Posts tagged Outlook

DROE Tool now supports EverNote, and much more!

I just released a new version of the Daily Record of Events (DROE) note taking tool.  This release adds support for EverNote and text-based DROE files, as well as enhancements for the OneNote DROE.

From the README file, here is a summary of what changed in v0.4 (Beta). For complete details, download the README file. To get your own copy of the tool, see the Downloads page.

  • NEW FEATURE: Added support for a completely text-based DROE without the need for OneNote. This includes a quick edit window.
  • NEW FEATURE: Added support for EverNote… DROE Tool can send text notes to EverNote using EverNote’s auto-import feature
  • NEW FEATURE: The amount of white space between notes is now configurable in the INI file.
  • NEW FEATURE: “Clip Mode” causes any selected text to be clipped and included in the DROE entry. For OneNote DROE files, selected images are also sent to the DROE.
  • NEW FEATURE: WIN+LeftArrow now summons a new control panel that makes it easy to update settings in the INI file and reload the tool.
  • Bug fix: Fixed issue with cursor being stranded 3-4 lines below the date stamp.
  • Bug fix: The CTRL-SHIFT-K and CTRL-SHIFT-M shortcuts were not working when the Outlook window was active. This is fixed.
  • Updated and re-organized this README file. Switched to PDF format to significantly reduce the download size.

Attach Notes to Outlook Messages

Here’s the scenario… You are quickly clearing your email inbox before going home. You open a rather lengthy message and start to read through it. A vague idea forms in your head about what your response will be, but you’ve been reading it for 5 minutes now and haven’t gotten through the entire chain yet. It’s time to go home. You move the message to your @FollowUp folder but you don’t want to lose your train of thought. Here’s where this little trick comes in.

Click the “Note…” button on the message toolbar and just start typing, then close the dialog box. Move the message to your follow-up folder, and then come back later with your “note to self” intact. Okay, I know you probably don’t have this button, but I’ll show you how to create it.

This trick utilizes the colored message flags in Outlook. As you can see below, when you click the “Note…” button it brings up a dialog box. You can start typing any message you want (up to 100 characters). When finished, just click OK or hit [Return]. Your note is automatically saved with the message. Messages with notes can quickly be found because they have flags set, and your personal note is displayed on the dark bar in the header of the message (as shown below).

You can also schedule a reminder if you like by setting a date & time in the “Due by” field after typing your note. Another nice feature is that your notes are private. When you reply or forward the message, the note stays attached to the original message but does not travel with your outgoing message.

Here are the detailed instructions for setting up the button. Note that all of this is >> READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>

Send PDF Files to EverNote

UPDATE: Since releasing version in September 2008, Evernote for Windows now supports import, indexing, and preview of PDF files.  The Mac version supported this several months prior.  The work-around below is no longer needed (but still fun to try if you want to experiment with and learn more about Ghostscript).

UPDATE 2 (May 2009):  A reader pointed out to me that this macro is still useful because, even through Evernote now supports PDFs, it does not support indexing the images inside those PDFs. This has been requested many times over in the Evernote forums with no clear delivery date. So, if indexing the images inside your PDFs is important, it may still be worth tinkering with this script.

As I mentioned in my EverNote vs. OneNote post, one of the key weaknesses of EverNote is its inability to handle PDF files. To get around that, I created a script to send the content of PDF files to EverNote as JPEG images. This is in the form of an Outlook VBA macro. I used it to quickly capture hand-written notes scanned into my office copier/scanner. The notes would arrive via email in an attached PDF file.

To use the script, you must set up an Outlook rule to trigger based on the mail address of your copier/scanner. The script then saves the attachment to a folder of your choice (edit path below), then calls Ghostscript to generate a JPEG file for each page. Note that since I already had PDF995 installed, I just used the Ghostscript executables that come bundled with that tool. You can install the PDF995 tool and edit the path in the VBA script below to point to those executables… or you can probably find or compile a standalone version. By the way, PDF995 is an excellent free tool and does a fantastic job distilling content into PDF files.

The last pre-requisite is setting up the >> READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>

DROE Tool Now Supports Outlook

I just posted an update to my Daily Record of Events (DROE) Tool, please check out the Downloads page. Version 0.3 adds some additional shortcuts for fast Outlook task and message creation, as well as easy creation of PigPog tasks. (Note that the Outlook shortcuts have only been tested on Outlook 2003). Version 0.3 also fixes an ugly bug that blocked the time/date stamp from working in Windows Vista.

Here are the details from the latest README file:

This is a configurable tool built using AutoHotkey. It gives you a handy shortcut to quickly open OneNote, jump to the top of your Daily Record of Events (DROE) page, insert a time stamp, and begin capturing thoughts before they slip out of your head. The tool replaces the standard Sidenote shortcut (Win-N) with the new function. You can still open OneNote in full/normal mode using Win-Shift-N. Note that the tool is a compiled executable, so you do not need AutoHotkey installed to use it.

In addition to the OneNote shortcuts, the DROE Tool also provides some handy Outlook shortcuts. You can now use CTRL-SHIFT-M and CTRL-SHIFT-K from anywhere to create a new Outlook Email Message or Task. These shortcuts already exist in Outlook, but this script will save you the trouble of having to switch applications and find Outlook before using the shortcut. You also have the option of having new tasks be created as “PigPog” tasks, as well as displaying the Outlook Categories dialog box every time so that you don’t forget to set a category. Note that these have only been tested in Outlook 2003, so all bets are off for Outlook 2007.

But wait, there’s more! With the DROE Tool you’ll also get:

  • The ability to paste without formatting (clipboard formatting stripper),
  • the ability to use the Mac-like shortcut (Alt-W) to close a window,
  • additional shortcuts for bullets and manual time stamps,
  • this set of Ginsu knives! (ok, not really)

Each of the features can be individually enabled or disabled through the INI file.

I hope you find it useful! I have many more updates & features planned, so stay tuned.


OneNote and Outlook Task Synchronization

I had a few questions come up related to how the task synchronization works between OneNote 2007 and Outlook. This is actually one of the best features that was added in OneNote 2007, as I noted in my post on “EverNote vs. OneNote“. The task synchronization feature, however, is still pretty new and can be easily broken. If you want to know how to synch without getting sunk, read on… (Ok, bad pun, sorry for that.)

The screenshot below shows a typical project in OneNote (from my OneNote Project Template). You can see that some tasks have a dark red flag, and some have a faded red flag. The faded red flag either means that the due date is farther out, or that OneNote hasn’t found the task in Outlook yet to determine the due date. Sometimes it just takes OneNote a minute or two to search Outlook and those pale flags turn back into dark red. Other times (such as when a task is moved to another folder or deleted in Outlook), OneNote never finds the task.

So how is OneNote finding those tasks in Outlook? Although I’m not an expert on the inner workings of OneNote, I did some snooping into >> READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>