Here’s a list of the types of macros available in AutoGTD. For a quick reference, use the Cheat Sheet option by double-clicking the AutoGTD icon in your tray bar. You can customize any of the hotkeys below by editing the AutoGTD.ini file which is created after you run the program the first time. Also, a shortcut is provided if you open the Cheat Sheet menu and click the Change Hotkeys button. If at any time you feel like you may have messed up your AutoGTD.ini file, you can easily delete it and restart AutoGTD and it will re-create the file with the default settings.

Shortcut links to sections below:


Outlook® 2007 and newer allows you to map up to 10 Categories to a CTRL+Function key. Therefore, if you select 10 categories and map them to CTRL+F2-F12. By default, AutoGTD, maps the following category hotkeys:

Outlook® Shortcut You Press Suggested GTD Category
CTRL+F3 1 !Next
CTRL+F4 2 @Computer
CTRL+F5 3 @Read/Review
CTRL+F6 4 @Someday
CTRL+F7 5 @WaitingFor
CTRL+F8 6 @Phone
CTRL+F9 7 @Errands
CTRL+F10 8 @Reference
CTRL+F11 9 @Personal
CTRL+F12 0 @Killing Time

In addition to assigning these 10 categories, you can also assign a hotkey (default F2) to open the categories window and select any other category you may wish to use.

Moving Selected Messages to Folders

One of the most important GTD principles is that you process every item in your in baskets regularly and “process it” for next action. It also recommends strongly that you touch each email (or paper item) only once and then you decide what needs to be done.

Here is a graph that I have printed and hung by my desk (Source: Michael Hyatt). It helps me to remember the basics of processing my emails. I refuse to leave emails requiring action in my Inbox. I either do them now (if they take 2-3 mins to do) or I “flag” them (more on flagging emails below) and assign a context category, then move them to my Action or Waiting For folder. If I don’t need to do something with it now, I still hang on to my email and just archive them in case I need to search them later. For me it’s easier to keep everything and just search for what I need than try to see the future of whether or not I’ll need something later. But that’s my personal preference.

Here are the shortcuts for moving the selected message(s) to folders:

Folder You Press
Archive `
Action a
Read/Review r
Inbox i
Someday/Maybe m
Waiting For w
Deferred d
Junk E-Mail j
Lists l

Bulk Moving Emails

Next, AutoGTD has a powerful feature where you can perform a search for all emails which match a certain criteria and then move all matching emails to a folder. This works on a slightly different paradigm that “touch every email only once”. Every once in a while, I get back from a meeting to find 50 new emails. I need to scan them quickly to see if there’s something I need to respond to quickly. Sometimes, there are conversations that occupy 30 emails that are not pertinent to me. So I will sort by subject, select them and press CTRL+q to mark them as Read. Then I can use a Bulk Move macro such as the first one below to clear out my Inbox so I can focus on the others.

The first two are universal and I use them frequently. The rest of mine are personalized, so go ahead and customize them to suit your needs.

Description You Press Search Folder to move to Mark as Read?
Archive read messages which aren’t flagged ALT+` read:yes hasflag:no OR followupflag:completed Archive Yes
Move all flagged emails to Actions folder A hasflag:yes Action Yes
Move personal emails to Personal folder P from:wife OR from:friend OR subject:disneyland Personal Yes
Move @Someday emails to Someday/Maybe folder S category:@Someday Someday No
Clear out Twitter/Facebook status updates (Bacn) B from:twitter OR from:facebook Status Updates Yes
Move alerts to Alerts folder C from:newmon OR from:availability Alerts Yes

I felt like six was enough of these, but if you need more, just ask.

P.S. I swear by Alt+` (backtick). It’s very comfortable. Try it out!

