February 13, 2012 1:09 PM   Subscribe

How do I sync Outlook between two computers, as well as my iphone? Alternatively, how can I make a color coded to-do list/calendar that's accessible from several computers, as well as my iphone?

I'm REALLY new to Outlook. I actually never bothered to set it up til yesterday, when my advisor suggested it'd be a great way to manage the tasks associated with my dissertation writing. I really like it, particularly the part where I can check my email without technically being online, and where I can color code tasks, set deadlines, etc. I'm okay with paying a little, but I don't want to spend, like 50 dollars or something silly like that if there's a freeware thing I could use.

HOWEVER, I have two computers and an iphone, and I want them to talk to each other, and import the tasks I've added, as well as my calendar. Also, when I'm at the university I work at, I don't necessarily have access to Outlook, because my laptop can't connect to the wifi there yet. They're working on getting me access to the internet but IDK how long that'll take. I will, however, have a computer in my office that I can use that may or may not have Outlook on it already. I don't really know the details of that, so don't want to count on it. If it happens, that computer will definitely have internet on it.

Ideally, I'd be able to access a version of my to-do list from the last sync on my laptop OR a version of my to-do list hosted online somehow.... like an electronic gift from the office supply fairy!

The two computers I own are both PCs, running Outlook 2010. I'm assuming the PC the university will give me will be a PC as well, but IDK how up-to-date the software will be.

So far I have found this site: it recommends using ToodleDo... but the Chromatic Dragon link is dead. Help?

Alternatively, what other programs should I be checking out? I'm trying to manage ongoing research tasks, professional development opportunities, including blogging, speaking engagements, and WRITING FOR OTHERS, my editorial responsibilities for an academic journal, WRITE MY OWN SHIT, and be a supportive spouse/not horrible roommate. Some tasks recur (like laundry/dinner/cleaning) and others don't.
posted by spunweb to Technology (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, I forgot to say:

I've tried Google, and for some reason the format didn't really work for me. I think it's because when I'm writing/researching, I try not to be logged into anything because otherwise I'll chat or find other ways to procrastinate, or just plain-old forget what I'm doing. The thing I like the most about Outlook is its look -- it's very boring/bland/serious, so I'm not tempted to wander off mentally.
posted by spunweb at 1:17 PM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: I think there are far better dedicated task managers than Outlook, but if you one want totally integrated email/calendar/tasks/contacts world it is hard to beat.

The thing you want is an Exchange server. It's possible your college already has one -- check with them -- but if not, Microsoft will rent you one for $4 a month. I use the service, and it's near-perfect. Native apps on all my machines, and my phone, plus a not-bad web client when I'm not there. The sync is seamless.
posted by fightorflight at 1:32 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Heh, the price is right -- just wanted to confirm, though, that when it says calendars shared across devices that calendars includes tasks? I'm... disgustingly new at using technology to be organized. I'm just at a stage in my academic career where a binder and post it notes isn't a workable solution, y'know?
posted by spunweb at 1:48 PM on February 13, 2012

Yes, it definitely includes tasks. (I think it also might include cloud storage for OneNote books. I was a big fan of OneNote when I was studying, but it may not be included with your Office install)
posted by fightorflight at 2:17 PM on February 13, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, I have One Note. I haven't really figured out what it's for... :(
posted by spunweb at 2:20 PM on February 13, 2012

What email service are you using? Gmail, Yahoo, School Email?
posted by radioamy at 2:23 PM on February 13, 2012

I have been using gmail for years now and can't imagine using anything else since I use so many different computers. I do a lot of field work and travel for my dissertation so between different home computers, travel laptops, field laptops, computers in the lab at school, this is an awesome way to keep everything the same. I have turned off the instant message bit on my gmail page though since I agree it is hard to fight distractions.
posted by JayNolan at 2:24 PM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: I really like Google Calendar, especially lately since they've improved the color-coding aspect of it. The default calendar app for iPhone sucks, though, so I got one that I think is just called "Calendars" that syncs with Google Calendar and it's great, I just have a Google Calendar tab open in both my home and work computer, and between those and the iPhone, I always have the calendar handy. (I do have Outlook at work, but I'm not allowed to be connected to the Exchange server at home, so this was a better option for me.) I know you said you tried Google, so this may not work for you, but their calendar has improved in the past 8 months or so.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:56 PM on February 13, 2012

I have Outlook, my 2006-era PDA, and Google all synced together. I often check out my calendar and even set appointments using my low-end mobile phone's internet browser to my google account. Amazingly, this all works. I use ActiveSync and Google Calendar Sync. Google Calendar Sync works automatically for me.

Sadly, ActiveSync does not. My PDA is left unused most of the time, since it's a pain to sync. If you had an iPod Touch you'd be SOL like me, but luckily you have an iPhone and you're good to go.

Google Calendar ftw.
posted by Yowser at 4:03 PM on February 13, 2012

I forgot to mention that in some rube goldburg-esque way, I also receive text message alerts when I have new events via forwarding to a hotmail account that forwards to my cell phone. There are probably much easier ways to get calendar alerts than I've chosen, though...
posted by Yowser at 4:10 PM on February 13, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, my niece was suggesting trying Google again, and syncing it with something called Epic Win, which should appeal nicely to my nerdy love of RPGs. I'll set it up in the next few minutes and see how that works.
posted by spunweb at 7:46 PM on February 13, 2012

Response by poster: Okay, the layout of Google Calendars/Tasks is way less cluttered looking than it was before. So I'm down with using a combo of Google Cal/Tasks + Outlook Cal/Tasks. @Yowser, do you just use the Calendar function...? I can't figure out how to make my Outlook tasks appear on my Google sidebar. :(
posted by spunweb at 9:44 PM on February 13, 2012

Try to sync google tasks with outlook tasks.

Never tried it myself but was first result in a google search so can't be completely rubbish.
posted by mr_silver at 1:12 AM on February 14, 2012

Best answer: Google calender sync will sync your outlook calender with your google calender. you can integrate all that into your iphone (use gmail's exchange server) to get your calender needs on your phone too. I'm sorry, don't know about tasks.
posted by defcom1 at 9:59 AM on February 14, 2012

I have to admit, I use my calendar as a tasklist... no idea about tasks. I didn't realize anyone actually used task lists in the real world. Maybe you could try a Remember The Milk subscription?
posted by Yowser at 4:57 PM on February 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all for your answers!

I'm trying out Google Calendar Sync right now, so hopefully this will all work out.

posted by spunweb at 3:04 AM on May 21, 2012

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