Discuss all things Remember The Milk.


Going sync crazy. GTD/RTM/Outlook/OneNote mashup

nigel.godfrey says:
Bit of a waffle, so advance apols. Thought it might be interesting to see how far things could be pushed (for a non techie) in terms of syncing stuff across multiple devices, running mulitple OS, and different apps.

I started off using OneNote as a GTD lite application last year. A daily inbox page captures any thoughts as you go along, they then get categorised in the evening and turned into projects of required. Projects work really well, as you have a page of info with notes and scribbles and pictures. OneNote Mobile can be used for on the move task entry, and you can sort of get a context list to generate for those "what have a I got get at the shops" moments. I have a shared notebook set up via Hamachi so every Windows PC running ON can get to the same notebooks.

Very nice for project stuff, but not so great for next actions. Tried using OneNote to Outlook task generation, but didn't really like the handling of it. Plus I can't use it on a work PC.

And then the crunch, my ultraportable laptop broke, and whilst it was being repaired I started using one of the Nokia Internet Tablets. No OneNote, and not even a decent PIM for non Linux gurus. But great portabilty and good net access.

So RTM to the rescue ! What a great application. Took about 30 seconds to set up. Contexts as tags. Simple. Worked on my PCs, could use it at work, works on the the Nokia.

Problem, 3G internet access is variable in shops etc. So that confidence that I can stick in a thought to my smartphone on the run was gone.

So MilkSync to the rescue ! Can now add tasks on the fly, and know they would be remembered. Except the WM6 task screen is awful, worse than awful it was unusable. So I started using SPBDiary, a homepage plugin. Meant I had to move from GTD contexts as tags to lists (think there might be a problem syncing RTM tasks that don't have a category already on the WinMo device - but will check it out again)but that was OK. Tags now = projects and I don't really care much about project planning on a phone ! SPBDiary ties in very nicely with RTM, as you can set up multiple Categories for your selectable task views, so I can filter out all the background projects and stuff. Also it is context sensitve in terms of new tasks, so add a task from the @Calls list and it will automatically set that category.

OK, so all working nicely. But still had doubts that the project set up worked that well. It is obviously not intended to be a fully fledged project manangement tool. So I wondered about using OneNote for the higher level views, and then the next actions that drop out of OneNote would flow into RTM.

So, here we go. The whole wobbly stack of cards !

Shared OneNote notebook via Hamachi. Next Actions get sent to Outlook as a task via standard OneNote>Outlook functionality. Outlook syncs the task to WinMo phone via ActiveSync. Phone syncs to RTM via MilkSync.

Can the review actions in RTM with the Nokia Tablet whilst sat on the sofa. MilkSync back to phone, and as long as remember to sync the phone with the two PCs it will get back to Outlook and then OneNote. So a task that originated on OneNote can be completed on RTM via a Linux device on the sofa and will get updated back into the OneNote project page as completed when one of the PCs is Activesynced. Magic !

One each Project Page in OneNote I have a hyperlink to the relevant SmartList from RTM for all tasks for that Project (using the tip about the "special" number in the URL - would be nice to have a directer link however, please !).

Not without it's problems. Firstly, the WinMo phone should be the "master". It is all to easy for things to get our of sync otherwise. Use the "Replace on Computer" rather than "Replace on Device" option in ActiveSync/WMDC. Secondly unless you sync all PCs to the phone regularly, you can end up with OneNote complaining about the task not being on the local copy of Outlook. Doesn't break it, it is used to sharing, but a bit frustrating.

Both OneNote and RTM have APIs so it would be really nice to be able to create RTM tasks direct from OneNote. Sadly my coding abilty stopped with Cobol about 25 years ago !

Started fiddling about with using Google Notebook as an ideas collector/manager. You could maybe use a combination of labels, and the drag and drop to the links toolbar.

Anyone else got some crazy hookups ?

p.s. Again, what a fantastic product. The 2nd most used internet application after Searching !
Posted at 1:37pm on April 4, 2008
johnwin says:
fantastic! I must take the mind of a genius (or James Bond style super-criminal) to think up such a scheme!
Posted 11 years ago
luchie says:
I found your post after a search for anything OneNote related. Most of it flew over my head.

I'm not a techie. I use Onenote and RTM more than any other applications. Is it possible that one day there might be better Onenote/RTM task integration? This would really make me jump for joy. At the moment they are like separate worlds.
Posted 10 years ago
astewart says:
I also found this post after searching for "one note rtm integration." I love Onenote, and I love how it integrates with Outlook, but I need to be able to work cross-platform, so RTM seems a better choice for tasks. Can you send tasks from Onenote to RTM some way? And I know RTM doesn't have Outlook integration, though I desperately wish they did.
Posted 10 years ago
nigel.godfrey says:
I just came back to this after posting about Evernote (which has taken over, pretty much, from OneNote recently).

If RTM ever (please !) produce an Outlook Integration, then the OneNote > RTM will be simpler.