Jumping to other Folders

I’m a keyboard guy, and try to avoid using the mouse when possible, so naturally, I wanted quick shortcuts to jump between folders. You pick the folders. The defaults are:

Folder You Press
Inbox ALT+1
Action ALT+2
Archive ALT+3
Sent ALT+4
Read/Review ALT+5
Someday ALT+6
Tickets ALT+7
Waiting ALT+8
Drafts ALT+9
Deleted ALT+0

Other Helpful Shortcuts

This is the part where I need your help. I’ve come up with some ideas of what other shortcuts would be helpful, but with your help, we can discover great new options for efficiency. Here’s my list so far:

Feature Name You Press Outlook® Default Key
Open Reminder Dialog R ALT+aur
Create a new Task T CTRL+SHIFT+k
Create a new Calendar Appointment n CTRL+SHIFT+a
Reload AutoGTD (reload hotkeys from .ini) CTRL+SHIFT+`
Hotkey to open Cheat Sheet CTRL+SHIFT+Space

Here are some others that I would like to do as soon as I get some time:

Feature Name You Press Outlook® Default Key Thoughts
Set Flag for Today s [INS] Flag with no due date. Like a Gmail Star
Set flag for Today with Reminder CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]today[ENTER] Useful (reminder fails if it’s after 4pm already)
Set flag and Reminder for Tomorrow t CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]tomorrow[ENTER] Useful
Set flag and Reminder in two days CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]2days[ENTER] Useful
Set flag and Reminder in three days CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]3days[ENTER] Useful
Set flag and Reminder in four days CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]4days[ENTER] Useful
Set flag and Reminder for Monday CTRL+SHIFT+g[TAB]monday[ENTER] Useful
Hotkey to edit hotkeys Not necessary but why not?
Mark message as read q CTRL+q Useful (wish Outlook® made a toggle)
Mark message as unread Q CTRL+u Useful
Create a new Meeting Request CTRL+SHIFT+q Useful
Jump to search box / F3 Necessary
Delete an email e CTRL+d Like Gmail
Forward email f CTRL+f Like Gmail
Reply to email r CTRL+r Like Gmail
Reply All to email a CTRL+SHIFT+r Like Gmail
Move down in the list j [DOWN] Like Gmail
Move up in the list k [UP] Like Gmail
Move down and select next item Shift+j SHIFT+[DOWN] Like Gmail
Move up and select next item Shift+k SHIFT+[UP] Like Gmail
Open current email o CTRL+o (or [ENTER]) Like Gmail
Compose new message c CTRL+n Like Gmail
Open Context Menu . SHIFT+F10 Useful
Open Move Message box v CTRL+SHIFT+v Useful (What? 10 folders wasn’t enough?)
Flag for today and move to Action
Flag for tomorrow and move to Action !auo^+v0[ENTER]
Follow up this week and move to Action
Flag, Categorize @Computer and move to Action
Flag, Categorize @Someday and move to Someday CTRL+s
Flag, Categorize @Review and move to Review
Flag, Categorize @Waiting and move to Waiting


More on flagging emails in Outlook®

Flagging emails are a big part of my GTD system in Outlook®. Pressing the Insert key on the keyboard will toggle between flagging and marking complete an email. Flagging an email does several things:

  1. It makes a visible red Flag that quickly identifies that you need to do something about this email.
  2. It adds it as a Task where it shows up under the “Tasks” section. This can be a powerful tool to process your workflow and find out what is the best thing to work on next.
  3. It allows you to quickly find all emails in a thread (via the blue “Follow up” box in the Preview pane)
  4. It sets an attribute that you can use in searches to bulk-move flagged messages to a folder (such as Action)
  5. The default flag (dark red) does not set a specific date for it to be accomplished.
    • You can also right-click on the flag (or press AutoGTD hotkey R) to select other time-frames around it, such as Today, Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week, or select a specific date.
    • You can also select a reminder about any specific email that is flagged. This is helpful if you’re prone to forget a high priority task.

Final Note

Now that you can master your Inbox, you should not forget to process your Action folder and review weekly your @Waiting, @Review, @Someday, etc., and lists to prioritize what may need to act on.

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