Posts from October 2008.

User Guide: Project Dashboard (Pro Only)

The Project Dashboard displays all messages, appointments, contacts, attachments, tasks and deferred messages by Topic and category.

IMS Dashboard: Manage projects in Outlook

OPen Project DashboardOpen a Project Dashboard tab from the Summary Dashboard by selecting a Topic in the Topic Summary and double-clicking or pressing Open Topic. 

To close a Project Tab, click the X on an active tab.

Title Bar   
The Project Dashboard’s title bar provides more advanced views of your Projects:

  • Explorer Icon Dashboard Click the Attachment Explorer icon to open a new tab displaying all of the attachments associated with this Topic.
  • Jump to Folder The Jump to Folder icon takes you to the folder associated with this Topic.
  • Show Sub Folders Toggle Show Sub-Folders on to include sub-Topics in the Project Dashboard.
  • Filter your information by category with the category drop down.Categories

Messages   
The Messages pane shows all messages in the Inbox and the Topic folder for the selected Project.  Double-click a message to open it.  Select a message and use the Actions button to act on it (Reply, Forward, Delete, Task, Appointment).  Select Jump to Folder to open the Topic folder for this Project.  By default, ClearContext only loads the most recent 1,000 messages for the selected Topic.  When this limit is in effect, click the Show All link at the bottom of the pane to load all messages in the Topic.  Use the Hide Filed link to display Inbox messages for this Topic only.

Appointments   
The Appointments pane shows all active appointments for this Topic.  By default, today’s appointments are in blue.  The pane will only show the next instance of a recurring appointment.  Double-click an appointment to open it and use the Actions menu to delete the current appointment or create a new appointment with this Topic pre-assigned.

Contacts   
The Contacts pane shows all Contacts in the To: and From: fields for messages that appear in the Messages pane.  See FolderContext for more information on working with the Contacts list.

Attachments   
The Attachments pane shows all attachments found in the messages that are displayed in the Messages pane.  See FolderContext for more information on working with the Attachments list.

Tasks and Actions   
The Tasks and Actions pane shows all tasks and deferred messages associated with this Topic.  Double-click an item to open it.  Mark tasks complete via the check box.  Click a header to sort the information in this pane.  Select Actions to delete a task or create a new one with the current Topic pre-assigned.  Items are color-coded by due date.  Adjust color display options or toggle the display of completed items using the links below this pane.

Global Buttons   
There are three buttons at the bottom of the Project Dashboard:

  • New Task starts a task with the current Topic pre-assigned.
  • Similarly, New Appt starts an appointment in the current Project.
  • The Refresh button reloads all data in the Dashboard.

Jump to Dashboard

Jump to DashboardWhile in a Topic folder, quickly open a Project Dashboard by selecting Actions > Jump to Dashboard from within FolderContext.

 

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

User Guide: Summary Dashboard (Pro Only)

Divided into four panes – Topics, Notifications, Tasks and Actions, and Appointments – the Summary Dashboard provides a control panel for your workday.  Open the Dashboard by pressing the Dashboard button on the main toolbar.  To close it, click on another folder, such as the Inbox, or another area in Outlook, such as the Calendar.

Summary Dashboard

Topics   
The Topics pane shows a summary of all of your Topics, along with counts of today’s appointments and tasks that are overdue, due today or due this week.

  • Type a Topic name in the filter to narrow the list of Topics down
  • Click Open Topic to launch the Topic Selector and open a Project Dashboard in another tab.
  • Select Active Topics Only to display only those Topics that have active items in them.
  • Double-click any Topic in the list to drill down to a Project Dashboard tab.

Notifications   
The Notifications pane shows a summary of all active Notification Managers.  For more details on this functionality, see FolderContext.

Tasks and Actions   
This is a global list of all of your Tasks and Deferred items in Outlook.  Double-click an item to open it.  Mark tasks complete via the check box.  Click a header to sort the information in this pane.  Select Actions to delete a task or create a new one.  Items are color-coded by due date.  Adjust color display options or toggle the display of completed items using the links below this pane.