You just get OneNote to create an Outlook task, and that wiould get synced with RTM.

At the moment the only way to do this is to use a Windows Mobile (or anything else with MilkSync) to then sync from the PC Outlook to Pocket Outlook task (suing Activesync) and then to RTM with MilkSync.

Using the various APIs would be great, select some text and invoke the API to send the task to RTM. Sadly beyond me and by technical skills. Although I did decide to call it OneMilk !!
Posted 10 years ago
nigel.godfrey says:
"which has taken over, pretty much, from OneNote recently" my usage ! Just to clarify :0)

Evernote and OneNote are different beasts, although EverNote Mobile is now streets ahead of OneNote Mobile.

I tend to use Evernote as a repository of snapshots from my phone. Process models on whiteboards at work, or things I want to remember when at the shops. Not all need tasks in RTM, so the abilty to review and think "what am I going to do about this" before creating a task would be great. Currently I email the note in Evernote to my RTM mailbox.

Obviously this works the same for OneNote too, you can email the Onenote page to your RTM mailbox. Which is another way of intetgrating OneNote and RTM. OneNote does it better, because it uses Outlook. The Evernote mailer doesn't have access to your addressbook, so you can't just send it to "Evernote".
Posted 10 years ago
agirouard says:
I would also be interested in getting an OneNote 2007 + RTM intergration.
Posted 10 years ago
krysta says:
Another vote for conversations between OneNote 2007 + RTM.
Posted 10 years ago
hpb says:
Another here!
Posted 10 years ago
echilon says:
I'd also be very interested. Even if it was just a one off import. I have too much in onenote to lose.
Posted 10 years ago
echilon says:
FYI, Onenote can 'publish' via word. Blogging platforms are supported, and they implement both the Atom and MetaWebLog APIs. The info at might help you. If it meant I had to pay, that would be fine =)
Posted 10 years ago
kzagorianos says:
I too would like to see Onenote 2007 and RTM!
Posted 10 years ago
ethicalsean says:
Me too
Posted 9 years ago
jakeub says:
me too
Posted 9 years ago
(closed account) says:
yeah, I'd love to see this.

I'm starting to realize the power of Onenote as a brain extender. It's stronger than Evernote in its dominant metaphor (notebooks vs. tags), as well as in its outlining capability.

But both programs are sadly isolated from my RTM tasks. How sweet would it be to tag an item as 'to-do' in Onenote and have it sync automagically with RTM?
Posted 9 years ago
jakeub says:
if you want to take a look...
Posted 9 years ago
bzpilman says:
As much as I can share a vote for Onenote+RTM integration, let me share how I view the different purposes of these apps (this is mainly aimed at the OP).

I see no better software than Onenote to take care of project notes (the "project support material" of David Allen). But I really don't like it for next actions.

What I do is I have a concept of "annexes". On any good tasklisting application you would have a central project list each with their next actions. Each of these projects would get a unique short id tag, e.g. -job-proposaldraft, -hob-planemodel, -bod-homegym (the first three letters stand for the project's area of responsibility, but are really optional). This is pretty much in line with a way to organize RTM's Tag Cloud that I outlined a few years back and has gotten extended with awesome greasemonkey scripts.

Now, this project tag can be referred to in any other support ("annex") applications, such as Onenote. In Onenote I therefore have a notebook called project (or project notes, project support material, etc.) and each section within it is named after a project tag.

Now, the killer feature: I use Launchy and tell it to index my project notebook folder, including *.one files. This way, when I want to consult project notes on Windows, I simply hit alt+spacebar and then type the project tag or only a part of it, and launchy auto-suggests from the whole of my project lists that it has indexed. Hitting enter opens Onenote in the proper section. Extremely nifty.

I absolutely see no need for syncing or even integration, annexes (through a master tag) are way faster and require zero maintenance.
Posted 9 years ago
(closed account) says:
people may know this already, but it's possible to link RTM tasks directly to sections within your Onenote notebooks; just right click the section, page, or even paragraph, and click 'Copy Link..."

You can then put this URL into your RTM task. Even better, clicking on the link will take you directly to the relevant section in your Onenote notebook!
Posted 9 years ago
kevina047 says:
hmmm doesn't work for me bighaugs. please post your OneNote url as a sample.
I get error Onenote cannot open the specified location c:/ problem is forward slashes instead of back slashes
Posted 8 years ago
kevina047 says:
correction: works if using RTM in IE only.
Posted 8 years ago
davegrosser says:
I know this thread is super old (I love the references to Win Mobile 6!!) but the problem hasn't changed. OneNote is a great project manager (the best!), RTM is a great task manager (the best!) and they need integration. Outlook could be the glue, but I would prefer the direct OneNote to RTM integration because:
1. I don't have outlook
2. Introducing outlook as a go between is an additional point of failure
3. Outlook tasks are bloated and unuseful.
Posted 5 years ago
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