If you like to take a minute or two to customize the applications you use every day, you know that Microsoft Office applications on Mac don’t offer many options. But when Microsoft introduced the new Outlook for Mac, it made some improvements in this area.

From a color theme and a mailbox inbox view to a three-day view and a feature called My Day on Calendar, you can make Outlook more suited to your style. And if you’ve chosen to stick with classic Outlook, we’ll show you what you can do to make it more yours.

Outlook general appearance

You have the option of choosing a light or dark look and choosing a nice color in the new Outlook for Mac.

  1. Open Outlook and click Outlook> Preferences in the menu bar.
  2. Please select general.
  3. At the top, choose your Appearance. You can make Outlook match your Mac’s dark mode settings (Night Shift) by choosing System.
  4. Then select a Theme among the six color options.
  5. Optionally, enable the Transparency for a more subtle look.

You can close the Preferences when you’re done, and your changes will be saved and applied automatically.

Mailbox appearance

Along with a theme and a light or dark mode, you can change the appearance of your mailbox view. It’s a great improvement because it allows you to condense your view or use the in-focus inbox.

  1. Open Outlook and click Outlook> Preferences in the menu bar.
  2. Please select Reading.
  3. At the top, choose the Screen density. You can choose Comfortable, Medium or Compact.
  4. Then select the display options for Message List that you prefer. You can show a preview, the sender’s image and group the headers.
  5. If you want one Focused Inbox, please check the appropriate box below. Then your messages will be classified into Focused and Other.
  6. Finally, check the options you want to use for the Conversations. You can group emails into conversations and have them automatically expand when selected.
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The rest of the options in the read settings are the same as those in classic Outlook on Mac. So you can adjust the swipe actions, change the mark as read options, and make an image download choice.

Calendar appearance

With the new Outlook for Mac came calendar improvements as well. One of them includes a three-day calendar view. This is great if you have a tight schedule and want to see a few days.

Click the button Watch at the top of the calendar or in the menu Watch. Then select Three days.

Another improvement to the Outlook calendar that you will like if you have a very busy schedule is called My day. This function opens the agenda or day view on the right side of the calendar. Thus, you may be viewing your week on the calendar but you can see the current day at a glance in My Day.

Click the button Show task pane at the top right or click View> Task Pane in the menu to open My Day.

To customize what you see in My Day, go to Outlook> Preferences and select My day. You can then choose agenda view or day view, view past events, and select the calendar.

Bonus: Customize your toolbar

Another customizable feature that comes with the new Outlook for Mac is the toolbar modification. This is a wonderful improvement over the static tape of the classic version.

Take a look at our guide to customize Outlook toolbar on Mac.

Customize Classic Outlook on Mac

As we have already said, the classic version of Outlook on Mac does not offer many customization options. But here are some things you can do to adapt it a bit more.

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Turn off dark mode: If you prefer to use Outlook as is and not match your Mac’s dark mode settings, you can disable dark mode. Opens Outlook> Preferences. Please select general and check the box Turn off dark mode.

Notifications and sounds: You can choose to receive an alert on the desktop, bounce the Outlook icon to the Dock, display a badge count, and customize sound settings. Open Outlook> Preferences. Choose Notifications and sounds and make your adjustments.

Show time on calendar: Whether you’re planning your day or the upcoming weekend, the weather can play a role in those plans. To show the time in your Outlook calendar, open Outlook> Preferences. Please select Calendar and check the box at the bottom to Show current time on calendar.

It’s your Outlook, customize it

Whatever you decide, the new Outlook for Mac lets you create a more suitable mailbox and calendar view for you. And if you prefer the classic version of Outlook, you have a few ways to customize it.

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