Okay, to show how well I know myself, I know for a fact, that if I could see,
there would be a ton of post-it notes all over my computer monitor to remind
me of important things to do, or e-mails to send, or appointments I have. Now,
this tells me one of two things about myself:
- I spend far too much time at my computer, or
- I need to more regularly use the reminder feature in MS Outlook.
This feature serves as a virtual post-it note of sorts.
How It Works; The Basics
So, you're sitting in Outlook, reading e-mail. If you've set a reminder, you
will suddenly notice a new window open with a dialog reminding you of the pending
If you're a blind user who uses a screen reader, you can set a sound for the
reminder so you know to move the keyboard focus to the reminder window.
How to Set Up a Reminder
Click on the Calendar area of the screen, such as the calendar icon in
the main Outlook tree view. You can also click the new icon on the tool
For those using keystrokes, go to the menu bar, hit enter on the "actions"
menu, and then hit enter on "new appointment".
At this point the New Appointment dialog will open. If necessary, click
on the "subject" edit box. Type the subject name, such as car
wash or dentist appointment here, then hit the Tab key, or
click on the "location" combo box. Depending on the previous
appointments you have set, there will be a list of certain locations that, by
default, will include "my office," and "Home call".
You can also type in this field the name of the location, such as the name of
the car wash or dentist.
From here you can either hit Tab, or click on the "start time"
edit box for the date. By default, Outlook inserts the current date in this
box. You can change it to whatever date you need. For Example, as I write this,
I am creating a mock car wash appointment for Monday, the 29th of July.
So, it would be typed as follows:
Then, you need to move to the time edit box. This is one of those controls
that change incrementally by moving the up and down arrow keys. So, select the
time you need. By default, Outlook has the time placed on 8 AM. Once you do
this, Tab to, or click on the "end time" date edit box. This,
most likely, unless your appointment is a weekend-long seminar or retreat, won't
Next you click on the "end time" edit box to set the ending
time of the appointment. If you know that you will only be at the car wash for
half an hour, and you set the appointment, like I did, to start at 11 AM, then
you arrow down until you've selected an ending time of 11:30 AM.
If this is just an appointment with the dentist or to get the SUV washed, then
the next item you would find by tabbing, or looking at the dialog, is a check
box labeled "all day event," should stay unchecked. Of course,
this depends on the nature of the appointment.
Now, here is the important part: the goal of this exercise, in some ways. The
next item to click on is the "reminder" check box. You want,
in fact need, to check this box to get that friendly virtual post-it note
I mentioned before. After that, you need to click on the edit control
to set how frequently the reminder will appear. This depends on how often you
need your virtual post-it note to remind you of the pending dousing of your
SUV in hot, sudsy water.
Then there is a button that gives you the option of having a reminder sound,
and the ability to choose that sound.
The Last Two Items Are as Follows
A control to set for how the appointment is to be displayed. This includes,
"Free," "Busy," "Out of Office,"
The last control is an edit box to write a note, for example, "Don't
forget to polish our wonderful leather interior," in the case of the car
At this point, if all the information is correct, you have completed the new
appointment dialog box. There are two ways to save the information and exit
this dialog. You can either click on the "save and close" button
on the "new appointment" dialog, or just hit Escape.
You will be prompted as to whether or not you want to save the changes. Double
click, or hit enter on "yes". This will save the appointment,
and close the dialog box.
You've done it! Now you can set all kinds of different reminders, and keep
the post-it notes off your computer monitor.