Let’s get the basic thing out of the way first before moving on to the actual categories of Mac Outlook 365.
With every email client, there are two kinds of data/property – Local (client-based) and Server based. Local data refers to the data that’s stored only in client (Outlook in this case), and if you try to access your account from some other place or program (like a web-based client), you do not have access to that data. Server-based data is the data that’s stored in mail servers, and thus, it can be accessed from anywhere.
Now, let’s get back to the main topic of this post – categories in Mac Outlook 365.
Categories in Mac Outlook 365
You can assign categories to your emails, such as – Travel, Work, Family, Friends, etc. Now, the thing with these categories (or labels) is that not all of them are server-side properties. Some of them are local and are associated with your emails only in Mac Outlook. So, if you’d access your email account in, let’s say, web-based client, you will not see many of those categories.
In Outlook 2011, only the categories’ names were synced to the server, not the color codes. However, Microsoft introduced a Master Category List in Outlook 365 for Mac edition, where even color-coding properties of your categories will get synced to the actual servers. It can also be called to have the roaming ability, since you can use your emails from any client, and yet get all these properties.
So, How This Affects When You Import Data From Files like OLM or PST?
So, what happens to categories when you import data to Mac Outlook using data files like PST and OLM? (NOTE* – Only Outlook 2016 and 365 editions support PST format for importing Windows Outlook data).
When you import these files, the data is stored locally on your Mac. That means, everything is assigned the client-side properties, including the categories. You can then manually move the data to an Exchange account to sync up with your mail servers. That will push everything to servers, including the categories’ names.
However, the important point to take home is – even if you synch your local data to an Exchange account, the colors of the categories remain local. On servers, all categories will appear white. This is because the colors don’t turn into Master Categories List (MCL); they remain ‘Item Only,’ meaning ‘Local.’
Can You Turn These Local Items into Server-based Info or into Master Category List?
Yes, you can. It’s actually simple to sync even the colors to mail servers and make them “roaming able.”
Here’s how to do it:
- – Click your Exchange Folder –> Categories –> Edit Categories
- – The list you see now is your Master Category List
- – Click ‘+’ to add a new category (remember, these new categories are server-side, MCL)
- – Type the category name exactly same as from your imported data that you wish to turn into MCL to sync the categories’ colors.
- – Then choose the color you want to assign to that category.
- – Do this for each category associated with the imported data.
Now, if you will check back your exchange account, you will see that all emails have the colors associated with the categories. This will remain in your mail servers and can be accessed from any client.