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This method is based on treating a Project as if it were an Outlook Contact item. As a result, you can link all of your associated tasks, contacts, notes, journal entries, documents and any other “objects” to your project, and view them from an Activities Tab, just as you would with a “person” contact.
You can maintain a simple list of projects and “drill down” through the Outlook forms to any level of detail desired. You can display your Next Actions on any task list or your calendar. You will have a complete history of your project at any time, and can archive that history if necessary. You can employ the full sorting, filtering and viewing capability of Outlook on any of your project data.

You can implement this method with no complicated customization of Outlook, though a couple of minor tricks illustrated on these pages will polish the look of your project management.

For those of you who use Outlook 2007, please read here what additional steps needs to be taken to make it work.

Here are a few screenshots to give you an idea of where we are going with this.


Follow the steps below for details on implementing this idea. Most of the setup and implementation will be very natural if you are an Outlook user.

Step 1 ... Create a "Projects" folder in your PST
1. Display the Folder List (View, Folder List)
2. Right-Click your PST file in the folder list
3. Select "New Folder"
4. In the "Create New Folder" window,
- name your new folder "Projects"
- under "Folder Contains" select "Contact Items"
- place the new folder in your default PST
- Select "OK"


You'll now have a new folder in the list that is similar to your normal Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Calendar folders.

In the most simple implementation, you are ready to create Projects. You simply enter your project names as contacts in this new folder. You don't need to enter any information other than the "Full Name" of your project, though you may want to choose the correct format for the project name in the "File As" field.

However, you can make the use of your new Projects folder a bit more visually appealing, and calming to your sense of order, by creating (or downloading) a custom Projects form. This form will take the place of the "Contacts" form for inputting and viewing basic Project info.

If you've never created a custom Outlook form, this is a very easy one to start with, so you might want to give it a try. However, you're welcome to use mine, which can be downloaded from the link below. The key, in either case, is that the form is based on the standard Outlook "Contacts" form. This provides the ability to link to all your other Outlook items and is really the highlight of this approach.

Step 2 ... Define your Projects form as the default
1. Create a new form or download mine below (see File download at the end of the Article: "Project.oft") and publish it as the "Project" form in the Projects folder 2. Right-Click the Projects folder in the folder list
3. Select "Properties"
4. Select the "General" tab
5. In the "Projects Properties" window, select the "Project" form in the drop-down list next to "When posting in this folder, use:"


That's basically all there is to it -- you're ready to go. If you are accustomed to creating tasks, appointments, journal entries and other items linked to your contacts, you can begin doing so with the Projects now in exactly the same way. If you would like some additional help and hints on how to do this, then read on...

Step 3 ... Add Projects to your folder
1. Navigate to your Projects folder
2. Open a new Project form via the menu (Actions, New Project); or
3. Double-Click on "Click here to add anew Project" at the top of the Projects list
4. Fill in the Project Name field
5. Make any desired notes or outlines in the Notes area of the form
6. Save the form
7. Link any desired Contacts or assign any Categories in the normal Outlook fashion
Save and Close the form to add the Project to your Projects List



Step 4 ... Polish the look of your Projects list

our Projects folder in Table View probably still looks like a contacts folder, with column headings like "Full Name" or "File As". To make it look more like a Projects folder, customize the column headings for your table views. For example,

- In a Table View, Right-Click the column label at the top of the column
- Select "Format Columns"
- In the Format Columns Window, select "Full Name" from the Available Fields, and change the Label to "Project Name"

The table view will now look more like the one in Step 3 above. Repeat this process to re-label any columns in any of your table views.


Step 5 ... Link a Task to your Project

1. Highlight a Project in your table view of Projects
2. Right-Click the Project
3. Select "New Task for Contact"
4. Fill out the Task Form as you normally would for any Task

Note that your Task is linked to your Project via the Contacts field.



Step 6 ... View your Projects Activities & Links

1. Open your Project Form
2. Click on the "Activities" tab

All of your tasks, appointments, journal entries, contacts and notes are displayed. The view is customizable like any Outlook Table View.


Originally published by Mr. Kratz

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Hi, This work really well.
I have created my own form for tasks (IPM.Task.ProjectTask) and changed the default form in my Tasks Folder but when I created a task from the Projects(Contacts) Foler it uses the default form (IPM.Task). do you know how I can change this behavoir to use my form ??
Tim
Hi Tim, good to hear!
If you read "Step 2 ... Define your Projects form as the default" above, you should be able to point to your own form in Step 5.
how do you mean:
1) right after downloading and opening it, or
2) after having installed and pointed to it within outlook, as described above?
Do you use Exchange? That could be a problem if Outlook is configured not to allow import of .oft Files or changes thereof.

If this doesn't work, consider an alternative that might suit your needs:

Using "Company" as alternative field for indicating Projects in you...

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