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workaround: generate tasks easily from outlook emails (PC) Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Being stuck in a PC/Windoze/outlook environment at work, I needed a way to easily create tasks from emails. While this is easy to do with a mac and omnifocus for mac, there is no 'smooth' way to do this and still reference the email in the PC world.

Omnigroup provide a (free) service where if you send them an email with the task as the subject, they send you back an email with a link when clicked on your iphone/ipad, would create the task in Omnifocus.

I have created a macro which takes this service and makes it a little smoother and helps you track your emails with your tasks. When run:
1. it pops up with a dialog box prompting for the task name.
2. It then provides a second box to add (optional) notes which will add them to the start of your notes section of the task (as well as the email subject and received date)
3. It then sends the email to omnifocus for processing.
4. It moves the original email to a folder called @reference (needs to be set up previously, as a sub folder of the inbox), and gives it a flag "OF" plus the same date it was created

Create a macro button on the toolbar with a keyboard shortcut key (I use ALT+1 - to do this right click on the toolbar, choose customise, and then right click on the button and change the name to be "&1 " plus whatever else you have put in the description).
Finally, set up a rule on your outlook server to automatically move emails from "" to a separate folder.

On your iphone/ipad:
1. navigate to your OF task subfolder that you create above.
2. For each emailed task, click on the link in the body; this will take you to OF with the task dialog box open and details auto-entered. You can choose to either completed processing of the task then and there, or (as I prefer) double tap the home button and switch back to the email application and move to the next email. OF will stack up the tasks dialogs so that you once you have processed the stack of emailed tasks, you can switch back to OF and get into processing mode. That way you do not lose track of the email tasks you have processed and avoid creating duplicate tasks.

Cross-referencing your emails and tasks
As each email in the @reference sub-folder has a flag called OF[date] and each OF tasks has the email subject and received date in the notes reference, simply filter for each in the relevant application and you can match off / delete.

Example: I have an email I need to respond to but don't have all the information at hand.
1. I create a task from the email named; get xxx info and reply to email.
2. Once I have completed the task, I search for the related email in the reference folder, and then action with the reply.

A little clunky, but a useful enough workaround. The real power is in the offending emails being moved out of your inbox (and out of your mind) and ready to be used/replied to once you have completed the work to do so....

DISCLAIMER: I have only tested this on Outlook running on an exchange email account; not sure if it works on POP3 etc....

Here is the Outlook Macro code:
************************************************** ********
Sub send_to_OF()

Dim objMail As Outlook.MailItem
Dim newSubject, addNotes As String
Dim objFolder As Outlook.MAPIFolder, objInbox As Outlook.MAPIFolder
Dim objNS As Outlook.NameSpace

Set objNS = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")
Set objInbox = objNS.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderInbox)

Set objFolder = objInbox.Folders("@Reference")
Set objItem = GetCurrentItem()

newSubject = InputBox("What is the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion? " & Chr(10) & Chr(10) & "[Verb][Object]", "Create Task Title")
If newSubject = "" Then Exit Sub

addNotes = InputBox("Add notes here", "Task Notes")
If addNotes = "" Then
response = MsgBox("Click OK to send task without notes", vbOKCancel)
If response = vbCancel Then Exit Sub
End If

Set objMail = objItem.Forward
objMail.To = ""
objMail.Body = addNotes & Chr(10) & "***********" & Chr(10) & "Subject/[Email date] : " & objMail.Subject & " [" & objItem.ReceivedTime & "]" & Chr(10) & "***********" & Chr(10) & objMail.Body

objMail.Subject = newSubject


objItem.FlagRequest = "OF " & Format(Now(), "DDMMMYY")

objItem.Move objFolder

Set objItem = Nothing
Set objMail = Nothing
End Sub
************************************************** ********
I'm going to try it at work tomorrow. I'd be even happier if Omni Group would do something so that we could sync our lovely Mac stuff with that horrible Windows stuff they make us use at work. Please please please Omni? Or web even? Please?
I also had the same issue ... Omnifocus user (iPad, iPhone, and home Macbook) but PC user at work. How to capture work to do's and Outlook email to do's.....

This is what I do and it works well.

1 I use google apps as my personal email provider so I set up a new user account however any pop/imap account should work. This is a dedicated email account ie. it only receives tasks/info that I want in omnifocus.

2) I added the new user account to on my mac and set up the preferences in Omnifocus to create tasks from emails with a specific identifier namely '--' starting the subject line.

3) I set my 'Accounts' login preferences in OSX to launch when I start my mac (...or leave it running - sorry not very green in this regard)

If I need to create a task in omnifocus or forward an email to omnifocus while I'm in a PC environment, I merely send an email to with the '--' prefix in the subject line and when my mac receives the email, its processed by Omnifocus into a task which then syncs regularly with the Omnifocus server.

My iPad and iPhone sync everytime I open the apps so my new tasks appear on my other devices.

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