19d. Outlook Integration – Tasks [11:46]

Description: This video provides an overview of how to push and pull tasks to and from the Core3 and Outlook.

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Let’s take a closer look at how to push and pull tasks to and from the Core3 and Outlook. Integration with Outlook can be extremely powerful as one of the primary goals is to increase accuracy and efficiency by avoiding double data entry. As discussed in the Set Up video this Outlook integration requires purchasing, installing, and registering the Outlook Manipulator plug-in.

0:33 First let’s take a look at some basic rules when pulling tasks from Outlook into the Core3. The pull routine pulls all tasks from the user’s default Outlook tasks folder, we’ll take a look at this once we open up the Core3 and Outlook. Tasks that are marked as “private” in Outlook are completely ignored and the routine does not pull any tasks that are recurring. During the pull process the routine will assign a unique Core ID to each task imported and sets the Core ID to a custom field in Outlook. When performing subsequent pulls, or as discussed later when pushing tasks, this allows the Core3 to understand whether to create a new task or update an existing task with data from Outlook. The assignee field will never populate unless the record pulled is a new record. When pulling a new record the assignee field will populate with the default user’s task assigned to the currently logged in Core user. Please also note that records that are deleted in Outlook are not deleted in the Core3 during the pull process. If you delete an Outlook task record that has a matching record in the Core3 then you will need to delete the task record manually in the Core3. Lastly, the Category field of tasks are populated in the Core3 during the pull process; however, if the Outlook task category does not exist in the Core3 or the Outlook task has multiple categories (which is supported in Outlook and not supported in the Core3), than the category field is not populated in the Core3 during the pull process and is left blank. Please consider this when re-pushing the task back to Outlook as you could permanently change or delete the Outlook category of your tasks.

2:32 Let’s open the Core3 and Outlook to see how simple and powerful pulling tasks can be. This may seem like a lot of rules for pulling but actually pulling tasks from Outlook into the Core is quite simple. We just want you to see how this is going to function across all different Outlook versions and all different scenarios that you might have set up in Outlook. First let’s look at where your users default Outlook task folder resides so we know what tasks we’re going to pull in. As you’re probably used to looking in Outlook if you navigate to Tasks I can see here I actually have three different task folders, Tasks, Personal Tasks, and Sales Tasks. If I want to actually see what the default root task folder is I would need to go to Mail, select the folder list to actually show the hierarchy of all my different folders for my Outlook profile, and here you can see I have my Tasks and then my Personal Tasks and Sales Tasks which are actually subfolders. When we perform the Tasks Pull in the Core we are going to pull all of your tasks that are in the Tasks Folder. We’ll go ahead and do that now and we’re going to pull in these five tasks and it’s going to omit anything that is in any other task folder such as Personal Tasks and Sales Tasks and as you’ll recall it’s also going to omit any task set up and marked “private”. Let’s go ahead and make “Test Task 5” private and go ahead and save and close that so we can actually see this in action. I’ll go ahead and navigate to the Core and we’ll go ahead and log in to the Core as Melinda. Now we have the Core opened. Before we pull in our tasks we’re going to go to the Core Preferences and since I’m logged in as Melinda I will select Melinda’s account here. Let’s go to the Calendar/Tasks tab and here we can see we’ve assigned a Default User for my Tasks, so I’m going to go ahead and ensure that Melinda is actually selected as the default user. That’s because in the Core you assign a task to a specific user whereas in Outlook you have one user and many tasks.

