Use Fingertips to add tasks to Outlook

As soon as you start using Outlook as your trusted system, you’ll run into a few problems. One of them is that adding tasks to Outlook folders can take quite a few steps. Time can be much better spent on more satisfying or creative tasks.

Enter Fingertips.

Throughout nearly all of Outlook, you can press Ctrl+Shift+K to create a new task item in the default tasks folder. This works pretty well, but only for the default tasks folder, not for your Someday/Maybe and Waiting For folders. And it still requires you to start Outlook or switch your focus to Outlook.

For frequent users of the task list functionality in Outlook, using Fingertips is a great idea. With Fingertips, you can easily add tasks from anywhere in Windows to any task list in Outlook. And you can create custom commands to add tasks with specific categories or boilerplate text.

Open Fingertips command window

After you’ve downloaded and installed Fingertips, you can open the Fingertips command window from anywhere in Windows to add a task to Outlook, start an application, or surf to a favorite website.

Press Ctrl+Grave (`) to open the Fingertips command window

The Grave is located either at the top-left side of your keyboard or left of your spacebar. Pressing this key combination should display the Fingertips command window. (Note: In the options dialog of Fingertips, you can set this key combination to another combination if you want.)


Type the “na” command and the subject for the task

Type na, a space and the description of the task that you want to add to Outlook

“na” is the default Fingertips command to add a Next Action to the default task list in Outlook. Any text that you type after the default command and a space will be used for the subject of the task. Don’t use commas right away, as they are used by Fingertips to separate parameters for tasks.


Press Enter, or add a semicolon

Press Enter, or add a semicolon ( ; ) first, if you don’t want to see the Task Item itself

After you press the Enter key, Fingertips will add the task to Outlook and display the Task Item for you to add any other information, set categories, or modify the subject. If Outlook isn’t running yet, Fingertips will start Outlook first.

If you want to add a task to Outlook without extra information, you can close the command line with a semicolon ( ; ). Fingertips will then just add the task to Outlook without displaying the Task Item first.


Creating custom commands in Fingertips

Once you get the hang of it, you can press the “Edit” or “New” button at the bottom-right corner of the Fingertips command window to open the Options Dialog. In this dialog, you can modify or copy commands or create new ones.

As far as I know, using Fingertips is the fastest and easiest way to add tasks to Outlook. What are you waiting for?


  1. Doug said >

    Very cool. Kind of like Quicksilver for the Mac.

  2. Taco Oosterkamp said >

    @Doug, yeah, that’s right. Like a combination of Quicksilver and TextExpander.

  3. Hannah Swain said >

    A colleague introduced me to Fingertips this afternoon and I’ve already found all sorts of fun things to do with it. Thanks for making such a flexible application!

    I love it for adding tasks to Outlook. However, I’ve not completely managed to subscripe to the GTD idea of just tossing everything into one list, I like having tasks on specific days. Do you have any plans to add a “due date” flag to the task? That would be great!

  4. Taco Oosterkamp said >

    Hi Hannah,

    Glad to hear that you like Fingertips – and you’re welcome!
    I have an item on my Someday/Maybe list to add functionality to access any field for an Outlook item. If that materializes sometime in the future, that would take care of your request automatically. It isn’t a simple thing though, so don’t hold your breadth. Or find me an investor 🙂

    Taco Oosterkamp

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