How to Customize Priorities in Outlook Tasks

Create a custom priority field for tasks in Outlook.
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When you create a new task in Microsoft Outlook, you can assign a priority of High, Medium or Low to the task. The Priority field is included by default in Outlook’s New Task form. However, if you need a customized priority field that allows users to assign priority levels other than those available by default, you can create a custom field for this purpose. For example, if your project requires five priority levels instead of three, implement a a customized priority field for sorting and organizing your project tasks.

Open your Outlook task list then right-click on one of the column header bars to display a context menu. Click “Field Chooser” to display the Field Chooser tool. You may have to select a view other than "To-Do List" to see the column headers.

Click the “New” button in the Field Chooser tool to open the New Column dialog box.

Type a name for the new custom field in the Name field. Name the new field something other than “Priority.”

Click the “Type” drop-down box, then select the field type. Choose "Text" if the custom priority is a descriptive label.

Click the “Format” drop-down box, then click the format type. The format depends on the type of column you previously selected.

Click “OK” to create the custom field.

  • Note that the Field Chooser tool includes a Custom Priorities field in the list of available fields. This field is for Sharepoint integration. Do not use this option when you're creating a custom priority field in Outlook.
  • Information provided in these steps applies to Microsoft Outlook 2013. Instructions may vary slightly or significantly for other versions of Outlook.
  • To easily sort and group your customized priority field values, use the Number field type, then assign priority levels of 1 through 5. Sort the custom priority field by ascending values to view high priority items at the top of the list.

Based in the live music capital of the world, Tammy Columbo continues to work in the information technology industry as she has done for more than 10 years. While living in Austin, Columbo has contributed to high profile projects for the State of Texas, Fortune 500 technology companies and various non-profit organizations. Columbo began writing professionally in 2009.