OK, so I’ve been modifying my (personal) organisational processes recently – how I track my tasks / projects etc…


I’ve kind of moved over to Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. It’s quick and easy and gets rid of all the ‘non critical’ crap that you really don’t need to keep in your (short term cache) head – allowing you to focus what’s important.


Anyway, in addition to understanding an organisational process, there is an element of making it work in your own environment (e.g. configuring your laptop / desktop with the tools to allow you to follow the process easily). There are a number of reviews etc of the Getting Things Done Add In for Outlook by Netcentrics (http://gtdsupport.netcentrics.com/home/). It seems like a pretty good application, but being a bit of a miser / skinflint and having a tendancy to play around with coding / scripting, I decided I didn’t want to spend $70 and that I would hack something together myself.


What I came up with is a set of fairly simple Outlook macros, but it covers all the aspects of GTD that I use. The macros cover :-




  • Make Task – This takes an email and generates a new task. The task gets the body of the email copied into it and it also gets a copy of the email embedded into it.
  • Schedule - This takes an email and generates a new appointment. The appointment gets the body of the email copied into it and also gets a copy of the email embedded into it.
  • Delegate Via Task – This takes an email and generates a new task. The task gets the body of the email copied into it and it also gets a copy of the email embedded into it. It also starts the ‘Assign Task to User’ process.
  • Delegate Via Email - This takes an email and generates a new task with the original email subject preceded by ‘FOLLOW UP’. The task gets the body of the email copied into it and it also gets a copy of the email embedded into it and the line ‘Follow up on task sent by email (Date) to XXXXX’ appended. It then also starts the ‘Forward Email’ process. The original email is ‘Stored for Reference’
  • Store For Ref – This Copies the email into a subfolder of the ‘Reference’ folder with the name of the category assigned to the email. If the email is assigned multiple categories then multiple copies are stored (one in each subfolder)


There are also a bunch of other macros that allow a specific category to be assigned to the item. These are ObjectCat_[CategoryName] or TableCat_[CategoryName]. I simply add the ones I use most so they are available from the toolbar.


The reason there are (seemingly) duplicated functions (one starting with ObjectXXXXXX the other being TableXXXXXX) is that we need to provide the features whether we are in ‘tableview’ (and possibly have multiple emails selected) or if we have the email object itself open


Anyway, here is the code :

‘ Ken Hughes
‘ 21 March 2006
‘ Macros to implement ‘Getting Things Done’

‘ Config variables
Const ReferenceFolder = “Reference”
Const TempFileName = “GTD_Temp_Msg.msg”

These are the constants that I use within my system / folder set – you may have to customise these to your own environment. Reference is the top level folder that all my ‘stored for reference’ subfolders are under (e.g. Development, Helpdesk, Personnel etc)
‘ For the currently open object, display the categories dialog.
‘ No need for a Table version of this as you can simple highlight the items in the table view,
right click and choose Categories…
Public Sub ObjectCategorise()

‘ Shows the categories dialog for the item.

Dim obj As Object

Set obj = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
obj.Display
obj.ShowCategoriesDialog
obj.Save
obj.Close 2

Set obj = Nothing

End Sub

‘ Takes each highlighted email in the tableview and creates a task for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub TableMakeTask()

‘ Convert an email into a task

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

For Each objEmail In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Display
Next

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub

‘ Takes the currently open email object and creates a task for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub ObjectMakeTask()

‘ Convert an email into a task

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

Set objEmail = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Display

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes each highlighted email in the tableview and creates an appointment for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the appointment body and attaches the email object
‘ into the appointment body.
Public Sub TableSchedule()

‘ Convert an email into an appointment

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewAppt As AppointmentItem

For Each objEmail In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
Set objNewAppt = CreateApptFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewAppt.Display
Next

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objAppt = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes the currently open emailobject and creates an appointment for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the appointment body and attaches the email
‘ object into the appointment body.
Public Sub ObjectSchedule()

‘ Convert an email into an appointment

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewAppt As AppointmentItem

Set objEmail = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
Set objNewAppt = CreateApptFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewAppt.Display

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objAppt = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes each highlighted email in the tableview and creates an assigned task for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub TableDelegateViaTask()

