Organize your calendar with the Outlook 2003 Calendar Views Add-in

By Jim Boyce

Your calendar in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 provides a couple of features that can help you better organize appointments and events and filter the Calendar view to focus on specific items.

One of these features is the capability to assign categories to calendar items, giving you another way to organize views. For example, you can create a custom view that displays only those items with one or more specified categories. Categories available include Personal, Business, and Miscellaneous.

Another feature is the capability to assign a label to an item. Outlook defines 10 labels by default, each with its own color. When you assign a label to an item, Outlook colors the item's background with that color in your calendar. The result? You can easily identify specific types of items at a glance.

The Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Calendar Views Add-in brings together these two features to make it easier to filter the Calendar view based on categories and labels. Before you learn how to use this add-in, however, take a minute to brush up on how to assign categories and labels to Outlook items.

Assign categories and labels to appointments and events

It's easy to assign categories and labels to calendar items. To assign categories to a calendar item:

  1. Create a new calendar item, and on the Appointment tab, click Categories.
  2. In the Categories dialog box, select one or more categories.

Categories dialog box

  1. If the category you want isn't listed, in the Item(s) belong to these categories box, type a name for the category and then click Add to List.
  2. Click OK when you've selected all the categories for the item.
  3. Click Save and Close to save the item.

You can also assign categories to existing items. Just right-click the item in Calendar and then click Categories on the context menu. Select the categories that you want, and then click OK.

It's just as easy to assign labels to new items:

  1. Create a new calendar item, and on the Appointment tab, click a label in the Label list.
  2. Click Save and Close to save the item.

As you can do with categories, you can easily assign a label to an existing calendar item. Right-click the item, point to Label on the context menu, and then click the label that you want.

Customize categories and labels

Outlook includes a defined set of categories and labels. However, you're not locked into using only the categories provided — you can add your own categories and remove existing categories that you don't want.

You can customize the label text that's associated with each color. However, currently you can't change or add colors for the 10 default labels.

To customize categories:

  1. In Calendar, click any item to select it.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Categories.
  3. Click Master Category List.
  4. Type a new category, and then click Add.

Adding a new Category

  1. Repeat step 4 to add other new categories.
  2. To delete a category, click the category in the Master Category List and then click Delete. (Note that you can't change an existing category, but you can delete it and add a new one in its place. Deleting a category deletes it only from the Master Category List. Any existing items that are assigned to that deleted category will still keep their assignments to the category.)

To customize labels:

  1. In Calendar, on the Edit menu, point to Label, and then click Edit Labels to open the Edit Calendar Labels dialog box.

Edit Calendar Labels dialog box

  1. Select the text next to a color, and then type a new name for the label.
  2. Repeat step 2 for other labels, and then click OK.

Create a custom view

The Calendar Views Add-in brings together a set of Outlook features to make it easy to create custom views that filter items by their labels and categories.

When you open Calendar, Outlook displays the Calendar Views toolbar. Here's how to use the add-in to create a custom view:

  1. Click Add Filtered View to open the Calendar Views Add-in dialog box and begin creating a custom view.

Creating a custom view

  1. In the Name of new view box, type a name for the view.
  2. Select the check box for each label that you want shown in the view.
  3. Select the check box for each category that you want shown in the view.
  4. To create the view, click OK. When prompted, click OK to view the results.

The choices you make in the Calendar Views Add-in dialog box are not mutually exclusive. For example, if you choose the Important label and the Phone Calls category, items that meet either of those criteria appear in the view. Items do not need to be assigned both the Important label and the Phone Calls category in order to appear in the view (although any items that are assigned both will appear).

The Calendar Views Add-in also makes it easier to access the Custom View Organizer dialog box, in which you can modify, delete, and rename views.

To manage views, on the Calendar Views toolbar, click Manage Views to open the Custom View Organizer dialog box.

Managing your views in the Outlook Calendar Views add-in

Here, you can create new views and copy, modify, rename, and delete custom views. When you're finished managing the views, click Apply View to apply the selected view to Calendar. To save but not apply the view change, click Close.

Share data from a filtered view

Sometimes, you'll want to show information from a filtered view to others. Perhaps the easiest way to share the information is to print the data. When you print an Outlook filtered view, Outlook prints only those items that appear on the screen. So, items that have been filtered out of the view do not appear on the printed copy.

To print a filtered view, follow these steps:

  1. In Calendar, apply the filtered view.
  2. On the File menu, click Print.
  3. In the Print dialog box, select the options that you want, and then click OK.

About the author     Jim Boyce has written more than 50 books about computers and technology, many of them about the Microsoft Office System. He regularly contributes to several online sites and publications. His latest book is Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Inside Out, which is available from Microsoft Learning.

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003