Got my attention? Outlook has now…

Recipient Icons in Lotus Notes


I use three different mail clients, Lotus Notes & Outlook in the office and gMail at home…  However it is finally becoming only two as we move away from Lotus Notes in the office… There are a small handful of features I will miss from Notes, one of which is the recipient icon indicators.


gMail Priority Indicators


gMail has a similar feature known as Priority Indicators. Now outlook is the priority inbox in the office, I miss this additional level of categorisation for my mail.. After a while of playing around with view customisation, I found that you can create column content based on Formula’s. The following guide shows how to create a column with basic Attention Indicators…


Click View\View Settings from the ribbon

Click Columns…

Click New Column…

Setup the new column details, Name is the text displayed in the column title. Select Formula from the Type drop down. Click Edit…

The formula dialogue appears. To use this formula yourself, replace SURNAME in uppercase in the two locations with YOUR last Name and copy/paste it all into the Formula Field.

IIf(Instr(1,[To],’;’)=0 And InStr(1,UCase([To]),’SURNAME’)>0 And [CC]=”,’>>’,IIf(Instr(1,[To],’;’)=0 And InStr(1,UCase([To]),’SURNAME’)>0 And [CC]<>”,’>’,”))

Click OK Twice which takes you back to the Show Columns Dialogue. Move New >> Column to the preferred location. I like to have it next to the subject line.. Click OK

There you have it.. A new column indicating how involved you are in the message thread. If a message matches the required criteria you will see either >> or > and any message without these values has multiple recipients.

update: 9th December 2016 – following the comments received, I have amended the double quotes to single quotes, which work just as well. Thanks to those commenting and advising on the issue.


8 thoughts on “Got my attention? Outlook has now…

  1. I really hope someone reads this…but when I try to enter this rule after replacing both surnames with my last name I click ok I get an error that says “unknown field” and when I try to select a field like “Cc” for example, It will highlight the first quotation mark in the formula and say “unknown field”

    • Hey John, thanks for your comment.. When I created this post I was using MS Outlook 2010 and I have not been able to find any reference to the error you mention. The only thing I can suggest you might try is correct the case of the [CC] to [Cc] ?

  2. IIf(InStr(1,UCase([To]),’SURNAME’)>0,IIf(InStr(1,[To],’;’)=0 And [CC]=”,’!!!!!’,’!!!’),IIf(InStr(1,UCase([CC]),’SURNAME’)>0,’©’,”))

  3. Ok, it’s been a while, but anyone having the “unknown field” problem:
    when copy+pasting the formula, change the quotations to standard double or single quotes in the edit box.
    BTW: nice solution. Now, if you could only use symbols instead of >> in Outlook …

    • Thanks jumpgood.. I will see what I can do to modify the formula in the post… failing that will save off a txt file in my OneDrive..
      I have messed about using CHR() character codes in the formula to try and put a character in with no success.. it would be better than >> !

  4. I’m still not having any success with this workaround; I’ve tried changing the quotes and tried upper and lowercase CC, can’t get it to work 😦

  5. I tried the solution on my own and I got an undefined string error. I kinda reworked it and came up with this a solution. This formula works for my needs and is working on my computer as of 2017


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