We recently upgraded our TBYL! for Outlook users to QuickFile for Outlook. The response has been overwhelmingly positive but a few users asked… Where are the Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons?
These buttons are used to create Tasks and Appointments from Emails (to use TBYL terminology, move emails from your collection system to Action System)
The Quick-Task and Quick-Calendar buttons are part of QuickFile Pro for Outlook as shown below (we are only showing icons and not words to save space on the Ribbon).
By default clicking on either button will create the Task or Calendar as appropriate and attach the email to the body. You can change this default behaviour if you want from the QuickFile Settings screen.
If you have any other questions regarding QuickFile, please let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.
Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.
Why is this important? Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.
Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.
With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:
- Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.
Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:
Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
- Select the appointment/task
- Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:
Select an existing project from the Project list.
- Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
- Click OK.
Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button
Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.
On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre
- From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
- You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:
Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.
Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.
Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)
I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.
If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.
We asked our 30,000+ readers if they were using their Inboxes as To-Do lists, any problems that they had and any tips they could share with other readers.
Here’s a quick summary of what most of you have told us…
| I NEED a way to use my Inbox as my Primary To-Do list.
I have tried using Tasks and Calendars but I keep forgetting to go and see what I need to do. I end up with too many reminders so I ignore them. But…
I go to my Inbox every day (probably too many times each day)…
WHY CAN’T I USE MY INBOX TO TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO DO… AND WHEN?
I should be able to use this to do what I need to do… and at the right time. But..
There are TOO MANY EMAILS in there! I can’t find what I need to do amongst them!
If I postpone something, it slips down the list and never gets done… or done late.
And what about follow-ups on emails I have sent… My Inbox can’t tell me about those. I have to remember to check my Sent Items… which is so easy to forget.
Is there a better way?
Some users have come up with clever tips to deal with these problems such as:
- BCCing themselves on emails that need follow-up (so that the emails come back to your Inbox)
- Flagging or marking emails as Unread (so that they look different from other emails in the Inbox)
- Having a system of folders for different priorities (requires discipline which I personally don’t have)
- … there were many more.
These tips work but unfortunately don’t fully solve the problem.
I had planned to release a report on this end of last week but it took longer to read through your responses than in my original plan. There have been so many great responses and ideas shared by readers. Thank You!
So… the report will now be out later this week… keep an eye on your Inbox.
Till then… have a great Outlook.
Your email inbox is where you spend most of your time and it is one busy place to be especially if you are receiving hundreds of emails per day.
Not all emails you receive need immediate actions or responses so you might want to defer it for a later time.
If you just leave the email in your inbox, you are likely to forget because it might just get buried under all the emails that you continue receiving throughout the day.
So how can you ensure that you are reminded to work on an email later when you are ready?
Here are a few ways to automatically get reminded to work on an email that you have received but do not need/want to work on till some date/time in the future.
Option 1: Flag the email with a reminder
This is an OK option if you don’t mind keeping the email in your Inbox (If you want to move the email out of your Inbox, option 2 might be more suited for you).
- Right click on the email, click Follow-up and then click Add Reminder.
- Enter the relevant information in the screen and click OK.
The problems with this method are:
- The email actually stays in your Inbox which can be a distraction and affect your productivity.
- You can’t add any notes to the original email (unless you are using Email Notes for Outlook)
Option 2: Convert the Email to your Calendar or Task List (drag-and-drop)
Many Outlook users do not realize this but you can convert an email to a Task or Calendar by dragging it to the Task or Calendar folder.
A new Task or Calendar Item will be created and opened with the email content in it. You can set the appropriate date to be reminded.
I prefer to drag-and-drop using the right (instead of left) mouse button. This gives 3 options when I drop the email:
- Copy here as Task with Text
- Copy here as Task with Attachment
- Move here as Task with Attachment
I choose either Copy or Move with Attachment options. This way the new Task has the email attached to it. I can simply double-click the attached email to respond.
I hope you find this tip useful in getting more organized.
Do you know of other ways to better manage your emails in Outlook?
