Software

Office challenge: How would you remove incomplete tasks from Outlook 2010's To-Do list?

Read the solution to last week's Word challenge on protecting a Word document and test your skills with Outlook 2010's To-Do list.

Outlook 2010's To-Do list displays today's tasks along with future tasks. Today's group isn't just tasks that are due today though. This list includes tasks with prior due dates that you haven't marked as complete. That means old tasks show up every day until you mark them as complete. Now, let's suppose that a user wants to see only those tasks that are actually due today, along with future tasks. In other words, she doesn't want to see incomplete tasks with a due date prior to the current date. Could you accommodate her request?

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Last week, we asked… How would you stop users from saving changes to a Word file? NexS suggested making the document read-only, which is perhaps the simplest solution, if you don't want to allow changes of any kind. Mattouellette suggested that you save the document as a PDF file—a creative suggestion that I hadn't considered. Again, it renders a read-only document, unless the user has Acrobat. Ru7of9 thinks document protection is the way to go. This feature allows you to password protect specific tasks. You probably use this when protecting forms. Users can fill-in the form fields, but they can't alter the form's design. In Word 2007, Protect Document is on the Review tab. In Word 2010, click the File tab. In Word 2003, Protect Document is on the Tools menu.

There's another possibility though—what if you want users to be able to alter the document in any way they like, you just don't want them to save their changes. In this case, you might intercept Word's Save commands as follows:

  1. Press [Alt]+[F8] to display the Macros dialog box.
  2. Select Word Commands from the Macros In dropdown control.
  3. Choose a save commands: FileSave, FileSaveAll, FileSaveAs, and so on—there are several and you'll have to decide just how much coverage you need.
  4. From the Macros In dropdown control, choose the template you want to store the macro and click Create.

Word will open the Visual Basic Editor and enter the appropriate stub and its respective VBA code, which you can alter:

Sub FileSaveAs()
' FileSaveAs Macro
' Saves a copy of the document in a separate file
  'Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs).Show
  MsgBox "You can't save this file", OKOnly, "STOP"
End Sub

In the above code, I commented out the Dialogs() function so Word won't execute the Save As command. Then, I added a MsgBox() function to display a short explanation for the surprised users. This last solution isn't difficult, but might be overkill—it just depend on what you need.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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