While using Outlook 2007 as my GTD tool, one of the things I’ve been missing is having the ability to rename tasks on the fly.  Here’s a pretty common situation: 

 

·         A new message arrives with the subject of “RE: Purchase Order”.  It’s from Jack, and after reading the Email I realize that I need to call Bob to confirm the quantity.

·         I flag it as a task in Outlook, assign some categories (let’s say @Office and ProjectX), and move it to my tasks folder.

·         As you may know, this creates a new task with the subject of “RE: Purchase Order”.  What I really want however is to change the name of the task to something more descriptive – for example “Speak to Bob about quantity required for the order”.

 

You can do this renaming in the to-do list, but this requires the step of going into the to-do list, finding the aforementioned task and then changing the name in the list. 

 

After figuring out that I needed something more automated, I wrote the following macro:

 

Function FileFolderEntryId() As String
   
    Dim myolApp As Outlook.Application
    Dim myNamespace As Outlook.NameSpace
    Dim myInbox As Outlook.folder
    Dim rootFolder As Outlook.folder
    Dim subFolders As Outlook.Folders
    Dim subFolder As Outlook.folder
    Dim fileFolder As Outlook.folder
    Dim fileEntryID As String
    Dim fileFolderName As String
   
     'Set the folder name - must be at the same level as the inbox
    fileFolderName = "File"
   
    ' Move the the file folder
    Set myolApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
    Set myNamespace = myolApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")
    Set myInbox = myNamespace.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)
    Set rootFolder = myInbox.Parent
    Set subFolders = rootFolder.Folders
   
    Set subFolder = subFolders.GetFirst
    Do While Not subFolder Is Nothing
        If subFolder.Name = fileFolderName Then
            fileEntryID = subFolder.EntryID
            Exit Do
        End If
        Set subFolder = subFolders.GetNext
    Loop
   
    ' return the entry ID for the file folder
    FileFolderEntryId = fileEntryID

End Function

 

Sub NewTask()

   

    Dim item As MailItem

    Dim myolApp As Outlook.Application

    Dim myNamespace As Outlook.NameSpace

    Dim fileFolder As Outlook.folder

    Dim newName As String

       

    ' Pick the category

    Set item = Outlook.Application.ActiveExplorer.Selection.item(1)

           

    ' Mark as unread

    item.UnRead = False

    item.Save

    item.ShowCategoriesDialog

   

    'validate to see whether two categories exist, including an action

    If (item.categories <> "") Then

        If (InStr(item.categories, "@") > 0) Then

            If (InStr(item.categories, ",") > 0) Then

           

            ' Set the follow up flag

            item.MarkAsTask (olMarkNoDate)

           

            ' Move the item to the file folder

            Set myolApp = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")

            Set myNamespace = myolApp.GetNamespace("MAPI")

            Set fileFolder = myNamespace.GetFolderFromID(FileFolderEntryId())

           

            ' Ask for a different name if required

            newName = InputBox("Please enter a subject for the task:", "Task Subject", item.TaskSubject)

            item.TaskSubject = newName

            item.Save

           

            item.Move fileFolder

            End If

        End If

    End If

   

End Sub

 

The above does everything for me – assigns the categories, and prompts me for a task subject before moving it to my file folder (highlighted).  What’s really nice about this is that the subject of the underlying Email remains the same (it’s only the task’s subject that changes).  This means that after I’ve spoken to Bob about the quantity, the reply to the original Email from Jack will still have the original subject of “RE: Purchase Order”.  Pretty Cool.

 

*** Update:  Fixed post with the FileFolderEntryId() function ***