Lean GTD 2007 for Outlook 2010

Reader bgbuffalo was so kind to point out that my macro package for simplifying GTD with Outlook 2007, Lean GTD 2007, didn’t work with Outlook 2010. It’d be a bonus if it did, of course! So, although I don’t yet have Outlook 2010, we worked together to get a version that could execute in Outlook 2010. Thanks!

As a result, I’ve commented two lines in the code that should be removed in order to get it to work. The backside is that you won’t get email attachments to tasks and appointments, only the text itself in the notes. But those disappear in sync anyway, so that’s not such a big issue. So if you want to use the macros with Outlook 2010, remove those two lines. (Search for “Outlook 2010″ in the code.)

Please drop me a note if you know how to properly attach emails to tasks and appointments in Outlook 2010 VBA; then I’d be able to fix this properly.


Gmail in Offline Mode

You can’t ignore that now, you can use Gmail in offline mode, with the help of Google Gears. I’m still using Outlook for offline email, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Google offering develops. With the recent introduction of tasks to Gmail, they’re close to being a complete productivity solution. If only those tasks could be synced to my phone, I believe I’d stop using Outlook.

Getting Things Done with Outlook 2007

Now, the macro package has its own web page, so the information here won’t be updated from now on (2009-08-30).

The other week, I installed Outlook 2007. I knew that my GTD Outlook Add-in wouldn’t work perfectly after the installation (see this link), but somehow, I hoped that perhaps for me, it would work well enough. To make a long story short: no, it didn’t. And I didn’t want to go back to Outlook 2003.

Fortunately other people had this problem before me. Several of them had written macros of their own to do what they missed from the GTD Add-in, for example Simon Guest and Omar Shahine. Their solutions didn’t completely fulfill my requirements, though, and I wasn’t that interested in support for filing my mails automatically. Rather, much of the time I find myself creating several next actions out of one and the same email, so it’s just annoying if I have to go to where the mail was filed to do that.

Inspired by their VBA code, I created a macro package of my own (see below). If you run the function “SetupLeanGTD”, you’ll get three buttons on the toolbar. One for “Next Action”, which creates a task, and immediately prompts you for a category (where you have to add all your different kinds of actions), unless you’re positioned on another task. Then you’ll inherit the category from it. The “@Waiting For” category is treated specially; there you’ll get a prefix with name and date for free.

One button is “Act on Mail”. That one creates a task, attaches the mail to it, and prompts you for a category. It cleans up the title (removes “Re:”), too. And for “@Waiting For” tasks, it adds the recipient and the date to the task name, like for the task.

The last button is “Schedule Mail”. It creates an appointment, and attaches the mail to it.

None of the buttons do anything about the mail; you have to file it yourself, wherever you like. For me, that’s an advantage, since often I’d like to create perhaps two actions from a mail.

Don’t forget to add a rule so that all your sent mail gets into your inbox, too, so that you can easily make actions from these, too.

So, finally, here comes the code. Comments and improvements are welcome!

Download LeanGTD2007.bas

Updated 2006-12-07: Added better error handling.

Updated 2008-08-19: Added support for tasks with multiple categories.

Updated 2009-06-13: “Companies” is copied from the selected task, just like with categories.

Updated 2009-08-15: Tasks are created in the same folder that the selected task is in. Some code cleanup.

Updated 2009-08-20: There’s a problem if you select the “todo list” folder instead of the “Tasks” folder, when you create a task with another task selected (because you can’t create a task there). I’ll upload a fix today.

Updated 2009-08-20: Problem fixed! User manual added to the source code file.

Updated 2009-08-21: You never get your own name as the one to wait for in a @Waiting For task. Unless you put it there yourself, of course.

Updated 2009-08-28: Now the macros work for any item, not just mails. And the buttons are put on a command bar on their own. When scheduling a mail/an item, you get a prompt if you want this to be an all day event, and if you say yes, there’ll be no reminder for it.

Updated 2009-08-30: Future updates to the code will be noted on the new home page for the package.