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11 September 2015

E-mail Conversion Button in New Kanban Task Manager For Outlook

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotypeThe workgroup version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook has been updated with a new button for e-mail conversion and support for inline images in the task body. The responsible developer, Jitu Patidar, will tell you more about it.

Convert e-mails into tasksJitu Patidar image
With the new version of Kanban Task Manager you can convert e-mails into tasks by pressing a button. This gives a better conversion result than the earlier drag and drop, which does not convert inline images and also can distort characters.

HTML issues
In the workgroup version of Kanban Task Manager the tasks are shared, and the task information is stored in an SQL or Access database table or a SharePoint list, which synchronizes with the Kanban Task Manager Outlook folder.

The Outlook task item only supports Rich and plain text, while the database/SharePoint list only supports HTML and plain text. This creates a problem when you drag an HTML e-mail to the Kanban Task Manager folder to convert it into a task.

HelpDesk OSP iconConversion experience
To solve this problem we had to find a way to convert the Rich text formatted task body to HTML when saving it to the database or SharePoint list and then convert it back from HTML to Rich text in the synchronization process.

Luckily we have two other Outlook add-ons which convert e-mails with all formatting kept: Folder HelpDesk icon HelpDesk OSP converts e-mails into SharePoint list items, and Folder HelpDesk
converts them into issue tracking tickets in an Outlook folder. The design of these products helped us find a solution to the Kanban Task Manager issue.

Convert button
We decided to add a Convert button to the Kanban Task Manager ribbon group in the Outlook mail view. Now you just have to select the e-mail you want to create a task from and press the Convert button.
Kanban Task Manager Ribbon Group

In the Kanban Task Manager settings the admin can decide what to do after conversion: always open the task, never open it or ask. When you open each task after conversion, you can select Project, Phase and Responsible (and your custom tag) directly.

If you choose to not open the tasks, they will be placed in the first phase on the kanban board, where you can easily find them and tag them with your Kanban Task Manager parameters. You may even call that phase "Not Assigned".

Open button
When you select an already converted e-mail in the e-mail view, an Open button will be displayed. Click on the button, and the corresponding task will open in a new window.

Inline images
Another piece of news is that Kanban Task Manager now supports embedded images, and bold and italic text. The formatting and images are shown when you open the task.
Kanban Task Manager task body
You cannot see the images or formatting on the kanban card. We have chosen to only show plain text on the cards, to give the kanban board a clean look and make it easy to overview.
Kanban Task Manager task card

Single version
In the Single version of Kanban Task Manager you can drag e-mails to the Kanban Task Manager Outlook folder and convert them into tasks that way. Here we have no synchronization issue, because each Single version installation is used by only one person. We will still update the Single version too, because a Convert button is easier to use, and we want to give the Single users the possibility to have inline images.

Upgrade
kalmstrom.com upgrade iconI recommend current users to upgrade their installations. We give kalmstrom.com Subscribers free upgrades, and the upgrade is quick. Each user should download the .msi file and run it. Then the installer will find the earlier installation and upgrade it automatically. Refer to the Revisions page for a full list of enhancements and bug fixes.

Try it
kalmstrom.com download iconDo you need to share Outlook tasks in a workgroup and want to use the kanban  method to visualize the work process? In that case you are welcome to try Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. There is plenty of documentation on our website, and should you still have questions I hope you will contact us. As Support Lead I will make sure you get quick and adequate assistance!

Jitu Patidar
Senior Developer, Support Lead
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions