Posts tagged Tools

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 >>

Setting up OneNote 2007 for GTD

As I promised earlier in my post on “Bending OneNote and Outlook to Fit my GTD System“, here are the setup details for OneNote 2007 along with some screen shots. For each of the screen shots, you can click on the image to open it full-size.

The options panel is accessed from the “Tools” menu in OneNote. The options are divided up into several Categories. I’ll walk through the changes that are important for my setup, and you may find other areas that you will want to tweak as well. Experimentation is usually better than the help menu when it comes to figuring out what some of these settings do.

On the Display tab, I prefer to have the page tabs and navigation tabs appear on the left. I also like the note containers visible since it makes it easier to see when you’ve accidentally split a note, or when you’re trying to grab text to copy or move it.

On the Save tab, the main thing you want to change is the location of the Unfiled notes section. Get rid of the separate section and have it point directly at your “@DOING” section. This will also give you another quick way to jump to your @DOING section by clicking on the Unfiled notes button.

On the Outlook Integration tab, change all of these to >> 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.


DROE Tool Update

I posted a minor update to the DROE Tool, now at version 0.2 (Beta). There are three changes in this release:

  1. The download now includes a detailed README file with installation/upgrade instructions, screen shots, and troubleshooting tips.
  2. The check to make sure that the OneNote DROE page successfully opened is now case insensitive, so it’s a bit more forgiving.
  3. Toggling the tray icon now also displays the version information for the tool.

You can download the latest version on the Downloads page. Thanks especially to Tripp Castell for helping to troubleshoot the previous version.


A Better Calculator – Go RPN on Your PC

For those of you that don’t enjoy RPN calculators, you can skip this post… Yes, RPN does stand for Reverse Polish Notation. It doesn’t mean it’s a backwards way of doing things. Actually, it’s a much smarter more compact way of doing things. It was originally just “Polish Notation”, invented by Polish mathematician Jan Łukasiewicz in the early 1900s as a way to represent logic statements without the need for parentheses. Reverse Polish Notation simply means that the operator was moved from the beginning to the end of the statements, so + 1 2 became 1 2 + and the “=” key became an unnecessary vestige. One less button to press!

Although HP didn’t introduce the first ever RPN calculator, they definitely popularized it with their line of calculators. For a fun diversion, you can check out some of the history on the Museum of HP Calculators website.

So where am I going with all of this? Well, I grew very accustomed to the speed and convenience of my HP 42s, which I’ve had for more than 15 years now. I cringed whenever I had to do a calculation on a standard calculator, especially the one that comes loaded by default in Windows. I needed to have an RPN calculator at my finger tips, and thanks to Thomas Okken and the Free42 project, now I do. The image below is an actual screenshot from the Free42 program.

If you happen to be an aficionado of a different HP, there is >> READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY >>