Outlook query builder and category handling update needed!

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Outlook query builder and category handling update needed!

1. the category list for new query needs to be sorted or be able to filter
2. why do outlook items with more than one category get a virtual category mixed of every category assigned - that screws up the whole index/filter function
3. queries by category over all folders with by object type selection would make the whole thing alot easier - ie.: everything from one category but the mail, etc.

actually a workover for everything related to categories.
mindjet could be such a great and flexible getting things done, or whatever method there is.
the virtual categories are the worst and a no go!
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jupp25

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Posted 5 years ago

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Terry Dalton

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I have changed this to an Idea so others in the community can weight in on this request. Our Product Manager frequently reviews feedback from the forum and will consider this within his next planning cycle.

Thanks,
Terry
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jupp25

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thanks Terry

I cant believe nothing has changed in the new Version.
mindjet is great and im using it for many years, but the category thing is even Vetter Händler by xmind With their New Plugin...Plesse take a look and update mindjet
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Outlook task categories used to be handled as a topic property up until MM8 and this approach worked reasonably well. Then came MM9 which introduced a new approach to task topic syncing which forced users to send tasks to Outlook individually and which also broke the category syncing.

The ability to send multiple task topics to Outlook was reinstated in MM9.2 but category syncing was never properly restored, though there is a workaround which I have described elsewhere which creates a Categories text tag group in MM (see this thread: https://community.mindjet.com/mindjet...

If you use this approach to duplicate your Outlook task categories in MM so that the categories are synced you should in theory be able to filter properly, at least within the limits of MM's Outlook queries, which do at least allow you to group topics by category. For example topics with multiple categories should show up in each category group and not as you describe with a single virtual multi-category.

I agree though that the query system could be improved, with the ability to filter on multiple selected categories (and not just no categories, one or all categories) and similarly the ability to filter on multiple selected folders. Also note that my comments relate to tasks only and not other types of topics which are synced to or queried in Outlook such as appointments, contacts or mail items.

Incidentally I had a look at the xmind Outlook task add-in. It seems to owe a lot to the MM approach but appears to be better implemented with a much simpler approach to assigning topic categories and the ability in the Category view to set up category groups. The Project facility is interesting though I note it's only a one-way sync. Mindjet should have a good look at this add-in and borrow some ideas back, starting with a proper facility to sync MM topic and Outlook task categories.
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jupp25

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hey alexsg,

thanks for the insight! i will look at your thread.
great that you also agree to many points, gives hope for changes in MM when they look at it.
you mentioned the project facility in xmind is only one-way sync. I ́m not shure if i understand right, but i would say its two way. when you tag as project a outlook category gets created with the defined prefix, even if there is no task in that category yet, though its a category not automatically in the master category list.

tough to say, but if there was a xmind android app I would switch completly.
but I hear they are starting a IOS app...
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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The manual for the XMindlook add-in (which I assume is what we're both talking about here) states on page 6:

"Currently the project categories are synchronised one way only - from XMind to Outlook. Changing the project categories in Outlook will not move the topic in the mind map, moreover the changes will be overwritten."

This makes sense if you think about it. In effect all the project category does is assign a common category name automatically to all the "child" subtopics of the project in the XMind map. You don't actually need to see the project name in XMind as the task is visible as a child of the parent project topic, but it is obviously handy in Outlook.

However you cannot move the topic to another project branch from within Outlook. I'm also not sure what happens to the category if you open up an Outlook tasks view (the XMind equivalent of a MindManager Outlook query) and drag a topic with an assigned project category into a new branch on a new map.

The project category facility is still a great idea - and as I said, Mindjet could learn a lot about how to handle synching and querying Outlook task topics and categories from a study of the XMind XMindlook add-in.
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jupp25

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hey alexsg,

I tried your workarround, it doesnt seem to work for me.
when I tag a task, wich was sent from MM to outlook, with a few categories, it shows up in MM with one long categorie string separated with semicolon (like it usually does)

when I sync a task with one cat it shows up in MM. when I sync another task with different cat it shows up. when I sync a task that contains the two already existing in MM there is the stupid long string again...but like you said it shows up in the single ones two.
If there is a task where the same cats are added but in different order, there is a new string with the different orderd cats.

so that gives me a endless list of cats in MM just because there assigned in different order. grrrrrr!

I hope you could follow.
any idea?
greets!
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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It works for me so I've updated the steps slightly and I'll run through them with some pictures:

1. Create a dummy task topic in MM and send it to Outlook.


2. Open the task in Outlook and assign to it ALL possible categories that you have in the Outlook categories field. Do not attempt to create the categories group from the MM end - for some reason that doesn't seem to work.


3. Sync the task with MM. The categories should be imported into MM and appear as a separate text tag group in MM. You may have to sync the task topic twice for this to occur (you can then delete the dummy task).




