Easy2Add for Outlook is a small app that allows you to quickly set up meetings, appointments, or events with Outlook using simple, regular English syntax.
Accessed through the system tray or the Vista sidebar, this program resides in the background until you need it, without needing to open Outlook.
I am not sure if this is the experience of most people or if it is unique to me, but despite the fact that I use Outlook on a daily basis for work and have used it for years, for some reason I still have to launch a bit of an investigation every time I need to set up a meeting or schedule an appointment.
Easy2Add is designed to provide a quick and easy way to set these events up by allowing the user to initiate them from the system tray or Vista sidebar, and – more interestingly – by typing in simple English sentences whose syntax the program will decode and automatically create the event in Outlook that you want.
Easy2Add recognizes regular sentences across a number of different variations, with the objective of identifying the “what”, “when”, “who” and “where” in your sentence. Note, however, that as of this release only the “what” and the “when” are supported, with recognition for “who” and “where” to be implemented in a future version.
As an example, you might type in “Schedule a meeting with Jon Monday 11-12:30pm to discuss site optimization”. Once typed, a baloon/tooltip in the system tray will notify you that the meeting or event has been set, and you can click on the system tray icon to quickly view the meeting inside Outlook.
More notes on this program:
- One-time events examples: “Lunch with Jon at Grateful Bread Friday 1 pm”, “Lunch with Jon 1pm-2pm”, “Running w/ John 2:15 tomorrow for 45 minutes”.
- Recurring events examples: “Analytics meeting at work every monday at 2pm”, “Analytics meeting monday 2pm to 4pm weekly”, (or daily, monthly, yearly), “Analytics meeting on the first monday of every month”, “Analytics meeting every monday 2-4pm for 6 months”.
- Default rules: having no end time in your text (e.g. “Lunch with Jon 1pm” will result in an automatic one hour event. A date (e.g. “Company-wide Brainstorming 6/10″) will create an all day event
- The sequence of events: “Dinner with John 8″, typed in at, say, 2 pm without specifying a date or duration, in theory should result in setting that event for the next available “8” in the future (in this case 8pm the same day) for one hour. However I have found that at times it will place it at 8am the next day instead, so its a good practice to specify your am’s and pm’s and the date.
- Memory use: around 10 megs, which is not a lot but might be more than most people would expect. In any case if you are sensitive to resource consumption you probably shouldn’t be using the resource hog that is Outlook in the first place.
What Easy2Add (currently) does not do:
- It does not recognize the “who”. So for example entering “Meeting with Jon 4pm tuesday” or even “Meeting with Jon@domain.com 4pm tuesday” will not automatically add that person into the list of particiapnts.
- It does not recognize the “where”. “Meeting with Jon 4pm Tuesday in conference room” will not add the location of the meeting to Outlook, even if Outlook has “conference room” defined as a place.
- For the “who” and “where”, once you create a meeting with Easy2Add you will have to go and add this info to the meeting manually. Note that recognition of these parameters is promised in a future version.
The verdict: this program is interesting and original, but whether it is a good fit for you depends on the extent to you use Outlook to schedule your meetings, events and appointments. For myself I am finding this little program very useful at work and would definitely recommend it.
Version Tested: 1.00.0038
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. Requires Outlook 2002, 2003 or 2007.
Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 7 megs). Note: you will have to register with a valid email address in order to be able to download.