‘ Creates a task from an email and lets user assign owner

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

For Each objEmail In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Assign
objNewTask.Display
Next

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes the currently open email object and creates an assigned task for it.
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub ObjectDelegateViaTask()

‘ Creates a task from an email and lets user assign owner

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

Set objEmail = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Assign
objNewTask.Display

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes each highlighted email in the tableview and creates a task for it (that you track yourself)
‘ and also forwards the original email (allowing you to delegate it via email).
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub TableDelegateViaEmail()

‘ Creates a personal task from an email and forwards the original email

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

For Each objEmail In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Subject = “FOLLOW UP: ” & objNewTask.Subject
objNewTask.Body = ” Follow up on task sent by email (” & Date & “) to XXXXX”
Set objEmail = objEmail.Forward
objEmail.Display
objNewTask.Display
Next

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub


‘ Takes each highlighted email in the tableview and creates a task for it (that you track yourself)
‘ and also forwards the original email (allowing you to delegate it via email).
‘ Also copies the email body into the task body and attaches the email object into the task body.
Public Sub ObjectDelegateViaEmail()

‘ Creates a personal task from an email and forwards the original email

Dim objEmail As MailItem, objNewTask As TaskItem

Set objEmail = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
Set objNewTask = CreateTaskFromEmail(objEmail)
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(ReferenceFolder)
objNewTask.Subject = “FOLLOW UP: ” & objNewTask.Subject
objNewTask.Body = ” Follow up on task sent by email (” & Date & “) to XXXXX”
Set objEmail = objEmail.Forward
objEmail.Display
objNewTask.Display

Set objEmail = Nothing
Set objNewTask = Nothing

End Sub

Public Sub TableStoreForReference()

‘ Stores the email object in the reference folder

Dim obj As Object

For Each obj In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
StoreObject obj
Next

Set obj = Nothing

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectStoreForReference()

‘ Stores the email object in the reference folder

Dim obj As Object

Set obj = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
StoreObject obj

Set obj = Nothing

End Sub

These following macros are the ‘quick access’ macros I use to assign categories to a email object (so it can be stored in the appropriate place)
Public Sub ObjectCat_Blank()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Blank()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_IT()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “IT”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_IT()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “IT”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_Helpdesk()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “Helpdesk”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Helpdesk()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “Helpdesk”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_Development()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “Development”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Development()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “Development”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_Sales()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “Sales”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Sales()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “Sales”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_Partners()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “Partners”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Partners()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “Partners”

End Sub

Public Sub ObjectCat_Customers()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
ObjectAssignCategory “Customers”

End Sub

Public Sub TableCat_Customers()

‘ Assigns the specified category to the object
TableAssignCategory “Customers”

End Sub

Private Sub TableAssignCategory(ByVal sCat As String)

‘ Assign a category to the object

Dim sCurrent As String, obj As Object

For Each obj In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection
sCurrent = obj.Categories
If sCat = “” Then
sCurrent = “”
Else
If sCurrent <> “” Then
sCurrent = sCurrent & “, ” & sCat
Else
sCurrent = sCat
End If
End If
obj.Categories = sCurrent
obj.Save
Next

Set obj = Nothing

End Sub

Private Sub ObjectAssignCategory(ByVal sCat As String)

‘ Assign a category to the object

Dim sCurrent As String, obj As Object

Set obj = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
sCurrent = obj.Categories
If sCat = “” Then
sCurrent = “”
Else
If sCurrent <> “” Then
sCurrent = sCurrent & “, ” & sCat
Else
sCurrent = sCat
End If
End If
obj.Categories = sCurrent
obj.Save

Set obj = Nothing

End Sub

This final macro does the filing of the email objects based on the categories they have been assigned
Public Sub DeferItem(ByRef objEmail As MailItem)

‘ Stores the email object in the reference folder

Dim objEmail As MailItem, frm As frmDefer, sInterval As String, iInterval As Integer
Set frm = New frmDefer

For Each objEmail In Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection

frm.Show vbModal
Select Case LCase(frm.Result)

Case “someday”
‘ move it to the ‘someday’ folder
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(SomedayFolder)

Case “cancel”
‘ do nothing

Case Else
‘ add a reminder to the email
objEmail.Move GetMAPIFolder(DeferredFolder)
objEmail.FlagRequest = “Follow up”
sInterval = Right(frm.Result, 1)
iInterval = CInt(Left(frm.Result, 1))
objEmail.FlagDueBy = DateAdd(sInterval, iInterval, Now())
objEmail.FlagIcon = olRedFlagIcon
objEmail.FlagStatus = olFlagMarked

End Select

Next

End Sub

Private Functions used as helpers
Private Function CreateTaskFromEmail(ByRef objEmail As MailItem) As TaskItem

‘ Creates a task from an email object.