Share it with us by leaving a comment below.
We have just posted an update to Smart Schedules for Outlook. The updates in Version 1.0.773 have been based on user requests.
This update is free for all existing registered users of version 1.0 or later.
Fixes and Features in this update include:
- New Feature: Ability to add Project Name before or after the subject of the Appointment/Task.
SmartSchedules can now display the Project Name in different ways next to the appointment or Task depending on what works for you. For example:
(Project Name) Appointment Subject
Appointment Subject (Project Name)
- Bug fix: Error messages when browsing for date in Non-English language.
- Other ribbon changes for Outlook 2010 and above.
Click here to view the full list of updates in Smart Schedules for Outlook
New to Smart Schedules: Smart Schedules is an Outlook addin that simplifies project management inside Outlook allowing you to automatically schedule and reschedule Appointments/tasks for the full project.
The Outlook To-Do bar is a great addition to Outlook 2010 (and 2007), it shows you the appointment(s) for the day, your task list and easily lets you navigate to future dates to see your upcoming event.
What makes it better is that you can easily customize it i.e. turn on or off the information to Display on the To-D0 Bar. Here is how…
Note: the instructions below are only for Outlook 2010 unless specifically mentioned.
- In any Outlook folder, click on the View tab > in the Layout group click To-Do Bar
- The information that is currently being displayed in the To-Do bar will be TICKED, to hide any item, simply click on it again and it will get untick.
Now only the items which are ticked will be displayed in the To-Do bar.
Apart from customizing what gets displayed or not displayed on the To-Do bar, you can also customize the individual items such as increasing or decreasing the number of appointments or task which can be displayed on the To-Do bar.
But note that when you increase the information to display for one item, it decreases the number of items for the other. Here you need to prioritize what information you need to be aware of more often, your appointments or tasks:
- Simply move your cursor on the To-Do bar between the Appointments and Tasks list
- When your cursor changes to an arrow like image, drag the bar up or down to increase/decrease the number of items to display.
I hope you find this tip useful in organizing your workday.
Do you have suggestions for any other customization in Outlook?
Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.
It can be difficult to keep track of tasks and projects when different people work on different tasks… but it is possible using Outlook (you don’t need any complex Project Management software).
In this post, I will show you how you can use Outlook’s own built in features to assign/delegate tasks to others in the team as well as keep track of their progress right INSIDE Outlook.
Read on to learn how to assign/delegate Tasks to others and keep track of their Task’s progress:
- In Outlook 2010, click the Home tab > New Items > Tasks
In Outlook 2007/2003, click File > New > Task
- Click Assign Task on the ribbon/menu
- In the To: field, enter the email address of the person the task will be assigned to. Complete the task form filling in the other required details
- Ensure that the 2 options “Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list” and “Send me a status report when this task is complete” are both ticked.
- In the body of the Task, you can add information about the Project, the Task, instructions for the person who this is assigned to etc.
- Click Send
This will now create a new Task in your Task folder and send an Invite to the Assignee to accept. Once the Task is accepted, it creates an entry in their Tasks.
You will now be able to keep track of the task assigned to others as it progresses right inside your Outlook from your desktop at any time you want.
If project management is a big part of your work, then you may also want to look at Smart Schedules for Outlook.
Do you have your own simple, easy methods of managing projects using Outlook?
Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.
[A hidden but very useful feature of Outlook appointments is that you can link contacts to them. Here’s why and how.]
Why you may want to show contacts on Outlook Appointments?
Having your contacts linked to the Outlook Calendar appointment lets you see all the people associated with the appointment. In case you need to reschedule the appointment, you can simply get more information about the contact (like phone number) directly from the appointment screen and make a call to inform them of the reschedule.
Apart from being able to get information about the contact straight from the Appointments screen, the appointment will also appear in the Activities tab of contact record and also in the People pane when you receive an email from the contact.
How to display Outlook Contacts on Appointments?
The first thing you need to do is to make the Contacts field visible on your Appointment form. In the versions prior to Outlook 2007, the Contacts field was always available on the Appointment form, but this feature was disabled by default in the later versions.
