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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2002)

    I have setup Outlook to keep a personal journal. It does the job admirably. I thought I'd post how I did it, in case anyone else would like to use Outlook for this. I did it using Outlook's 'Journal' feature, which is a feature that I have not used until now. If you are already using Outlook's Journal feature, you probably don't want to try this:

    1. Click on the Journal folder.
    2. Select View --> Current View --> Define Views.
    3. Click on 'Entry List' then 'Copy'. Name the new view 'Personal Journal'. Click OK.
    4. In the 'View Summary', select 'Group By', then Group By: Categories (Descending). Click OK. Now select 'Other Settings' and check the following boxes: Allow in-cell editing, Show 'new item' row. Show preview pane. Click OK (twice) then 'Apply View'.
    7. Right click the heading of every column except 'Start' and select 'Remove Column'. Now Start is the only column.
    8. Right click the Start column, select 'Format Columns' and change the label to 'Date'. Click OK.
    9. Right click the Date column, select 'Field Chooser' and drag 'notes' across and drop in on the Date column.
    10. Close the Field Chooser.
    11. Right click the Notes column, select 'Format Columns' and change the label to 'Journal Entry'. Click OK.
    12. Drag the column headers so that Journal Entry is on the right, and adjust the column widths so it takes up most of the space.

    Voila! Now you have a very nice personal journal, one that doesn't assume you have the aesthetic preferences of a 10-year old girl. This journal does everything that I previously did with dedicated journalling software. It's easily searchable and has Outlook's very flexible export options, if the day comes that you want to get it out of Outlook (and it might - you may want your entries to outlast you, and who knows what software we'll be using in 50 years...).

    How to Create a Journal Entry:
    1. Double-click in the row immediately below the Date and Journal Entry headers. A Journal Entry window opens.
    Ignore all the fields except the box for notes. Don't worry about 'subject' or anything else. Just click in the notes box and type your entry.
    2. If you want to keep more than one journal (e.g. dream, weight-loss, daily, writing Ideas etc.) create the name of each journal as a category and assign the category to the entry.
    3. When you're finished, click 'Save and close'.

    That's it. Outlook will maintain each journal separately for you, and order them with the most recent entries first. To edit an entry, just double-click it.

    Hint: You might want to put your journal folder in its own .pst file. The advantage of this is that the size of the folder containing your email may grow out of control over the years, but your journal won't grow too big even if you're a prolific diarist (unless you add lots of pictures). More importantly, you can password protect the file to encrypt it. I'm sure your personal journal is for your eyes only. And you may want to use a specific backup procedure for it. That file may become one of the most important things on your computer eventually.

    If anyone tries this, I'd love to hear about it!

    Cheers,
    Alan

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    I just edited this post. The original instructions turned the preview panel on, then turned it off. The intention was to turn it on. The procedure does that now.

    Alan

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    I tried this and it works great, with one exception. When I make a new entry, the default "entry type" is Phone call. How do I change the default to something else, like "Notes"?

    Fafner

  4. #4
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    That's a good question. I noticed that but couldn't work out how to do anything about it. Hopefully somebody else will have a suggestion.

    Also on my wishlist would be for the preview pane to just display the 'notes' field, and not all the other fields: Subject, Entry Type, Company etc.

    Lastly, I'd like to know how to change the default font of the notes field, so I don't have to change it everytime I start a journal entry.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the original post is that auto-archive is turned on by default for the journal folder. You might want to turn it off for this folder.

    Cheers,
    Alan

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    Here's a guess. Edit the view to group by that field, and see if adding to the Notes group automatically creates a new Note.

  6. #6
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    I worked out how to change the default font. Tools --> Options --> Mail Format --> Fonts

    I suppose it didn't occur to me that Outlook would consider my journal entries to be 'mail'.

    As for getting rid of the unwanted fields from the 'Journal Entry' form: I created a copy of the form and played around with customising it. I got everything looking and working the way I wanted it, but it wouldn't display in the 'preview pane'. Anyone know how to get a customised form to display in the preview pane?

    Lastly, I worked out a simpler way to maintain multiple journals than via categories: just create a subfolder for each journal! Felt a bit stupid when that one occurred to me.

    I've got to say keeping a journal is a breeze with Outlook. It's actually better than the dedicated journalling software I was using before.

    Alan

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: Tip: Use Outlook to keep a personal journal (2

    I'm going to try your system for a while, looks interesting.

    I also have a copy of OneNote here, that might also do something similar.

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