Appointments   
The Appointments pane shows all active appointments.  By default, today’s appointments are in blue.  The pane will only show the next instance of a recurring appointment.  Double-click an appointment to open it and use the Actions menu to delete the current appointment or create a new appointment.

Buttons   
There are three buttons at the bottom of the Summary Dashboard:

  • New Task starts a task.
  • Similarly, New Appt starts a new appointment.
  • The Refresh button reloads all data in the Dashboard.

Get the Most Out of the Dashboard

The Dashboard is the crux of the Succeed component of the ClearContext process, allowing you to view all of your Outlook information by Topic or Category.  To take full advantage of this functionality, instruct ClearContext to query for Topic assignment to Messages, Tasks and Appointments as you create them.

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

User Guide: Contact Exporter

The Contact Exporter lets you create and export groups of email addresses found in messages stored in the Outlook folders you select.

Contact Exporter

Select the email addresses from a prioritized list of contacts generated for you to create an Outlook distribution list, Outlook contact records, or a CSV export file.   

  • Send a group email to people on your team – Select your work or team folder and create an Outlook distribution list. 
  • Create a party invitation for your friends – Select your personal correspondence folders and generate a list that you can send an email to or export to an online invitation service. 
  • Add all your business contacts to LinkedIn or your personal contacts to Facebook – Select the appropriate folders and create an export file you can upload.

To use the Contact Exporter:

  1. Go to ClearContext > Contact Exporter (Personal) or ClearContext > Tools > Contact Exporter (Pro) from the main menu. 
  2. Select the folders containing emails you want to export contact information from.
  3. The contacts found in those folders are divided into a list divided into three groups:  More Relevant, Relevant, and Less Relevant.  Use the selection links to select/deselect groups of those contacts or the checkboxes to individually select/deselect the contacts you want to export.
  4. Check the export formats you would like for the email addresses and enter names for the files – Outlook distribution list, Outlook contact records, or CSV file.

Import Contacts into Popular Websites

Once you’ve created the list, you can import these contacts into any services that accept CSV files.  Here are import links for a few popular sites (log into the sites before clicking the links below):   

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

User Guide: Notification Managers

New in our latest release, Notification Managers move automated emails from your Inbox into a categorized view so that you can quickly process notifications without interruption.  Use ClearContext templates or create your own customized notification managers.

Notification Manager Summary

As you receive messages that meet the criteria of an enabled Notification Manager, messages will be moved into the Notification Manager’s home folder and automatically categorized.  View a summary of all of your Notification Managers on the Notifications tab of FolderContext or on the summary Dashboard (Pro only). 

Home Folder   

Click on the home folder of an individual Notification Manager to see a more detailed, categorized view of your notifications:

Click on a category in the home folder to mark all unread messages in that category as read, jump to a link associated with the current category or filter message display in the folder.  The latter function is available in Outlook 2007 only.   

Use the options menu to:   

  • Jump from the current folder to the dashboard for this Topic (Pro Only)
  • Edit the parameters for this Notification Manager (more below)
  • Share the Notification Manager with a friend of colleague
  • Clear message filters set from individual categories (i.e. "View only…")

Templates   
ClearContext ships with two, preconfigured Notification Managers for managing Facebook and LinkedIn requests.  To enable:

  1. Open the Notifications tab in FolderContext    
  2. Click on a disabled notification manager
  3. Select yes when asked to enable
  4. Select a home folder for this Notification Manager

ClearContext will automatically move email from the selected service into the home folder and categorize by requests, invites, etc..  For more detail on these specific Notification Managers, see our notifications page.

Customized Notification Managers   
Create your own notification managers to manage automated email messages:

Edit a notification manager

  1. Open the Notifications tab in FolderContext or from the Dashboard (Pro Only).    
  2.    

  3. Select Actions > Create New Notification Manager.    
  4.    

  5. Select a folder that you will move these messages to – this can be an existing folder or a new folder – and click OK.    
  6.    

  7. The selected folder will be opened and the Notification Manager builder will appear.    
  8.    

  9. Give your Notification Manager a name. This is the name that will appear in the Notifications Summary.    
  10.    

  11. Click Add Rule to add a condition that will cause messages to be moved into this folder. For example, create a rule to move all messages from domain facebookmail.com to this folder. Please note that you can only add one rule for moving messages into this folder.    
  12.    

