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Nexus tasks using Outlook 2007


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Nexus provides an electronic to-do list known as Tasks. You can add tasks, either by simply typing them in or by turning an email message into a task. You can set a completion date or time, and track progress as you work through the task. You can also assign tasks to others and receive notification when the task is updated or completed.

You can access your Tasks in different ways, and you can change the way your tasks are displayed, how they are ordered and so on. You can re-arrange them, edit them and print lists of your tasks (or a selection of them).

Figure images/tasks.png [The Outlook 2007 Task display window showing a list of tasks in the middle window.]

Like other Nexus features, you can also share tasks and delegate management of them. You can also assign tasks to others and monitor their progress.

This section tells you how to get started using Tasks. If you would like to follow a self-paced course, you can try Managing Tasks with Outlook 2003 Using MS Outlook 2003 which is available as a pdf-file. Chapters 21 and 22 deal with Tasks.



1. Creating a task

You can see your tasks in different places in Outlook 2007 — in the Tasks feature as such, in the To-Do Bar, and at the bottom of your calendar (day and week view).

Figure images/tasks1.png [Part of Navigation pane with Tasks highlighted]

Figure images/tasks2.png [Tasks in Calendar view]

You can create/add tasks in different ways. One way is to start from the To-Do List panel in the Task feature window. Simply click where it says Click here to add a new Task". Type in a subject for your task and add a due date (optional). The task then appears among your previously listed tasks.

Figure images/tasksTodo1.png [Task feature window. To-Do List in middle panel, "Click here to add a new Task" circled ]

If you double-click on Click here to add a new Task or on a blank line in the To-Do List, this opens a new, blank task screen where you can enter information about a new task.

Figure images/tasksCreate.png [New blank task display]

You can also turn an email message into a task. Simply click on your message (in the Email display) and drag-and-drop it onto the Tasks icon (highlighted in the screen-shot Figure 4, Task feature window with To-Do List)



1.1. Add or edit information about a task

If you want to add or edit information about a task you use the task screen Figure 5, Task screen. Find the task in the task list and double-click on it to display its task screen.

Once you have opened a task screen, you can add or edit information about the task, such as a subject, when it is due, and a description. You can also set up a reminder.

The bar above the tasks list offers short-cuts to some of the many options you have at your disposal when working with your tasks. The Options part of the bar lets you assign categories/lables to your tasks, set a date for follow-up, mark a task as recurring and label a task as private.



2. Working with tasks

Display tasks
You can change the way your tasks are displayed. By using the list under the Current view heading in the left-hand panel, you can quickly change from one view to another, for example displaying all tasks, only tasks that are due this week, tasks listed according to category and so on.

Figure images/tasksView.png [Current view list showing listing options, such as Simple List, Detailed List, Active Tasks and more]

Sorting tasks
You can sort the displayed tasks by simply clicking on one of the headings above the task list. If you click on Due Date, your tasks will be displayed sorted by their due date. If you click on Subject, the tasks are listed alphabetically according to their subject. What headings you see varies between different views. If you have set your current view to Detailed List or By Person Responsible you see more headings than if you have selected Simple List.

Figure images/tasksSort.png [Sorting tasks pane displayed with three tasks listed]

Marking progress
You can keep track of how your work is progressing by indicating how much of a task has been completed and/or how much time you have spent on it. This is done on the task screen for the individual task. You can set the status ('In Progress', 'Deferred' etc), how much is completed (in %) and the priority. The Details button (in the Show part of the banner above the task list) offers you the option of entering more details, including the number of hours spent on a task.

Figure images/tasks50.png [Showing task screen with 50 added for '% Complete']

Completed tasks
You can mark a task as completed either using the task screen (use the Status or % Completed option, or click on the Mark Complete button in the top banner) or by simply clicking the tick-box in front of the task in the task list (available in Simple List view). Completed tasks are crossed out but remain in your list of tasks (from where you can delete them if you go to the [Edit] menu and select Delete command or click on the Delete button on the navigation bar)

Figure images/tasksSimple.png [Task list with 'completed' boxes, one ticked]



3. Shared tasks



3.1. Sharing your tasks

You can share your task with other Nexus users and decide what they are able to do with your tasks (this is different from assigning tasks to others, as described below, and delegating access, described on another page).

