Roll Your Own Notification Managers

Notification ManagersIn the latest release we implemented notification managers – a tool for handling emails that regularly clog up your Inbox.  You know the ones – notifications from online services, automated log and email alerts from IT applications, receipts and status from e-commerce sites, etc..  Notification Managers are designed to get these out of the Inbox and categorize them in a way that makes it easy to review when you’re ready.

We ship with two Notification Managers by default – one for LinkedIn and one for Facebook.  Enable these by clicking on them in the Notifications tab of FolderContext.  You can also create your own Notification Manager and share it with friends and colleagues.  Here are step by step instructions for doing that:

  1. Open the Notifications tab in FolderContext.
  2. Select Actions > Create New Notification Manager.
  3. Select a folder that you will move these messages to – this can be an existing folder or a new folder – and click OK.
  4. The selected folder will be opened and the Notification Manager builder will appear.
  5. Give your Notification Manager a name. This is the name that will appear in the Notifications Summary.
  6. 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 to this folder. Please note that you can only add one rule for moving messages into this folder.
  7. If you would like, click Add Icon to add a 16×16 icon to display for this Dashboard.
  8. Click Add Category. This is how you will identify and track various classes of messages that are moved into this folder.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Change the appearance of this tab or add a 16×16 icon as desired.
  13. Repeat steps 8 through 12 to add as many categories as you would like.
  14. When you have completed building the dashboard, press Save and restart Outlook.

Once the dashboard is complete and Outlook has been restarted, incoming messages that meet the criteria you set up will be automatically moved into your dashboard topic folder:

  • When you click on the folder, your categories will appear as tabs across the top of the preview pane along with counts of unread messages that appear in the folder for each category.
  • Click on each category tab to mark items read, filter the folder to show messages from that category only, or open a link that you have set up for the category.
  • Click Show Read Items to show counts of all items by category rather than unread.
  • Select Options > Edit This Notification Manager to change the parameters you have set.
  • Select Options > Jump to Project Dashboard to open a Dashboard tab for this Topic.
  • Select Options > Send this Notification Manager to share with friends and colleagues.

We envision that you will come up with many creative ways to use the functionality. Please tell us how you use the Notification Managers and give us feedback on how you would like to see the functionality grow.