Six ways to work faster in MS Outlook

Organizations large and small rely on Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations to get the job done. In some ways Outlook is the poor cousin of the three high-profile Office apps. But the true workhorse in Microsoft's ubiquitous suite is the unglamorous e-mail/contact manager/task scheduler.

These six tips for Outlook 2010, 2007, and 2003 will let you spend less time reopening archived messages, jog your memory about reminders, drag files to send them as attachments, add terms to the spell checker, clear space on the taskbar, and enhance your list of click-saving keyboard shortcuts for Outlook.… Read more

Mint launches Sneak Previews; starts with Bill Reminders

Online personal-financial management service Mint is giving some CNET readers the chance to try out a new feature it's testing.

Called Bill Reminders, the service sifts through the Mint user's bank statements from the prior month and plucks out the bills they pay. From there, users can determine whether they want to be notified about the bills to ensure they're not late on future payments.

According to Mint, the reminders are sent to users via e-mail, SMS, or both, depending on their preferences. Users of the company's iPhone app will receive notifications about upcoming bills right on their smartphone, but they will not be able to use Bill Reminders from the app. Mint told CNET in a phone interview yesterday that notifications will be available to Android users "at a later time."

In addition to having Mint find bills, the service also lets users input bills the company might have missed. To do so, users need only assign the bill a name, input an amount, choose a date, and save it.

One of the features Mint touts is its timeline. On the main Mint page, users can view the next month, and find out which days they need to pay bills, marked by green bars. The bars come in different sizes, depending on how much the user owes. The taller the bar, the more they owe.

I had a chance to try Mint's new feature, and I was generally pleased. It found several of my bills without any trouble, and inputting new bills was quick and easy.… Read more

Freebie Tuesday: Music, e-books, apps, and more!

Yesterday's batch of free iPhone games got me in the mood for more free stuff. I mean, even cheap deals cost money, right? Sometimes you just gotta give the credit card a rest.

With that in mind, I've rounded up a handful of freebies for today. Nothing earth-shattering, but some worthwhile stuff to satisfy your daily-deal sweet tooth.

First up, Amazon is offering a free $2 credit for use at its MP3 store. Just click that link and enter code CLOUDMP3. Presto: you've got two bucks to blow on the songs or album of your choice. (If … Read more

Outsource the task of remembering with Springpad

Outsource the task of remembering with Springpad, a free app for Android and iOS. Rival to the popular Evernote service, Springpad lets you jot notes, create lists, bookmark items, copy recipes, record voice memos, and so much more, right from your mobile device or desktop browser.

First, create a Springpad account, with which your Springpad mobile app will automatically sync. Once you're logged in on your mobile device, you'll find on your Home screen a My Stuff icon, which aggregates all of your notes, and a Friends Stuff icon, which takes you to shared content. The rest of … Read more

Catch Notes handles text, voice, and photos

Catch Notes is a robust, yet simple notepad app that lets you keep track of your ideas using text notes, voice notes, camera notes, and more. Use it in conjunction with a free account to sync your notes to the cloud and access them from anywhere.

The Catch Notes interface is super clean and refreshingly intuitive, with all of its basic functions laid out as icons on the Home screen. My notes brings you to all of your work. Tags lets you search your notes using hash-designated keywords. Settings lets you customize certain features. And the rest of … Read more

Note Everything, the multitalented note taker

Note Everything falls somewhere between a basic, single-purpose notepad app and a richer, do-it-all note taker like Evernote. It's solid and stable, and, depending on the functionality you seek, it might be just what you're looking for.

Once you get started, the first thing you may notice is that Note Everything can punch out several different types of notes including Text notes, Paint notes, Voice notes, and Barcode notes. If you install the free Everything GDocs companion app, you'll even be able to import Google documents as notes (as well as export notes to Google Docs). If … Read more

ColorNote adds a calendar to your note-taking

More than just your basic notepad, the ColorNote app for Android takes your jotting to another level. You can set it to launch either to the default Workspace screen, where you create and organize notes, or the Calendar screen, where you keep track of any ColorNote notifications. Then, once you're done scrawling away, you can share your notes via any of your device's installed applications (Twitter, Facebook, SMS, Gmail, and so on).

When creating a note, you can choose from two styles: Text, for most uses, or Checklist, for bullet-style entries that can be checked off. Change the … Read more

AK Notepad is a no-fuss note-taker

AK Notepad for Android is your basic, bare-bones notepad app. The interface is clean, and using it couldn't be simpler. Open up the program and click "Add note" to get started. Once you're done typing away, you can set a reminder alarm for the note, or share it via any of your device's installed applications (Twitter, Facebook, SMS, Gmail, and so on). To prioritize a note, just pin it to your Home screen for one-touch access.

The Settings screen lets you tinker with fonts, font size, and horizontal line display. And if you use the … Read more

Track your hours

TimeTable is a low-cost tool that works with iCal to help you track your hours, so you know exactly how much time you've spent on particular tasks--which can be especially handy for consultants and anyone else who tracks their time for billing purposes.

TimeTable has a simple, multipane interface that plugs right into your iCal data: You see your iCal calendars on the left, which you can select or deselect, and a list of events with date, duration, and title on the right (and you can add a dozen different columns in all, including notes and start and end … Read more

iOS Tip: Create iPhone, iPad lock screen reminders

This tip is easy, but extremely useful for users wanting to get the most out of their iOS device. Interestingly, there are tens, if not hundreds, of calendar, to-do, and organization Apps for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that you can use to remember things.

But the best way may be a functionality that iOS offers already. The screen most people see the most is the lock screen. It stands to reason then that the lock screen would be the perfect place for a constant reminder.

There are any number of ways to accomplish this. One, provided by a … Read more