Categories and Distribution Lists

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Senior Member
What Hotmail/Live calls "Categories", Outlook knows as Distribution lists. (Outlook's Categories and Color Categories are not synced to Hotmail.)

The connector will sync the "category" into Outlook as a distribution list name but it does not sync the members, leaving you with an empty distribution list. Importing DLs has always been buggy and members rarely made it through the import so this comes as no surprise. You'll need to add the members back to it, if you want to use it in Outlook.

Distribution lists created in Outlook will correctly sync to the Live account, adding the DL members to your online contacts if the contact does not exist, and creating the "Category" containing those addresses.

Solution: Create distribution lists in Outlook and let the connector sync them to the server.


Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2013 32 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server 2010
Things have not changed AFAIK, although I haven't checked out the updated Outlook Hotmail Connector.

The pictures are from Outlook - where you can apply color categories. But when you view the accounts online, color categories are not displayed or used. If you use the connector on two computers, color categories will usually sync between machines (but seem to get lost frequently).

When assigning Categories online with your Hotmail Contacts, these are Groups or DLs in Outlook, not what we know as Outlook's categories (or color categories).

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