Every week I get about 5-7 calendar requests that aren’t actual meetings: instead, they are notifications of when people are taking PTO, attending conferences, working off-site, working from home, or going to doctor’s appointments.  It makes for a messy calendar that’s just a nightmare for me to read.  Luckily, Outlook 2010 makes it easy to change the view settings so that you can color-code your appointments.  

Here’s how you can color-code all your “Free” calendar events:

Go to your Calendar, click on View, then View Settings.


Click Add.  Rename the rule “Free”.  Set the color to something of your choice.  I prefer one of the grays.


Click on Condition…  Then Advanced.

Click Field, Frequently-Used, then “Show Time As”.  Set it to “Equals” and “Free.”

Click “Add to List”.  It should look like this:


Hit OK a bunch of times.


Color code your Outlook calendar


Here’s some other color-coding ideas:

  • The “Big-Wigs” rule: Set up a rule where the attendees include one of your higher-ups.  In my screenshot, I set those meetings as dark pink.
  • Where the meeting room is off-campus or on a different floor
  • Set recurring meetings in a different color.
  • Color-code meetings with people outside your department
  • Particular words in the meeting subject line
  • Where I’m an optional attendee