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Customizing Outlook Task View

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  • Customizing Outlook Task View

    Is it possible to customize Outlook's calendar task pane to show different filters for different categories? For example: Show category1>due today, category2>due this week, category3>no due date, etc.

    I realize that dated to-do's are not strictly GTD, but the reality is that I often have tasks that may not need to be done ON a specific day, but need to be completed BY a specific date.

  • #2
    Instructions for Outlook 2000 (OL 98 and 2003 should be very similar):

    When you're in the Tasks window, go to View, Current View, Customize Current View. A window should open up. Choose Filter. Click on the Advanced tab. In the lower half of the window, under Define More Criteria, click the drop-down button marked Fields. Choose All Task Fields, and then Due Date. Under Condition, choose what you want (due today, due tomorrow, due on [a certain date], due does not exist (for those w/out due dates)).

    That should take care of it. You can play with creating a new view for each of these, and naming them. Then from the View, Current View menu, you can just choose the view you want and it will have filtered out the tasks you need.

    This can be matched with categories as well. So if you have categories for @Work, @Calls, etc., and due dates, you could conceivably create views for combinations like @Calls due today, @Calls due tomorrow, etc.


    • #3
      Customizing the taskpad

      The above should work for the task folder. To change the view of the taskpad in the calendar view, right click on the gray title bar over the taskpad and select Arrange By... or Customize Current View...


      • #4
        Task Pad has its own settings

        Originally posted by jpm
        The above should work for the task folder. To change the view of the task pad in the calendar view, right click on the gray title bar over the task pad and select Arrange By... or Customize Current View...
        Quite correct. The Task Pad in the Calendar sidebar is separate from the Task Folder view and has its own peculiarities. Number one is that you can undo a lot of customization in the Task Pad simply by accidentally clicking on one of the column headings. So, if you plan to customize the Task Pad, my advice is to get really comfortable wit the Customize View interface.


        • #5
          Thanks. Yes, I am referring to the TaskPad in the Calendar sidebar. I already have my view quite customized, but what I was trying to integrate in one view is viewing different time windows for different categories.

          I have my tasks grouped by categories and displaying only tasks that are due today or have no due date and are not complete. However, I have one category that I'd like to show tasks for the entire week. So far I have been unable to show the entire week's tasks without showing them for all categories.

          mochant, you are certainly correct about inadvertently undoing customization in the sidebar. Even knowing that, I've done it accidentally a time or two.


          • #6
            Complex queries using the Filter tool

            Ah! Your question is now more clear. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is an easy way to accomplish what you want since the filter capability of outook is more limited than it probably needs to be. You want a filter like the following:

            Due date = today OR

            (Due date = this week and Category = SomeOtherCategory)

            From what I've been able to gather, the filter capability does not allow such complex (compound) queries simply because it has only a simple (and not well documented) boolean capabilities.

            When you add a filter for a new variable it is always an AND, unless there is already a filter for that particular variable in which case it is an OR.

            The only way I can think to do what you want is to create complex custom field on the form something like this:

            ShowTask = DueDate + Category

            and then filter on

            ShowTask = "Today @NextAction1"
            ShowTask = "Today @NextAction2"
            ShowTask = "ThisWeek SomeOtherCategory"

            Anybody have a better answer to this?


            • #7
              You might be able to get a more fine-tuned control of the filter if you hack the SQL. I've made filters before that are OR instead of AND. To do this, I used the Advanced tab to add in each component, e.g., tasks due today, tasks with no date. These are automatically treated as AND terms. But, if you look at the SQL tab, there's a checkbox for "edit these criteria directly". Granted, the terms look nothing like what you think, but you can clearly see where the ANDs are placed. I was able to just change the AND to an OR and it worked. Now, for your filter, you'll want something a bit more complicated, like (not complete AND (due soon OR no due date). I think the brackets might work in the SQL field.

              Note: once you mess with the SQL field, you won't be able to just switch back to the advanced version of the filter - you'll have to rebuild it. So, set aside some time for messing with it.