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Rediscover the robust task management features in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Author Gini Courter explains the difference between Outlook tasks and To-Do Lists, and shows how to use Outlook 2010 to handle both business and personal schedules, from making appointments, to creating and completing tasks, to color-coding calendars and tasks for at-a-glance review.
You don't have to use a form to create a new appointment or event, you can lay out the time directly in the Outlook calendar. First change to the view that you'll want to use, if you are going to schedule an event, then you can use the day, week or month view either any of the three because you can see the event in any of them. However, if you want to be able to set an appointment or meeting just a few hours then you'll actually need to switch to one of the views that would show you hours. So that would be Day, Work Week or Week view, any of the three of them.
If you would like to set an appointment for a single time unit then you just find the time, for example, if we're looking at a launch on the 27th, right here, just double-click and you'll get a half-hour appointment, and that's because this calendar is set up in half- hour increments, or if you'd like to do a longer time like an hour then select it and then just start typing. So you can click once for a half-hour or if I wanted a longer time you can drag and then start typing and you'll get that longer time period.
You can also simply double-click and open the form anyway if you want your default length of time. So I'm set into half-hour increments, I can easily set up half-hour appointments. But remember that you might want to set times in your calendar that are less than half-an-hour particularly if you have a threshold of 15 minutes. So let's take a look at resetting a timescale so that you can easily create 15-minute appointments because my calendar right now is geared to 30-minute increments. In order to change the timescale simply point to it and right-click and you can choose for example 15 minutes.
Now I'm in 15-minute increments all day long, takes up a lot of space, but I can easily create 15-minute appointments. My friend that I talked about who has six minutes, this is what his calendar looks like. So for any point-in-time he is spending a fair amount of his day scrolling, but he can really quickly create one 6-minute appointment after another, simply by clicking and typing, just like that, and then another appointment and another and so on, very quick and easy for him. So right-click and choose whatever time increment you would like to have here, make it granular enough that it will suit you for your normal appointments.
So if you only occasionally set a 15- minute appointment then you are fine with 30 minutes here, you give away the details, but you'll be able to see lots and lots of time during the day. Here's that 60 minutes, you can see an entire day very easily, but anytime you're creating an appointment of less than 60 minutes you're going to need to use the form, you can't create an appointment here. If I go to 5 minutes, I have so much room for details, 12 appointment slots in an hour. However, I'm scrolling a lot every single day.
For most people 15 minutes is about the right level of detail. There is another thing that you might want to do, so once I have set the level of detail that I would like to see, it's very easy for me to single-click or again drag and then start typing to create appointment, so for example 45 minutes in this case. There are other reasons that it's really good to create your appointments directly in the calendar without necessarily opening a form. For example, I can look at someone else's calendar and see one or the times that we could hold an event or a meeting that we'd both be available.
So I have opened Judith's calendar now, here's the view when Judith's calendar is side-by-side next to mine. But if I click I can overlay Judith's calendar on mine. Now notice that whatever level of detail I've selected is the level I am seeing for both calendars, it doesn't matter that in Judith's calendar she's seen 10-minute increments, six of them in an hour, I get to see whatever level of detail I choose in both of the calendars that I select to open. So here both calendars overlaid on each other and I can easily see that there is plenty of time, next Tuesday or next Thursday to be able to meet with Judith in the morning.
I can also see that if I don't want to include Judith if I have something and I don't need her there then it's fine to meet on Wednesday the 28th. So here's the overlay and here are these two calendars then side-by-side, easy enough to turn them on and off and to show them in that mode that allows me to see how those calendars are going to interact with each other. One more trick I might want to take a look at in the calendar is the ability to look at multiple days. So if I'm in the Month view and I want to look at a particular week, like the week of the 19th, I can click here and quickly switch to the Week view.
If I want Work Week, I can grab Work Week right here. I can also though say that I'd like to see that view here in the Date Navigator. Notice that as I approach the start of the week the Monday here, the arrow on my pointer points towards the week, and if I click here I'll go to the Week view and see the entire week. If I want to see two weeks, I can select two weeks and see just those two weeks not the entire month. So even though I might be looking at one day or one month or a week by using the Date Navigator I can choose to see other views that don't exist.
Something that I like to be able to do is to put dates next to each other that I'm considering for a meeting or an event. So I might want to take a look for example at the Tuesdays and Thursdays remaining in the months so I am going to grab this Thursday and then I'm going to hold Ctrl and click on the Tuesdays and the Thursdays so that I can see them next to each other. So here's the 15th, 20th, 22nd and so on. I don't need to be able to drag to select dates in the Date Navigator, I can hold Ctrl and Click to select them.
When I do this by the way it will always put them in order, I went back now and clicked on the 6th which was before any other date I'd selected and it puts it at the beginning of the list not at the end. So in the Navigator simply hold Ctrl, click on the dates that you want to see to find a time that you could schedule something. If you want to remove something from the contention, just go ahead and hold Ctrl and click again to remove it. So I have decided that date is not going to work and the 15th is not going to work. And now I can open up Judith's calendar as well and I will see exactly those same days, and I can overlay exactly those same days, and decide, ah! well of all these days I think I'm going to have us meet on the 27th and go ahead and lay out some time.
This visual approach to creating appointments directly in the calendar is not only fast, it is particularly useful for scheduling work when you know about how much time you need and you want to find the best location for an appointment in the context of other appointments, other meetings, or other tasks on your calendar.
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