Dim objTask As TaskItem
Set objTask = Application.CreateItem(olTaskItem)
objTask.Subject = objEmail.Subject
objTask.Body = ” ” & vbCrLf & objEmail.Body
objEmail.SaveAs (GetTempFolderPath & “” & TempFileName)
objTask.Attachments.Add GetTempFolderPath & “” & TempFileName, , 1
Set CreateTaskFromEmail = objTask

End Function

Private Function CreateApptFromEmail(ByRef objEmail As MailItem) As AppointmentItem

‘ Creates an appointment from an email object.

Dim objAppt As AppointmentItem
Set objAppt = Application.CreateItem(olAppointmentItem)
objAppt.Subject = objEmail.Subject
objAppt.Body = ” ” & vbCrLf & objEmail.Body
objEmail.SaveAs (GetTempFolderPath & “” & TempFileName)
objAppt.Attachments.Add GetTempFolderPath & “” & TempFileName, , 1
Set CreateApptFromEmail = objAppt

End Function

Private Function GetMAPIFolder(ByVal FolderName As String) As Object

‘ Returns a MAPIFolder object of the specified name
Dim objNS As NameSpace, objParent As MAPIFolder, objChild As MAPIFolder
Set objNS = Application.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
Set objParent = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)

Dim aFolders() As String, vFolder As Variant
aFolders = Split(FolderName, “”)
For Each vFolder In aFolders
Set objChild = objParent.Folders(CStr(vFolder))
Set objParent = objChild
Next
Set GetMAPIFolder = objChild
Set objParent = Nothing
Set objChild = Nothing
Set objNS = Nothing

End Function

Private Function GetTempFolderPath() As String

‘ Returns a string value indicating the temporary public folder path
Dim objFS As FileSystemObject, objTemp As Scripting.Folder

Set objFS = New FileSystemObject
Set objTemp = objFS.GetSpecialFolder(2)
‘returns the path found in the TMP environment variable
GetTempFolderPath = objTemp.Path
Set objTemp = Nothing
Set objFS = Nothing

End Function

Private Sub StoreObject(ByRef obj As Object)

Dim vCat As Variant, aCats() As String, o As Object, sFolder As String, bOK As Boolean

bOK = True
If obj.Categories <> “” Then
aCats = Split(obj.Categories, “,”)
For Each vCat In aCats()
sFolder = ReferenceFolder & “” & Trim(CStr(vCat))
If CreateMAPIFolder(sFolder) Then
Set o = obj.Copy
o.Move GetMAPIFolder(sFolder)
Else
MsgBox (“Could not create folder : ” & sFolder)
bOK = False
Exit For
End If
Next
If bOK Then obj.Delete
End If

End Sub

Private Function CreateMAPIFolder(ByVal sFolder As String) As Boolean

‘ Create a MAPIFolder object of the specified name if none exists
Dim objNS As NameSpace, objParent As MAPIFolder, objChild As MAPIFolder
Set objNS = Application.GetNamespace(“MAPI”)
Set objParent = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)

Dim aFolders() As String, vFolder As Variant
aFolders = Split(sFolder, “”)
For Each vFolder In aFolders
On Error Resume Next
Set objChild = objParent.Folders(Trim(CStr(vFolder)))
If Err Then Set objChild = objParent.Folders.Add(Trim(CStr(vFolder)))
Err.Clear
Set objParent = objChild
Next
If (InStr(objChild.FolderPath, sFolder) > 0) Then
CreateMAPIFolder = True
Else
CreateMAPIFolder = False
End If
Set objParent = Nothing
Set objChild = Nothing
Set objNS = Nothing

End Function

modGTD.bas (12.72 KB)

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