How to import and export Outlook categories
If you migrate to a new computer, you may want to take some data with you. If you are using Office and Outlook, you may have noticed that categories do not get migrated when you export Outlook data.
Instead of creating those categories again on the new system, you can use the following tutorial to save the category information on the old PC to import them on the new PC so that they become available once again.
Outlook categories are saved in the registry in the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Office. The Outlook version that you are using determines the rest of the path.
Please note that you cannot use the method if you are using newer versions of Office or Outlook. Skip the following part to the update below to find out how you can do so in newer Outlook versions.
Here is a quick summary of possibilities:
- 8.0 \ Outlook \ Categories \ means Outlook 98
- 9.0 \ Outlook \ Categories \ means Outlook 2000
- 10.0 \ Outlook \ Categories \ means Outlook XP
- 11.0 \ Outlook \ Categories \ means Office 2003
All you need to do is export the categories key and import it in the new computer. To export the key right-click categories and select export from the menu. Select a file name and click on save to end the export.
Load the created file on the new computer and double-click it to import the settings. This is of course only valid if you import the categories into the same version of Outlook. If you are using a different version of Outlook you need to edit the registry key before you import the categories.
Update: As readers have pointed out, this method only works up to and including Office 2003, but not in newer versions as Microsoft has stopped saving category information to the Registry at this point. One workaround for Office 2007 and later is to create a new note and add the categories that you want to backup and restore to it.
Export categories in Outlook 2007 or newer
- Create a new note with Ctrl-Shift-n
- Add text to it and close it afterwards.
- Use CTrl-5 to get to your notes folder
- Right-click and select Categorize > All Categories
- Select all categories that you want to export
- Use File > Save As to save the note to the computer
Import categories into Outlook 2007 or newer
- Use Ctrl-5 to open the notes folder
- Drag and drop the exported notes file into it
- Switch to the mail interface with Ctrl-1
- Right-click and select Properties
- Select Upgrade to color categories