4:40 So let’s navigate to the Activities tab. We’ll first go ahead and do a find for all tasks and I currently have four tasks in the Core. Let’s go ahead and go to Core>Outlook Integration>Pull Tasks and this is going to pull in all of my tasks from my Outlook default tasks folder and here I have my results. Four of the tasks were imported from Outlook, one task was marked as private in Outlook and has not imported. We like to give you results of the import that way you know exactly what happened, go ahead and select OK. And now if I were to do a find for all tasks in the Core I can see that I’ve brought in all of my Test Tasks from Outlook all four of them right here. Let’s see something else that happens behind the scenes when we pulled these in from Outlook. We talked about a unique Core ID, now this Core ID is not visible to the user but we actually created it behind the scenes. I’m going to go into an area that I don’t recommend users do but I do want to show you this new ID that we’ve assigned. So I’m going to add the COREID to my view in my fields in Outlook and here you can see we have actually behind the scenes created a Core ID, populated it for each task that was pulled into the Core, and Test Task 5 was marked as private so it’s always completely ignored. This allows us to now edit these tasks on the push rather than creating a brand new task and we’ll see that later in this video. The other thing that happened was the assignee field that got populated when pulling. As you can see in Outlook there is no assignee field here because all of these tasks belong to this profile here that’s under Personal Folders, Outlook doesn’t have various users like the Core does. So when you import all of these tasks they are going to be assigned to the currently logged in Core user’s default task user that’s selected. So for example, if I go to Test Task 4 I can see it’s actually been assigned to Melinda right here. The reason that was assigned to Melinda is because I’m logged in as Melinda and if we navigate to Melinda’s account set up for Calendar/Tasks, here I have the Default User for Tasks is set to Melinda. If I were to change this to Chris and then import a new task it’s going to then assign it to Chris, I’ll go ahead and put this back to Melinda, select Done, and next we’re going to talk about the Category field.

7:17 Categories are left blank when pulled into the Core if they have more than one category and/or if the category does not exist in the Core. So if I go ahead and select Done and go back into the Core>Preferences>Global Settings>Activity Categories>Task Category I only have three categories in the Core. We do this in order to prevent your Core from getting polluted with all of your various user categories. So before you begin using your Outlook Integration it’s always wise to make sure you have your categories set up appropriately.

7:53 Pushing tasks from the Core3 to Outlook also requires an outline of some basic rules. First, all tasks in the found set will be pushed including tasks that do not belong to the Core user. This allows the user to virtually find any combination of tasks under any criteria for maximum flexibility. Secondly, when a task is pushed from the Core3 to Outlook a unique Core ID is assigned to the task. A custom field in Outlook is set with this unique Core ID, if there is a matching task found in Outlook during the push process; meaning the Core3 task and Outlook task have the same Core ID (because they’ve already either been pushed or pulled at one point or another) than FileMaker will override this task with the information in the Core3 – even if the task data in Outlook is newer. Tasks marked as “private” in Outlook are completely ignored. Lastly, matching records that are deleted in the Core3 are not deleted in Outlook during the push process. If you delete a Core3 task that has a matching record in Outlook you need to delete that Outlook task record manually. Now that we understand these basic rules when pushing tasks let’s open the Core3 and Outlook to see how easy and powerful pushing tasks can be.

9:14 Pushing tasks can be quite simple. We simply do a find for any tasks that we want to push, I’ll just do a find for all of the tasks that are assigned to Melinda and here I have six tasks. If we open up Outlook I can see that I currently have five tasks in my default tasks folder. And I’m going to go ahead and navigate to the Core>Outlook Integration>Push Tasks and this is going to push all of the tasks that are in my found set. Go ahead and select OK and I’ve successfully pushed 6 tasks to Outlook. If I go in and view Outlook here you can see that I have all of my additional tasks as well as a unique Core ID that was created and assigned to each task that came from the Core here. Since this Test Task 5 was marked as private this is always going to be completely ignored. Let’s go back to the Core and do a find for all tasks because you may want to pull in all of your boss’ tasks or one of your co-worker’s tasks. So here I have found all the tasks in the Core – there are 8 of them, some are assigned to Sally, some to Melinda, some to Chris.  I’m going to go ahead and go to the Outlook Integration select Push Tasks, and that’s going to push all eight tasks to my Outlook Tasks folder. If we open up Outlook here we can see I have all of my tasks. I’m going to go ahead and remove the Core ID from my current view; you saw how we added it when we were discussing the pulling of tasks. And now I’m going to go to “User-defined fields” and let’s just go ahead and remove that guy, select OK, and then OK. You really never want your user to see the Core ID because you don’t want them to manipulate that ID in any way, but for the sake of this video I wanted to show you a little bit about what’s going on behind the scenes here when pushing and pulling tasks.

11:12 This is just a brief overview of the many features and possibilities of the Core3. For more information on what the Core3 can do for you please explore this website, review the videos and documentation, and download a demo. Please contact us via email, phone, or browse our forum if you have additional questions. We look forward to hearing from you and automating your business to operate more efficiently.