Creating Custom Reminders


I was on Twitter last night looking for tweets about Outlook when I stumbled across this one.

Here’s my reply and Jake’s follow-up.

Creating some reminders is easy enough, so I put a solution together for Jake. Here’s how it works.

When Jake runs the macro it will prompt him for the name of a client. Once he enters that the macro will create the three reminders Jake wants. The macro includes options allowing Jake to control the type of reminder (task or calendar event), the reminder’s subject line, the category the reminders will belong to (Jake can color code them if he wants), the number of minutes before the event’s start time to show the reminder (if Jake sets the type to Event), the time to display the reminders (if Jake set the type to Task), and the length of the event on the calendar (if Jake sets the type to Event).
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Mobile Appointment Reminders


I wrote this post in response to an idea Fred Cleveland posted to my Suggestions page. Fred explained that he’s not always at his desk when an Outlook appointment reminder pops up, and mused that it would be nice if Outlook could send a reminder to his cell phone about 5 minutes before the start of the appointment. At first glance, that might seem like an odd request given how prevalent smartphones are that sync with our Outlook calendar and remind us of impending appointments no matter where we are. Still, not everyone has a smart phone, and some of those who do may work for a company that does not allow syncing with the corporate email system. Those who don’t have a smart phone probably do have a cell phone that can at least receive text messages. What Fred needs is a solution that can send him an email, if he has a smart phone, or a text message, if he only has a cell phone.
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Document Review Reminders

Last week I stumbled across this tweet from a gentleman named Andrew Hall

I need a data storage system that I can tag a doc with a review date which pops up when the file needs reviewing. Any ideas?

Someone had already replied to Andrew suggesting that he create an Outlook task for this and attach the document to be reviewed to it. While I agree with creating an Outlook task, I’m not as keen on attaching the document. There are pros and cons to doing that. One of the cons is that attaching the document to the task will likely create a separate instance of it. The only way to avoid this would be to attach the document and then delete the original. I think a better solution is to create a link to the document. That doesn’t take up space in your mailbox, something that could be a significant problem if your mailbox size is limited, and it doesn’t create an additional copy of the document, so there’s no worry about having to copy the document back to its original location when you’re done. What we need is a simple way of creating the task, one that doesn’t require opening Outlook, creating a task, filling in all the details, adding a link to the document, etc. Andrew would also like to have the review date entered into the document’s properties. To handle that requires the use of Dsofile, a Microsoft provided library (i.e. a DLL) for making changes to document properties. This Microsoft KB article has more information on what Dsofile is and how it works. It also contains the link for downloading and installing the library. If you’re really curious about Dsofile, then you can learn more about how to use it at this Microsoft TechNet page.
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