Dec 12, 2012
In the previous article, Part 1, I described the reasons and realities of using gSyncit to sync tasks between ToodleDo and Outlook. In this article, Part 2, I tell you how to set it up. Make sure you read that previous article before proceeding with this one.
Not for faint at heart
One thing to keep in mind is that any time you sync data between two systems, things can go haywire; if you don’t set it up right, you may end up messing up your existing task data. And even if it works right, due to variations between the systems, the lists are probably going to look different. So don’t even consider this exercise unless you are ready to deal with all that. And don’t flame the gSyncit folks or me when that happens. This is moderately advanced stuff—don’t play unless you have thought through and understand what’s going on.
Also, make sure both your Outlook and ToodleDo have matching MYN or 1MTD settings installed. Otherwise the lists will definitely look like they did not sync correctly, even if they did.
Okay, with those warnings in place, first, get a copy of gSyncit here and install it in Outlook (installation is pretty straight forward).
Once installed in Outlook, it shows up as a separate menu or tab. Here’s how it looks in Outlook 2010.
Only one use-case shown here
gSyncit is a general-purpose Outlook sync utility that can be used to sync Outlook’s tasks, calendar items, contacts, notes, and so on, all into a number of other applications. There are a ton of possible uses here, but we’re only going to use it for one use-case: to sync Outlook tasks with ToodleDo. If you have other purposes in mind, go for it—just don’t ask us how to do it! And, the instructions below are only for syncing tasks with the MYN and 1MTD task systems in mind.
Prep before first Sync
I am amazed at the number of settings in gSyncit—it is a powerful program with a lot of thought and flexibility designed into it. And for the sync we are doing here, you do want to change quite a few of those settings before the first sync—I cover those below. But first, here are some prep activities to do first:
- I recommend you back up your tasks before the first sync so you can undo everything if you don’t like the results.
- Next, if you have years’ worth of tasks usage, you may want to clear out your completed tasks before the first sync. These are usually hidden and you may not realize how many you have. They do slow down each sync a bit, even if you tell gSyncit it to ignore them (as in settings below).
- Next, you also should decide whether ToodleDo or Outlook is your primary system (which one syncs first, and which one rules if a conflict exists on a task).
- And then my next recommendation is this: before syncing the first time, clear all the tasks out of the non-primary system. That’s not required, but I think it makes sense to avoid confusion when deciding if the first sync worked or not, and to avoid possibly overwriting some tasks in your primary task system. In my case I made Outlook primary and cleared all tasks out my ToodleDo account (there is a button at the bottom of the ToodleDo Settings window that will empty the ToodleDo task database in one step). This is just for the first sync; after that, per settings below, gSyncit will sync in both directions.
Settings First Step: Setting up the Tasks Mapping
Okay, here are the one-time settings you need to make to configure gSyncit. This only takes about 5 minutes.
In the gSyncit tab or menu as show above, click the Settings button. Expand the Toodledo Sync bar on the left, and you’ll then see this screen.
Then choose Task Sync in the subsection as shown. In version 4 click the New button at the bottom.
As shown below for version 3, you next enter your ToodleDo account info. Use the same email as you use to access ToodleDo, and then click the Verify Account button to make sure you entered it right. Version 4 has you enter the password at the Toodledo site, not as shown below
If you have standard MYN settings at Toodledo, then leave Task Folder at All Tasks.
Then click the Select Folder button on right to select your Outlook Tasks folder, and find your main tasks folder in that folder tree—its path will then be entered into the space to its left.
Don’t click OK yet, you have more to do here.
Setting up the Sync Options
Activate the Sync Options tab next. Settings in this tab vary depending on whether you are using 1MTD or MYN. If using MYN, and running the sync unattended as I described in Part 1, then just set them as below (version 3 shown here; options are in a slightly different order in version 4 and some are omitted in vers 4). Decide whether Outlook or ToodleDo is primary and set the top setting accordingly.
If you are running the sync attended (you will be at the Outlook computer during sync), you may want to clear the box labeled Automatically continue synchronizing on failure, and set the box labeled Confirm deleting tasks.
And if you are using 1MTD instead of MYN, and using due dates on tasks, you probably want to click the box labeled Sync Outlook task reminder date/time with ToodleDo task due date/time. MYN users should not do that (see Part 1 for explanation).
Skip the Categories Tab (advanced users may want to consider it—it maps Outlook Categories to ToodleDo Folders, but I offer no help on that).
Set up the Other tab as below:
But if you are using 1MTD, and using due dates on tasks, you probably want to click the two middle boxes that refer to due dates and alarms.
Now click OK, and then click OK on the main Settings window. That’s it for the settings.
Run the Sync
Now it’s safe to run your first Sync! To do this you can either click the Sync Tasks button or you can simply click the large Sync button as shown at the left of the very first figure above. The latter works too because in your mapping you did not set anything else up—it will only sync tasks. In either case, you’ll see a dialog box that shows gSyncit is at work. When the dialog box disappears, the sync is done.
Examine Your Synced Tasks, Confirm Success
After running the sync, examine the tasks in the receiving (non-primary) system and confirm all worked okay. Keep in mind that sorting and filtering may be different across the two systems. Even with MYN settings installed in both places, there could be some differences. For example, tasks with the same date may sort differently within that date group; so take that into account as you examine the differences. In other words, the sync may have worked fine but the tasks are just listed differently, so don’t jump to negative conclusions.
And remember, as discussed in Part 1, since MYN users put start dates on all tasks, Outlook will auto-populate all the due dates. And so on the first or second sync, gSyncit on Outlook will copy those due dates into all your ToodleDo tasks. When that happens, just ignore them; you probably should even hide the due date field in ToodleDo.
If all went well, congratulations! You now have the same tasks in both places, and you now have a way to keep these two task servers in-sync!
If things look wrong, well, unless you had a question about MYN or 1MTD, you’ll need to reach out to the gSyncit folks to get technical support—I am not set up to handle that. Go to the page where you downloaded the software.
Scheduling Automatic Synchronizations
As I mentioned in Part 1, I allow gSyncit to run unattended on a PC in my office while I am traveling. I need to do this since I don’t always carry an Outlook computer with me, and I want all tasks consistently synced for when I use my many mobile devices.
If you need this too, you’ll want to set up gSyncit so it runs on a schedule. Here’s how you do that.
Open the Settings window like we did before, and under Application Settings, click Sync Options as shown below for version 3 (in version 4 the options are in a different order and some are omitted). Then adjust the settings on the right as needed. Note how I did it in the figure below (you may want to tweak these settings a bit). Then click OK. Don’t forget you need to leave Outlook on that computer running all the time for the sync to run.
Well, that’s it, that’s how to set up gSyncit to keep your ToodleDo and Outlook tasks in sync. Let me know how it goes!