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September 2006 : outlook


  sharing tasks with others

Outlook tasks are a lot like electronic Post-It notes. But instead of writing paper to-dos and sticking them all over your computer and desk, you can type them in your Tasks list instead.

This allows you to view all of your tasks in one place, send and receive tasks to and from coworkers, receive due date reminders, and even share your tasks so that others can see what you're up to.

Sharing tasks is especially useful for helping employers keep track of their employees' workloads. Instead of having to travel from cubicle to cubicle checking up on who needs work, who's bottle-necked, and what projects are coming up, a manager can view others' Tasks lists with a simple click of the mouse.

In this article, we'll focus on sharing tasksóboth how you can share your tasks, and how you can view others' tasks.

Getting started

To display the Tasks list, click Tasks in Outlook's Navigation Pane (in the Outlook Bar for Outlook 2000 & 2002). You can share your Tasks list with anyone who has an e-mail account set up on your Microsoft Exchange Server, and you can choose to share your tasks with everyone or just with selected users.

Sharing tasks with all users

To allow everyone to see your tasks, click Share My Tasks in the Tasks pane (in Outlook 2000 & 2002, right-click the Tasks folder in the Folder List, then select Properties from the shortcut menu. Select View > Folder List from the menu, if necessary, to display the Folder List). The Tasks Properties dialog box appears. Click the Permissions tab.

Note: If you don't have an Exchange Server e-mail account, Share My Tasks won't even appear in the Navigation Pane.

In the Name box, click Default (unless it's already selected). Click the Permission Level list arrow in the Permissions area (called the Roles list arrow in Outlook 2000) and select the permission level you want to grant. If you're sharing your tasks with everyone, you'll probably want to select Reviewer, so that users can read your tasks, but can't create or edit tasks in your list.

Depending on the permission level you grant, different options will be check-marked for you in the Permissions area.

Sharing tasks with selected users

Because you may not always want everyone sticking their nose into your business, you can be more selective about who you share your tasks with.

To share your tasks with only selected individuals, display the Tasks Properties dialog box like you did before. But this time, click the Add button instead of clicking Default. The Add Users dialog box appears.

Type the name of the person you want to share your tasks with in the Type Name or Select from List text box, or click their name in the list. Then click the Add button in the Add Users area. Continue adding additional users the same way, as desired, and click OK when you're finished.


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In the Name list, select the name(s) of the user(s) you just added and click the Permission Level (or Roles) list arrow. Select a permission level.

Note: If you are adding multiple users, you can either select them all together and assign the same permission levels, or you can add them at different times and give them different permissions.

Viewing other users' tasks

Outlook 2003: If other people have given you permission to view or work with their tasks, you can access them by clicking Open Shared Tasks in the Tasks pane. The Open Shared Tasks dialog box appears.

Either type the person's name or click the Name button, click their name in the list, and click OK. Click OK in the Open Shared Tasks dialog box. If you have adequate permissions, the user's tasks will appear, with the user's name listed in the title bar, Tasks list heading, and pane. To return to your own Tasks list, click Tasks in the My Tasks area of the pane.

Outlook 2000 and 2002: Select File > Open > Other User's Folder from the menu. Click the Name button. Double-click the name of the person whose tasks you want to open. Click the Folder arrow and select the Tasks folder, if necessary, then click OK.

  quick reference card

Get the Quick Reference Card on Microsoft Outlook!  Download it for free and print it on your own printer.  You might even want to laminate it.

  getting too much junk mail?

One of my clients is MX Resources, a reseller of the award-winning Postini junk mail filtering service.  If your current spam filtering isn't working, visit the MX Resources website (which I designed) and give Matthew a call.

  screen shots

The following screen shot(s) illustrate this article.  Click on one for a larger view.