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Outlook 2003 Task management

Posted on 2007-10-08
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Outlook 2003. Since I know you cannot create a single task and send this to multiple users AND track it with a Tracking Tab, what are my other alternatives? Can I simply create an Appointment, that is really a task, and send this multiple people and Track what they do on this "task" appointment?
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Question by:tbjbs
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by:David Lee
ID: 20053674
Hi, tbjbs.

Appointments don't track anything, so that's not really an option.  The only viable solution is to create a separate copy of the task for each person it's assigned to.  If the task needs to go to five people, then you create the same task five times, one for each person.  That way the tasks are individually assigned and they will update properly.
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by:tbjbs
ID: 20089748
I do understand that an option is to create this single task for each person. The problem arises when there is something about the task that must change. It is not viable to have to change each task for each person. It is not efficient, and prone to errors.
I am now considering creating a Public Folder with an email address that many users will work from. Within this public folder account, I'll create the task(s) that needs to be done. I have been testing Reminder Manager as a solution for this -- i.e. sending reminders to the various people responsible for the task.

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by:David Lee
ID: 20098176
"The problem arises when there is something about the task that must change. It is not viable to have to change each task for each person. It is not efficient, and prone to errors."

True.  There are ways we could get around that though.  Ways that'd allow you to make a change and have that change apply to a given set of tasks.  That wouldn't be very difficult from a scripting perspective.  

"I am now considering creating a Public Folder with an email address that many users will work from. Within this public folder account, I'll create the task(s) that needs to be done. I have been testing Reminder Manager as a solution for this -- i.e. sending reminders to the various people responsible for the task."

If that solves the issue, then you should definitely consider going this route.  However, if I remember correctly, tasks in public folders cannot be assigned like tasks in your tasks folder can.  There are other ways to get around that, but it does mean that tasks won't behave the way you might expect them to.
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Author Comment

by:tbjbs
ID: 20106147
"Ways that'd allow you to make a change and have that change apply to a given set of tasks.  That wouldn't be very difficult from a scripting perspective."
OK, I'm listening. I've considered OL Templates and/or OL Custom Forms. But, in terms of scripting, what are the actual steps? What references can you provide of things that I can read up on to try?
Thanks.
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by:David Lee
ID: 20108502
The simplest approach to this is to edit one of the tasks, then run a macro that applies the changes made to that tasks to all related tasks.  For example, assume that you've created a task and assigned it five staff: A, B, C, D, and E.  The tasks are all identical, except who they're assigned to, and they are all grouped together in some fashion, say be a common category or keyword in the task's subject.  You assigned the tasks a couple of days ago only to learn today that the due date has been moved up a couple of days.  To adjust the due date for all five tasks you begin by editing any one of them.  The copy assigned to A happens to be at the top of the list, so you open it, change the due date, and save the change.  Now, to replicate that change to the other four copies of the task, you select (i.e. click on) the copy for A, the copy you just changed, and run a macro.  The macro opens A's copy of the task and copies the change to B's, C's, D's, and E's copies.  The net result is that you made one change, but all the tasks in the group picked up that change without you having to change each task individually.  The code is simple and I'll be glad to post it if you want to give this a shot.  
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Author Comment

by:tbjbs
ID: 20113792
I do want to evaluate as many viable options as possible, so if you have some code that you would like to share, that would be awesome.
Is there any way to mimick the Tracking tab with this? You lose the Tracking tab when you send the single Task to multiple people.
Thanks.
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by:David Lee
ID: 20115336
I was putting the code together for this when I remembered that an assigned task can't be changed.  Once the originating user has assigned it to someone else it doesn't belong to them anymore and they cannot change it.  For example, say that you create a task and assign it to me.  As soon as you do you no longer own the task, you have a read-only copy.  You cannot change it.  What I proposed above will work for appointments, but not for tasks.  Apologies, I don't know where my mind was.  The public folder solution may be your only option.  Just keep in mind that tasks in public folders cannot be assigned and do not behave like tasks do in your mailbox.
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tbjbs earned 0 total points
ID: 20140777
OK, thanks for the assistance anyway.
I ended up going down the path of using a Public Folder with an email address and creating a custom form for the users to create/modify the task and add reminders. I then installed Reminder Manager on a PC that monitors these folders and sends out emails when the reminder for the Task triggers.
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by:David Lee
ID: 20143557
I hope that works out.  Good luck.
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