  13. If you would like, click Add Icon to add a 16×16 icon to display for this Dashboard.    
  14.    

  15. Click Add Category. This is how you will identify and track various classes of messages that are moved into this folder.    
  16.    

  17. Give the Category a Display name and a Category Name. The latter is an Outlook category that is assigned to incoming messages that meet the criteria you set.    
  18.    

  19. Add rules(s) that will cause this category to be assigned to an incoming message in this folder. Extending the example above, create a subject rule that assigns category Friend Request to all messages from facebookmail.com that arrive with the word friend in the subject. Please note that an OR condition is applied when multiple rules are entered – if an email arrives that meets any one of the rules you have set, the category will be assigned.    
  20.    

  21. Add a link to this category by clicking the Add Link button. This link will appear in the category’s action menu. For example, you might add a direct link to your Facebook friends approval page here.    
  22.    

  23. Change the appearance of this tab or add a 16×16 icon as desired.    
  24.    

  25. Repeat steps 8 through 12 to add as many categories as you would like.    
  26.    

  27. When you have completed building the dashboard, press Save and restart Outlook.

Use regular expressions to create complex criteria for category assignment in the Notification Manager.  Details on regular expression syntax are available here.

Import/ExportNotification Manager Summary Actions   
Share a Notification Manager via Options > Send this Notification Manager.  Import Notification Managers from the Notifications Summary in FolderContext or the Dashboard (Pro Only).

Disable/Delete   
Disable a Notification Manager by right clicking it in the Notification summary and selecting Disable Notifications.  You may delete a notification manager by removing it from the Dashboard directory in Windows:

  1. Close Outlook    
  2. Locate your ClearContext program directory:   
            

    • Vista: C:\Users\{USER_NAME}\AppData\Local\ClearContext\ClearContext Information Management System\Dashboards\  OR  C:\Program Files\ClearContext\ClearContext Information Management System\Dashboards\
    •        

    • XP: C:\Documents and Settings\{USER_NAME}\Local Settings\Application Data\ClearContext\ClearContext Information Management System\Dashboards\
  3.    

  4. Delete the XML file that corresponds to the Notification Manager that you want to remove

Jump to Folder

Jump to Folder

While viewing the Notifications Summary, quickly open a Notification Manager home folder by right clicking the title for the Notification Manager and selecting Jump to Folder.

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

User Guide: Attachment Explorer

New in our latest release, the Attachment Explorer allows you to preview attachments within Outlook folders as if you were viewing them in a Windows file folder.

Attachment Explorer in Outlook

Preview    
While in the folder you want to explore, launch the Attachment Explorer in one of several ways:

  • Click the Attachments button on the Inbox toolbar.  This button is available by default in Personal, but must be added to the Pro toolbar.
  • Select Attachment Explorer from the ClearContext Outlook menu (Keyboard Shortcut Alt-XA)
  • From the Files tab in FolderContext, select Actions > Open Attachment Explorer
  • From a Project Dashboard (Pro Only) click the Attachment Explorer icon Explorer Icon Dashboard.

Once you have opened the folder you want to explore, click on a file in the left hand pane to see a preview in the right hand pane.  Some file types cannot be previewed.

Change views    
While in the Attachment Explorer, there are several ways to change the file display:

  • Select the Views header to choose various views, switching to a smaller detailed list of the attachments in this folder, larger thumbnails, etc..
  • Click the Sort Header to change sorting by attachment name, type, received date, etc..
  • Drag the bar between the attachment list and the previewer to change the width of these panes.

Act    
Attachment Explorer ActionsSelect files in the attachment explorer by clicking on them.  Right click or select Actions to quickly act on these attachments.  Options include:

  • Open the messages containing the selected attachments
  • Open the attachments themselves
  • Save the attachments to a file folder
  • Forward the attachments via email

Quickly Open Messages

Double-clicking an attachment in the file list will automatically open the message it is attached to.  Quickly open the email that contains the attachment you are previewing by clicking the link at the bottom of the preview pane.

