Shortcuts for Task and Appointment Creation in Outlook

By standss Thursday, November 11th, 2010

If like me, you use Outlook Tasks and Appointments to manage your time, here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will save you a lot of time.

These tips came about as a result of my laziness(as most shortcuts do)… I don’t like having to switch to Outlook and then making the appropriate clicks to open the new Task or Appointment screen… there had to be a better way.

I wanted to either click a button on the Windows Quick Launch bar and/or use keyboard shortcuts that would work even when I wasn’t in Outlook.

(For those who are not familiar with the Quick Launch bar… it is the set of icons that you have just beside the Windows Start button. If it is not displayed, right-click on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, click Toolbars and tick Quick Launch.)

Shortcut to create a new Task/Appointment

1. Right-click on any empty space on your desktop and click New-Shortcut.
2. In the location box, click Browse and locate your Outlook.exe file. You will then need to add some switches to the end of it telling Windows that you want Outlook to open the new Task screen instead of just opening Outlook. The path to the Outlook.exe would vary depending on your version of Outlook. (If you installed in the default location then the paths will be as follows)

If you are using Outlook 2010:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task

If you are using Outlook 2007:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task /a

If you are using Outlook 2003:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task /a

3. Click Next and type in a name for the shortcut. By default OUTLOOK.EXE is displayed. I changed mine to New Task.
4. Click Finish.
5. Now right-click over the newly created icon and click Properties.
6. If you want to use keyboard shortcuts to open the application, click on the Shortcut Key field and press the combination of keys that you want to use (I use Ctrl-Shift-T)
7. Click Change Icon and select the Task icon so that the icon is a bit more meaningful.
8. Click OK (and OK again) to return to your desktop.
9. Now right-click and drag and drop the new shortcut to your Quick-Launch bar. On my Vista computer I found that I had to leave of a copy of the shortcut on the desktop if I wanted the keyboard shortcuts to work i.e. I had to Copy the shortcut and not Move it off the desktop.

Now whenever I need to create a new Task, I either click on the New Task button on my Quick-Launch bar or I press Ctrl-Shift-T.

You can use the same steps as above to create a new Appointment … but change the location field to read:

If you are using Outlook 2010:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment

If you are using Outlook 2007:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment /a

If you are using Outlook 2003:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment /a

But … I prefer the following shortcut for appointments

Shortcut to open the Calendar folder

I need to see my existing appointments before I create a new appointment… here’s a shortcut that opens Outlook with the Calendar displayed.

The steps to do this are identical to what is described above. The only difference is that the location field changes to: (Depending on the version of Outlook you are using the name “Office14” in the path below will change. If you are using Outlook 2007, it will be Office12. If you are using Outlook 2003, it will be Office11)

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:calendar

You can have similar shortcuts to open your Tasks and Contacts folders but I find them less useful.

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:tasks
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:contacts

I hope that you find these tips useful. They may not seem like much but you will find that the time it saves you quickly adds up.

Please leave a comment on the blog if you have other ideas to make these tips even more effective.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Calendar Tip, Outlook Performance

4 thoughts on “Shortcuts for Task and Appointment Creation in Outlook

  1. Hi Sanjay,

    This was one of the most important tips I learned from you and it worked well in XP with Office 11. Now I am using Windows 7 with Office 12 and I can’t seem to find /c ipm.task /a.

    I’ve created a short cut, but it just opens Outlook, not the task window. Nor was I able to change the icon (the button was grayed out).

    What do you suggest I do differently?

  2. Strange.. Im using Win 7 + Outlook 2010.
    I Could NOT get the appointment script to work.
    But when I then tried the task script, then I got it working…
    After that I copied it from desktop, went to properties, target field and pasted the appointment script:
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment

    Very strange, but it worked!…

  3. Hi there,

    Thank you! Both “appointment” and “task” work well as shortcuts. One quick question. Could you let us know what the text is after the switch to use meeting request instead of appointment? I have tried using “meeting” and “meetingrequest,” but each time it brings up a new message. I would like to use the Meeting Request over Appointment because the To field is already listed, unless there is a shortcut key to quickly show the To, Cc, and Bcc fields in the appointment tab–which I have not been able to find.

    Thank you!

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