4. Create task topics as required in MM, but do NOT assign any categories to them at this stage.

5. Send the uncategorised topics to Outlook. You can do this individually or as a group.


6. AFTER you have sent the task topics in Outlook, assign categories from the Categories text tag group in MM to each one as appropriate, either individually or as a group. I think this is where most people go wrong - you must do step 5 (sending to Outlook) first then step 6 (assign categories in MM).


7. Resync the tasks with Outlook. The MM task categories should now appear as categories in Outlook (again, you may have to sync twice).

8. If you are using category colours in Outlook, in MM each topic should have the same fill colour as in Outlook (except for topics with multiple categories, which will remain blank in MM). This is an easy way to tell if this has worked from within MM.


In the following image I've followed the above process for a group of topics, sending them to Outlook, assigning categories in MM and resyncing them them. They have all picked up the correct fill colours except for the topic with two categories which is not coloured.


Finally I have run separate Outlook queries for each category and added them to the same map. The topics have been allocated correctly and have retained their fill colours. The topic with two categories remains uncoloured but appears in both the relevant query groups.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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@Terry,

In the response I've just added I've to Jupp25's query I have outlined the workaround I discovered for incorporating Outlook categories into MindManager so you can assign and to some extent manage them from the MM end, but even I would have to admit it's convoluted.

While I'm aware that Mindjet would like to encourage users to sync tasks with Mindjet Tasks, a lot of us remain wedded to Outlook as our primary task manager. I appreciate that Mindjet has retained Outlook syncing and introduced Outlook queries, which is a great idea. However it would be wonderful if the ability to import, use and keep in sync Outlook categories (and category colours) within MM was greatly simplified - and a facility to send MM categories to Outlook easily also introduced.
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jupp25

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HI Alexsg,

thank your very much for the detailed instruction, didnt work, but helped to see that there seems to be a problem else were.

I cant get over step three. In your screenshot the imported categories are sepperated with a comma, when I import there seppareted by semi-colon. And thats the whole problem I supose.
As soon as I sync with outlook, no matter wich way the categories got into MM, the mindmanager switches the sepparation from comma to semi-colon and produces a virtual category.
My setup:
Mindjet 14
Outlook2010
Win7

I contacted support, hope they can help.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi jupp25,

I'm not sure, but I think the problem may be your default regional settings.

i don't know what country you're in or language you're using, but it may be that the list separator is set for a semi-colon and not a comma. This also causes problems in some regionswith programs like Excel that end up exporting CSV files with semi-colons and not commas.

To check if this is the problem in Win 7, go to Control Panel, select Clock, Language and Region and then Region and Language. Under the Formats tab click the the Additional settings tab and then check what the list separator is set to. If it is a semi-colon or anything other than a comma, change it to be a comma and then click OK.

Then test what happens with the list of categories in step 3 of my instructions. If this is the cause of the problem, the list should now be exported from Outlook to MM separated by commas and the rest of the instructions should work. Of course changing the list separator may affect other settings in which your region or language would expect a semi-colon.
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jupp25

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hey alexsg,

your my hero!!!
it was the listseperator. I`m in germany and I quess default is semi-colon. I love it, it finaly works!
I hope the MM support can give a different solution, to not interfear with other settings in the german system.
I appreciate your help!!

thx and greets
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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No worries - I guessed you might be German (I've been there a few times). Anyway I'm glad it finally worked!
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Jonathan Morris

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Hi Alex just picking up this thread rather late on.  Really appreciate the trouble you have taken to explain this workaround so thoroughly, you are a star.  If you do pick this up I was just wondering if you are aware if there have been any changes with MM15 (for better or worse) with regard to Outlook synch (I am using 2010 and Win 8.1)
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jupp25

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@MM

but it still would be very helpfull to redesign the category handling.
I hope you will.
thx
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Jupp25, I second your request to MM.

I also have a second request for MM - if you decide not to restore proper Outlook category synchronisation, please, please don't stop this workaround from operating just because it's an "undocumented" or "unreliable" feature.

And if you do decide to restore category syncing at some future date, please don't stop the workaround from operating (even "temporarily") until the restored feature is fully in place.
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Jonathan Morris

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Hi Alex also seeing this plea I can confirm if you don't already know that the workaround has just still worked for me on a simple small test with MM15 and Outlook 2010/Win 8.1 so I echo your sentiments that this should be maintained until a proper synchronisation is reestablished (yes I was also there in MM8 days!) 
Jonathan
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the feedback - and yes, as you say it thankfully still works in MM 15. The basic issue with the changes since MM8 is that you while can now longer create and manage Outlook categories in MM and have to do a one-off import of them to MM they are still at least recognised in MM and you can still assign them to topics - but only after they have been sent to Outlook.

Obviously a return to something like the MM8 and earlier approach would be better but for now I'd settle for something which eliminated some of the steps involved in this process and especially the need to send topics to Outlook first. I suspect however that this would involve some form of macro at the Outlook end as well as in MM.