Feb 14, 2013
In MYN start dates are huge. Using them you can hide tasks until you are ready to consider them. And they are especially important when using Defer-to-Review to prevent a long list of Low priority tasks from overwhelming you. When using Defer-to-Review, you often need to change a large number of start dates all at once to the same new, future date. You normally cannot do that in Outlook, but there is a trick that lets you do it (Windows Outlook). This article shows how.
Use the Tasks Folder (Not the To-Do Bar or To-Do List Folder)
You are going to use the Outlook Tasks folder to do this (instead of the To-Do Bar, which is what we usually use in MYN in Windows Outlook).
[UPDATE 3/3/2013 ] And make sure you navigate to the Tasks folder, not the To-Do List folder. So after clicking on Tasks in the lower-left corner of the Outlook window, then, in the My Tasks section on the upper left, select the Tasks folder; it’s usually the second item down. Thanks to Jerry’s comment below for making that clarification!
Add Start Date Column
In the Tasks folder, you need to add the Start Date column if it’s not already there. The instructions in Lesson 3 of the Outlook book teaches you how to modify the column list in the To-Do Bar task list; you can use those same concepts to add a Start Date in the Tasks folder view. Or right-click any header label and choose Field Chooser, and drag the Start Date into the view. Either way, you only need to do this once, and after that you can use it as often as needed to make bulk start date changes.
Steps for Bulk Changes:
- Change at least one task to the start date that you want to set a lot of other tasks to.
- In the Tasks folder (not the To-Do List folder) group by Start Date (right-click on the Start Date column label in the header and choose Group by This Field). You’ll notice that small date-blocks form for each date (see image above).
- Now find and Ctrl- or Shift- select the tasks you want to change the dates on, and then drag and drop them all at once onto the date group that corresponds to the new date. Their dates change to the new start date. That’s it!
Remove the Grouping
When done, to undo the start-date grouping, do this: see the Start Date block at the top left of the window in the image above? You may have to scroll up to see it in your list. Right-click that and choose Don’t Group by This Field. The grouping goes away, but that leaves a space at the top; so next, right click any column label and choose Group by Box to remove that space.
Grouping columns like this has lots of power. For example you could group first by priority, and then within that group, group by start date; that allows you to focus only on Low priority tasks. Multi-level grouping also can get messy and confusing fast, but the Group by Box will usually show you what’s going on and allow you to turn it all off again.