other categories until your done. Not the most elegant solution but much quicker than typing them all out

If anyone knows of an easier way I’d love to hear from you!

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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2 thoughts on “Outlook 2007, public folders and categories

  • Hi Andy, on my site there’s an Addin for Outlook, called Category Manager. With that you can share your categories even in mixed environments, and for Outlook 2007 users colors are shared as well.

  • Hi Andy,
    Try Categoriez on the Software Solutions website, it has awesome functionality and has really made using my categories easier.

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