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

User Guide: FolderContext

New in our latest release, FolderContext automatically displays all attachments and contacts contained in the current folder so that you can quickly locate the information you need.

 

FolderContext

 

FolderContext is integrated into the folder list for all supported Outlook folders.  Expand and minimize by pressing the +/- button in the header.  There are three tabs on FolderContext – Files, Contacts and Notifications.

Files   
FolderContext Files ActionsThe Files tab shows all attachments contained in the current folder.  For attachments that appear in more than one message, click the more button to see a list of all emails that contain the file.

Perform the following actions from within the Files tab:

  • Double-click a file to open the most recent message to contain that attachment.
  • Highlight message(s) and right click or select the Actions menu to open the message containing the attachment, open the attachment itself or forward or save the selected files.
  • Sort the file listing via the Actions menu.

Contacts   
FolderContext Contacts ActionsThe Contacts tab automatically lists all contacts contained in the To and From fields of the folder’s emails.  The colored contact icon indicates the assigned priority for the contact.  For contacts that exist in the Outlook address book, click more to show additional contact details.  Click create to quickly new contacts to the address.

Perform the following actions from within the Contacts tab:

  • Double-click a contact to open the contact record.  Adjust priority from here to improve Outlook prioritization.
  • Highlight contact(s) and right click or select the Actions menu to email or set up an appointment with the group, export contacts to a file or create a distribution list.  You can also invite others to try ClearContext from here.
  • Sort the contact list via the Actions menu.

Notifications   
FolderContext Notifications TabThe Notifications Summary displays a summary of all active notification managers.

  • Click the +/- next to the header for each Notification Manager to expand message categories.
  • Right-click individual Notification Managers to enable/disable and/or jump to its home folder.
  • Select Actions > Import Notification Manager to import a new Notification Manager into Outlook.
  • Select Actions > Create New Notification Manager to create your own custom message view.

More detail on Notification Managers is available here.

FolderContext Tips

Pro Users: When in a Topic folder, select Jump to Dashboard from the Actions button to open a Project Dashboard.

Share Project Files: Has a new person joined your team?  Get them up to speed by opening your project folder, selecting all attachments in the Files Tab and forwarding to them.

Create a Project Meeting List: From the Contacts tab, select all contacts in your Project, right click and select Create Dist List to quickly add these contacts to an Outlook distribution list.

The complete ClearContext Personal and Professional User Guide, including a downloadable PDF, is available here.

ClearContext v4.5 User guide Available

button_user_guideThe ClearContext User Guide has been updated to v4.5 and now includes information on the tabbed Dashboard, FolderContext, Attachment Explorer and Notification Managers.  View it online here.  If you want it offline, grab the downloadable PDF at the bottom of the page.  I’ll be posting some of the updates to the blog over the next few days.

ClearContext v4.5.2 Available

We pushed out a minor point release late last week to address the following:

  • Improved Dashboard performance when opening multiple tabs
  • Stability during periodic thread cleanup
  • Calendar display range default in Outlook 2003
  • Taskline date display in Dashboard Tasks and Actions
  • Added RV: to list of known prefixes to better support Spanish language threading

If you are experiencing issues related to the items above, we suggest you download and upgrade from here.

CNN: Experts reveal e-mail nightmares, safety tips

CNN ran an article today on email horror stories:

“With some 55 billion e-mails being sent daily (not including spam), according to e-mail archiving company The Radicati Group, misdirected e-mails have become the online equivalent of a wrong number. They’re unavoidable, annoying — and often embarrassing.”

There are a few tips for avoiding the problem, but they miss the easiest and most effective way to mitigate the issue – use technology to delay sendingSee my earlier post on setting up Outlook to hold messages in the Outbox for a minute or two before pushing them out into the world.  This continues to be a lifesaver.

BTW, Gmail Labs tackles a similar problem in a way that is either brilliant or really dumb depending on how much drinking and mailing you are prone to do.

New in v4.5: Activity Log

image One new feature that I forgot to mention in yesterday’s "What’s New" post.  We’ve implemented an Activity Log so that you can see the last actions you took using ClearContext.  This is a quick way to find messages you recently filed.  Go to ClearContext > Activity Log to view.



 Log in.