  1. To share your tasks, click on Share My Tasks folder in the left-hand pane of your tasks screen.

    Figure images/tasksShare.png [Tasks screen with Share My Tasks option]

  2. A Sharing Request message is generated.

    Figure images/tasksSharereq.png [Sharing Request message]

  3. Click on the To... button and select the person(s) whom you are giving permission to share your tasks from the list. Click OK.
  4. If you are asking for permission to see the recipient's tasks too, tick the Request permission to view recipient's Task folder. You can edit the subject and add a message.
  5. Click Send to send the message and invite the recipients to see your tasks.


3.2. Viewing shared tasks

When someone invites you to see their tasks, you will receive an email message about it.

Figure images/tasksInvite.png []

To see the shared tasks, simply click on the Open this Tasks folder button at the top of the message (if your message does not contain such a button, open your email in Outlook).

You should now be able to see the tasks of this person in a separate window.



4. Assigning tasks to others

In addition to using Nexus Tasks to manage your own work, you can also set up tasks to be preformed by other Nexus users. This is called making a Task request. For example, if you are the manager of a project, you may want to set up tasks and assign them to other people in the group. You will also be able to keep track of how the work is progressing.

The process of creating a task request is similar to creating a task for yourself. The main difference is that you assign the task to somebody else, who will then receive an email message about it with the option of accepting or declining the task. If they accept, the task is added to their task list. When they update or complete the task, an updated copy and/or a report is sent to you via email (optional).

Making a task request

  1. Open a new task request by going to the [Actions] menu and selecting New Task Request, or by clicking on [New] and selecting Task Request from the list.
  2. Complete information about the task, such as subject, description, due date, category and priority. If you want to be informed about changes to the task, select the appropriate option(s):
    • Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list (the task will be on your task list and change when other people make changes)
    • Send me a status report when this task is complete (you will be notified when the task has been completed)

    Figure images/tasksRequest.png [A Task request screen with some information added.]

  3. Click on the To button and select the task recipient from the list that pops up.
  4. Click Send to send the task request.

The task recipient will receive an email with information about the task and can choose to accept or decline. If they accept, the task is added to their task list.

If you have opted for that, you will be notified by email when the task is updated. When you open an update email, you will see the updated task. The task updates are added to your copy of the task in your task list when you close the email message.

When a task has been completed two messages are sent to you (assuming you have selected to be notified). In addition to the update message (which updates your copy of the task with the completion details) you get a final status report on the task, providing such information as start and end dates, duration of hours, and more.



5. Receiving a task request

When someone assigns a task request to you, you will receive an email message with information about the task. You can accept or decline the request by clicking on the relevant button at the top of the email message (assuming you are using an Outlook or Entourage client). If you accept the task, it is added to your task list.

Working on tasks assigned to you is no different from working on your own tasks; you can add information to the text field, update how much you have completed, etc. However, when an assigned task is updated or completed, the requestor will be notified (assuming they have opted for this).

You can choose to send a status report at any time, either to the person who assigned the task or someone else. Click on the Send Status Report icon in the top banner of the Task screen to generate an email message with information about the current status.

Figure images/tasksStatus.png [The top banner of a tasks screen showing, among other things, the Send Status Report button.]

Add any comments you want to include. Click on the To button and select the recipient(s) from the list that pops up. Click Send to send the message.


6. Where next?

Now that you have learned about Nexus tasks using Outlook 2007 you may like to have a look at some other Nexus features:

If you have any problems, in the first instance you should contact your local (College or Department) IT staff. If they cannot help then please contact the OUCS Helpcentre for further assistance.