ForumsDevelopersHierarchical Tasks as Tasksubfolders

Hierarchical Tasks as Tasksubfolders
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Posted: Jan 29, 2009
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Dear forum readers,

although I like the GTD approach I never got quite down to the implementation in outlook as it is tedious work to create a project entry with all next actions in a master task list and then continously copy them to next action tasks.

Trying to recreate a hierarchical structure with parent-child entries in a custom field is a major programming task and does not make sense unless you create custom forms and views that can create a tree view.
Looking then at the folder tree in my Outlook I realised that Outlook actually supports hierarchies in tasks. You can just create Task subfolders and thus even recreate a project - subproject - subproject structure with all next actions contained in each.
Actually my to do list becomes more readable already.

For todo lists like Toodledo supporting hierarchical tasks natively it should be sufficient to create a task for the project/sub project plus a sub folder with the child tasks during Outlook sync.

A Windows Mobile phone does not sync sub folders out of the box (can be overcome with 3rd party synctools).

Also within Outlook 2003 reminders only fire from the main task folder (also 3rd party tool available) and the task pad in calendar view only displays tasks in the main task folder. In OL2007 I read both points are no issue anymore.

I am also thinking of writing some macros to move one active next action to the main task folder and when marked completed writing it back to its project folder it originates from. Next action can then be selected and moved to the task folder.

You need to create some report if you want to see all tasks of all sub folders. But iterating through an existing hierarchy is quite simple with a VBA macro.

Let me know what you think,

Posted: Jan 31, 2009
Score: 0 Reference
It's an interesting idea that i hadn't considered. I am not sure if the lack of OL2003 support for sub folders would be a deal breaker for my app, but it is worth considering.

Are you aware of the tdparent user property that the Outlook synch tool adds to tasks synched from Toodledo? This may make your macros programming task easier.


Posted: Feb 04, 2009
Score: 0 Reference
Hi Keef,

I read about that, honestly I have not set up toodletoo yet. I was actually trying to find some solution that allows me to sync my tasks between different outlooks as well as managing my tasks better (hierarchical). Roaming the web I found toodledoo and this forum.

So your Sync application does not sync subfolders?

I also found you can set reminders on sub folders with this free application, in case someone reads this and goes with my suggestion of task sub folders. (not tested yet)
Other Apps like Extended Reminders from Ken Slovak are not free.

To keep the overview over all those subfolders you can create SearchFolders for tasks (normally that works only for mail items but you can create it for other objects with VBA and with the help of the filter tool)
Check to find out how to do it.
If I refine that code, I will post it.

Best regards,
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