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If you’re a fan of the Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar, but wish your upcoming appointments and tasks could be shown even when Outlook was minimized, I’ve got great news for you, you can do this today with the Outlook Sidebar Gadgets.
One of the new features introduced in Windows Vista is the Windows Sidebar, an application that allows gadgets—small applications that provide quick access to useful information or commands—to be displayed on your desktop or in the Sidebar.
The Sidebar presented a great opportunity for Outlook to surface the same information that we show in the To-Do Bar. To this end, we developed two Outlook gadgets: Outlook Appointments and Outlook Tasks. These gadgets can be used independently or together to provide at-a-glance information without the need to bring up Outlook.
The calendar gadget shows 3 or 5 of your upcoming appointments just as they would appear in the To-Do Bar. Appointments are colored based on assigned categories and show the title, time, and location. You can even double click an appointment to open the appointment in Outlook and see more details about the appointment, or to respond or otherwise interact with the appointment.
The task gadget shows all the tasks from your task list and lets you scroll up and down through the list. You can customize the view of your task list as well. By default the gadget shows your tasks grouped by due date, however, through the gadget options you can group by category, due date, start date, or importance. You can also select which groups to show, so if you only want to see high priority tasks or those with a particular category you can filter the view accordingly. To edit the gadget options, move your mouse cursor over the gadget, and click on the small wrench icon that appears by the top right corner of the gadget.
The task gadget also lets you interact with your task list. You can quickly add a new task (when Outlook is running). Just click in the gadget, type a task name, and press enter and a new task is created. You can also mark a task complete by checking the box next to the task.
Because the gadgets are always running in the Sidebar, you can quickly see when your next appointment is and what your next tasks are. If you have a higher resolution monitor you can use the Sidebar options to make the Sidebar always on top so your gadgets and Outlook appointments and tasks are always visible. If you have a smaller screen, you can leave the Sidebar with the default setting and when you want to see have you have to do next, use a hotkey (Windows key + Spacebar) to bring the gadgets to the top of all applications
Both gadgets are available on the Windows Live Gadget Gallery, or by clicking the links below:
Ryan GreggProgram Manager, Outlook
One other point I forgot to mention: If you change your Office theme, these gadgets will update (next time they refresh) to match the theme. Therefore, if you'd rather see black/gray gadgets instead of blue, just change your Office theme over and the gadgets will update.
Earlier in XP it was possible to share Outlook contacts with Windows Address Book by setting a registry value. Is this possible in Vista/Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2007 on XP?
Damn, my 24" TFT is to small for all this useful gadgets ;)
Now what would be great is a gadget that would display number of emails sent, received in a day and in a week.
If only they show all day appointments...sigh
How can we get this gadgets to work in a non-english version of Vista?
Why does the To-Do bar (and thus this side bar) not have the option to display all day appointments? This is my biggest pet peeve with Outlook 2007. It's like they don't even exist!
How about a gadget that lists your five most recent emails in a chosen folder, and boldfaces the ones that are unread. And then, how about a gadget that combines the task, calendar, and email gadget into one?
Has this gadget been updated in the past few months? I tried the taskbar gadget out several months ago when I first got my Vista laptop. I often sync my laptop with my PDA but this gadget appears to only refresh when you manually launch Outlook. This rather defeats the purpose of running the gadget in the first place, no?
Fails to run, just like the previous version. Fails to update details and offers to launch Outlook...
Debbie: You're right, the gadgets only refresh when Outlook is running. The goal of this generation of gadgets is just to provide easier access to data. That way, you don't need to interrupt your current task by switching to Outlook to see if you have a meeting or task that needs attention.
I'll make sure your feedback is passed along. Seahorse: When you say fails to run, what does that mean? Do the gadgets start up but not show any data? How do you have your Outlook configured (what accounts, where is your calendar and task data stored)?
Outlook is feed by my ISP and 2 gmail accounts. I run 1 default diary and store all mail in a PST on my data Hard Drive. The reminder gadget runs with or without OL07 running and displays a message saying "No data available". Clicking Launch Outlook has no effect. Refreshing calendr appears for 20 or so seconds then gadget displays "No data Available" I'm using a fully patched Vista32 Ultimate. Personal folders are E:\data\mail.pst. Archive in C:\users\username\appdata\local\microsoft\outlook Presume Gadget is looking at C:...
I think this is a flaw in Outlook 2007 that a gadget can't fix...but what if I have subscribed to iCal calendars? Can this gadget pull appointments from different calendars? For instance, I don't just want to know that my personal calendar is empty for tonight, I want to know from the coach's ical calendar that my son's baseball game is tonight.
Greetings.. This is a great tool; it allows me to keep Outlook off except when I have decided to do email! This works better for me than working offline. Two features would make it a bit better ... 1- Allow the gadget to FILTER by one attribute and SORT by another. I would like to be able to filter on TODAY's tasks but show them by Importance. 2- If the gadget could pop (or otherwise show) reminders when Outlook is closed. I use tasks with due dates to track things due to me, and reminders to know when to follow up. Note #1 -- I am a fan of the "Total Workday Control" approach by Michael Linenberger.
--> www.workdaycontrol.com Note #2 -- I LIKE the non-display of all day events. I deal with them in my morning planning session and create a task or a specific time appointment. Thanks!
Heey, can you help me? I want this gadget too. But it don't working for my sidebar. I have everything in Dutch, but he shows nothing in all gadgets. Please send me ans answer back. Rbeijers@hotmail.com grtz remco