To enable Contacts button on the Appointment form in Outlook 2010 and 2007:
- In Outlook 2010, click on File > Options > click Contacts from the left pane
- Tick the option “Show contacts linked to the current item“
- Click OK
- In Outlook 2007, click Tools > Options…
- Under the Preferences tab, click the Contacts Option… button
- Tick the option “Show contact linking on all Forms“
- Click OK and then OK again
To start attaching contacts to an appointment:
- Go to your Calendar folder and create a new Appointment, you will find the Contacts button as shown below:
- Say for example you want to create a meeting with Sanjay Singh of Standss (South Pacific) Limited. Simply click on the Contacts button, select Sanjay Singh from your contacts list and click OK.
- Click Save and Close to create the appointment.
You can also link contacts to other Outlook items such as Tasks, Journal, Notes etc following similar steps.
Let us know if you find this tip useful by leaving a comment below.
Setting up reminders on Task is simple and quite handy because with so much to do, we are likely to miss or forget about other important tasks that might be due.
BUT the overwhelming part is when you are in the middle of something very important and the Reminder Pop-up comes with several tasks. There is two things you might do at this point:
- Click on the red X button to close the Pop-up screen or
- Select each individual task and set a snooze time for it to reappear later
The second option is time-consuming and frustrating when you’re in a middle of something important and have no time to waste.
Get frustrated no more, here is a simple tip that will let you “Select All” Tasks and snooze them all at once:
When the Reminder Pop-up appears:
- Select the First item in the list
- Press Shift on your keyword
- Select the Last item. This should now select all the items in the list as shown below:
- Set the Snooze time from the drop-down
- Click Snooze
This should now snooze all the items in the list to the time specified by you so you can continue with your important task on hand.
For more Reminder Tips, you can refer to an interesting article by Deborah Savadra on Managing Microsoft Outlook Reminders.
Did you find this tip useful? let us know by leaving a comment below.
Thanks to your advice we are excited to announce the latest upgrade to Smart Schedules now provides a full solution to project management and scheduling inside Outlook.
We know that you know best… which is why the best features in our software are always designed by users.
Feedback from users showed us that Smart Schedules was missing one very important component. You told us that 3 things were important for the tasks and appointments that make up your projects… What, When and WHO!
Smart Schedules already made the What and When easy… but the Who was missing… until now.
We heard from users who were scheduling repetitive processes that could be further enhanced by inviting others from your contacts to attend key appointments and meetings.
We realized that you are not the only one at a meeting!
Just as you add participants to appointments using Meeting Request, you can invite people from your Outlook Contacts or manually to appointments in Smart Schedules.
Now, each of your individual appointments has a place to assign additional participants from your contacts, putting you squarely in the driver’s seat of the project – just like a project manager.
Smart Schedules essentially is an Outlook based project management software without the complexity and learning curve of all those others. Plus, there is no monthly subscription fee. You pay once and it’s yours to use forever!
Take a look at this screen shot below. Here is the appointment I’m adding my associate to.
See! You don’t need to change to another program or go through a complex, multi-step integration to use the functionalities that Outlook already provides.
Smart Schedules downloads and integrates right into your existing Outlook, keeps your data safe on your computer and doesn’t disrupt anything you are already doing.
When you need to create a new project or start one that you perform regularly (perhaps when you get a new client) you simply click on the Project Centre toolbar. Once you set the start or end trigger date, everything falls into place including assigning the same appointments to the same team members every time. If you want to change who attends a meeting for a single project, you can make edits to your template just for that client. And, if you want to change this person permanently for all future projects like this one, you can edit your Master Template.
Use Smart Schedules for your project management and scheduling needs seamlessly within Outlook. Start your Free 30 Day Trial Today and you will receive FREE Training Emails that will teach you how to use all the useful features Smart Schedules has to offer!
(This is a free update for registered users of Smart Schedules. We will send you a separate email with download instructions.)