Outlook category shortcuts

I’m new to Microsoft Outlook 2007 having just switched over from Thunderbird to accommodate Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Anyway, yesterday I was creating some voice shortcuts using keystrokes so I could categorize my messages with one command. In the course of doing this, I noticed that I could only do this for three different categories. The reason for this is because having more than three categories would require seven or more keystrokes. The VoicePower voice shortcut editor only allows six keystrokes. Then I noticed Outlook gives you the option of assigning shortcuts to these different categories using the keys CTRL+F2 through CTRL+F12. So I thought, “Problem solved!” (And, as a bonus, the command would probably execute more quickly because there are way less keystrokes) Alas, none of these keys are an option in the voice shortcut editor (at least that I could see). This isn’t a big deal as I can say “categorize” and then ,which is only two commands. And to be honest, I don’t really use more than three categories on a regular basis. I just thought I’d point it out.Smile

I just did a little more testing with these category commands. Right now, I’ve made one voice shortcut to mark a message as “important”. To execute this command I have to say “important command”. If I use a stopwatch and start speaking immediately after I start timing myself, this voice shortcut takes between 4.7 seconds and 5.3 seconds to finish executing.

Then I tested to see how long it would take to issue the commands “categorize” and then “important” to mark my message as “important”. Again, I started speaking after I started the stopwatch. The time needed to mark my message as “important” using this method is between 4.2 seconds and 4.8 seconds depending how quickly I can say the second command. In other words, the voice shortcut is actually slower than issuing two commands. I’m guessing the reason for this is because there’s a wait time between each keystroke (and this command requires four keystrokes).

Oh, I did this using a best match III profile (as Chuck has mentioned that my computer may be suspect to latency problems if I use best match IV), so latency shouldn’t be an issue.


<p>We can certainly add more keystrokes to the keystroke shortcut command<font face="Arial">. However, before we go ahead and do that consider the following.</font></p><font face="Arial">

</font><p>There are many ways of using Dragon and VoicePower, particularly in those applications that Dragon directly supports<font face="Arial">.</font></p><font face="Arial">

</font><p>Dragon supports saying keystrokes directly<font face="Arial"> in both Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010, assigning keystrokes to the categories is basically the same. Assuming that you've done what I think you have (i.e., renaming the categories and assigning hotkeys to them), the only advantage of VoicePower would be that you could assign a command name to each of the categories on the basis of keystrokes. This would certainly make it easier to remember by being able to simply say, for example, "important", which would give you a single command for each category.</font></p><font face="Arial">

</font><p>However, the hotkeys assigned to categories are unique when working in Microsoft Outlook. That is, those hotkeys are not assigned to anything else and can be executed directly by simply saying the hotkey<font face="Arial">. Dragon directly supports issuing (saying) multiple keystrokes. So, for instance, if you were to assign Ctrl+F12 to "important", all you would have to do to directly execute in a single command the assignment of an e-mail message to your "important" category, would be to say "Ctrl+F12". With DNS 11.5 that would give you a single command, totally Dragon based and should execute such immediately without having to go through the two-step process of saying "categorize" followed by "important", which is obviously more than necessary.</font></p><font face="Arial">

</font><p>I've tested this out and it works virtually 100% reliably as a single Dragon command<font face="Arial">. If necessary, that is if it doesn't recognize what you say by just simply saying the keystrokes, you can always say "press Ctrl+F12". Remember that the spoken form of the command is "control F12" or "press control F12". I've also tested it in both DNS 10.1 and DNS 11.5, Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Outlook 2010, both with VoicePower loaded and without VoicePower loaded. There is no difference in performance in either case. These commands execute instantly in both cases (with or without VoicePower).</font></p><p>One of the reasons that I suggest you try this, even though you have to remember which hotkey you assigned to which category in this case, is to test the speed of execution because this is solely a Dragon command<font face="Arial">. In this way you can test whether or not the latency you are experiencing persists even if you use this method of assigning categories, and, if so, my suspicion is that the problem is not necessarily with Dragon alone, but with the speed of performance of your system. For example, I'm using Microsoft Outlook 2010 and when I issue the hotkey commands as noted above with DNS 11.5 Professional, the response is instantaneous.</font></p><font face="Arial">

</font><p>Please try this and let me know if the latency is the same even if you issue the single hotkey command (e.g. "control F12" or "press control F12"<font face="Arial">). That at least will give me information about latency issues on your system.</font></p><font face="Arial"></font>
<edited><editID>Chucker</editID><editDate>2011-08-21 16:52:36</editDate></edited>

In Outlook 2007, the first time you use a color category you have the option to name it. I've now done this for a number of categories. In the same dialog box you also have the option to activate what the dialog box calls a "Shortcut Key" for any of your categories. By default, the setting is "none" unless you activate it.

Right now, I have six categories (with each category having its own shortcut key). And it's true, if I say, for example, "press control F2" my message is almost immediately marked as important. (If I don't say "press" the command is not understood) There's hardly any wait time at all. I was just hoping there was a way to keep this speed and change the name so it's easier to remember. :-)

Actually, this seems related to something else I've noticed with "move to folder" and "change to folder" commands. These commands take 4.5-5.5 seconds to complete after I finish speaking (I start the stopwatch after I finish issuing the command). For both these commands and the commands I created for the categories, I can actually see the menus being opened as the command executes. This seems a bit strange to me because when I created keystroke shortcuts using Windows Speech Recognition Macros (before I had Dragon NaturallySpeaking), the response time was much quicker. So, my conclusion was that these shortcuts in Outlook are using keystroke macros and that there's a wait time in between each keystroke – thus causing the slow response time. Am I way off base?

Oh, one other random observation: saying "move to folder" quickly is the equivalent of pressing Ctrl+Shift+V. However, if I say the phrase a little bit slower and perhaps leave a slight pause in between "move" and "to" then the "move to folder" icon on the toolbar is clicked. Doing this (opening the "move to folder" icon on the toolbar) and then saying the name of the folder is sometimes actually faster than using a "move to folder" voice shortcut that I've created. I've tested this with a stopwatch as well. Anyway, I found this quite curious.