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ClearContext Professional

CNET Editors' review

E-mail organization is of personal interest to us--and we know we're not alone when it comes to having a structured inbox. Certainly, ClearContext was counting on that when it developed ClearContext Professional, a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook.

The goal of ClearContext Professional is to help you stay in control of your inbox by providing organizational tools and rules for e-mails, tasks, appointments, and projects. Adding it to Outlook tweaks the interface to accommodate the variety of features designed to streamline your processes and save time. Noticeable changes include the addition of a taskbar at the top of the screen as well as an optional dashboard module on the right side. The app also automatically analyzes your e-mail to determine VIP contacts and then highlights those in red; messages from other known contacts are denoted with a green box.

The taskbar is where you can find all of the features that ClearContext Professional offers. Choose to automatically file unimportant messages (from unknown contacts); instantly file messages or strings of messages with one click; quickly turn e-mails into tasks or appointments; unsubscribe from unwanted conversations (such as those you've been cc'ed on); defer e-mails with one click; and view all past conversations with a contact within a single message window. The dashboard provides a terminal for viewing the scope of your workday, and serves to organize projects.

Certainly, several of these additions are useful. We're quite fond of the ability to view a truncated list of all past e-mails between a contact and ourselves in the bottom of any open message window with that contact (quicker and easier than Outlook's own "see related" feature). However, most finicky Outlook users who already have a pretty decent filtering system in place will be more thrown off by the add on than assisted. There's so much new going on that rather than making things feel streamlined, the app just seems like more clutter.

That said, for those who are just starting out with Outlook in a work setting, ClearContext could come in handy for initial setup and organization--especially for those who want to get all adjustments out of the way in the beginning. Plus, there's not much of a learning curve, so it should be easy as pie for newbies to catch on. However, the $90 purchase price is more than a bit steep. The good news is that you can check it out for 30 days before committing.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 12

  • 5.0 stars

    "Becoming ORGANIZED and Clutter Free. Hallelu-YA!"

    April 3, 2012  |   By rebusiness

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.4.5

    Pros

    Using the ClearContext software with michael linenberger's MYN settings will get you thinking with Clarity, become Clutter Free and have that great feeling that everything is under control. All Tasks, Emails, projects etc. everything is organized and prioritized. and makes me feel good and relaxed. Try it for free - it's addicting!

    Cons

    a bit slow when outlook starts. it doesn't matter that much because i load it once a day and it takes a few extra seconds

    Summary

    Get/Try it! your life will be so much more relaxed!!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "The best thing since crushed ice!"

    January 26, 2012  |   By Peter Vance

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.4.5

    Pros

    Works!
    Allows creation of multiple projects and sub projects
    Allows organization of emails, tasks, appointments, attachments, and contacts into projects. Dashboard allows viewing project by project
    Emails can be converted to tasks or appointments easily.

    Cons

    Doesn't include journals (I do make phone calls, so I have to insert the contact into the task and use contact activities to find calls.)

    Summary

    If you're managing mini projects (multiple tasks, people, etc ) that don't justify use of a project management tool (e.g. MS Project with email addin), this is the tool! I manage both types of projects and the overhead of MS Project was onerous for small projects. This is the solution and a great time saver.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Indispensible"

    February 3, 2011  |   By R Sanford

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.2.2

    Pros

    Filter out noise; relate tasks, appointments, and messages with projects; Follow-up reminders

    Cons

    Version 3 used to have five priority levels; I find Outlook's three to be insufficient. Version 3 also used to use a number of criteria to automatically prioritize your inbox. Version 5 apparently has done away with this feature.

    Summary

    I think the last two paragraphs of the editor's review do not do CC justice. Once you get used to using it, I find it removes clutter, rather than adding to it. I have been using Outlook in a business environment for over a decade, and with the CC add-on for at least four years. The follow-up feature alone is worth the price for me. You know you have some contacts whom you can send an e-mail and forget about it and some who often require follow-up. CC allows you to set a follow-up deadline, at which time you get a reminder if you haven't received a reply (unlike Outlook's follow-up flags which give you a reminder whether you receive a reply or not.)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "The ultimate email organizational tool for MS Outlook!"

    December 22, 2010  |   By jnbntz

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.2.2

    Pros

    One-click filing and ClearContext's ability to suggest the appropriate folder. Unsubscribe option. Conversation email view. Ability to convert an email into a task or appointment.

    Cons

    Nothing really. For what I need in terms of email organization, Clear Context works great for me.

    Summary

    Clear Context is a very robust product that has a lot of features. I like the one-click filing and suggesting the appropriate folder. I get a lot of mailing list email that I need to keep and read (eventually) but it clogs my email so the Unsubscribe option is crucial. I appreciate the conversation view of emails since to my knowledge MS Outlook doesn't have any such feature like this. I also like the ability to convert an email into a task or appointment. Admittedly I don't use all the features of clear context, but even so, it is very easy to install/setup and get started.

    If you're drowning in email and want an intelligent filing and organizational system for your email, then Clear Context is just the tool for you. Clear Context takes all the things you currently do "by-hand" in MS Outlook and makes them easier, faster and automated.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Wonderful tool to organize email communication"

    October 4, 2010  |   By TuxxFoxx

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.1.1

    Pros

    productivity galore, quickly file email, easy access to project folders, create a unified (Calendar, tasks, emails) of projects.

    Cons

    Nothing really

    Summary

    This software just works. If you get and store a lot of email in Outlook and need a way to organize them and access them, this is what you need. It's similar to how Tags works in Gmail, instead it uses Folders as a tagging mechanism. It simply works, making it easy to organize calendar events, tasks, emails and also enhances the ability to cross over from one to the other (creating tasks or calendar events from emails, etc.).

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Finally! Outlook productivity measurements!"

    July 30, 2010  |   By goosekl

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.1.0

    Pros

    The reporting is very helpful, especially when you're trying to measure email productivity. This tool helps to identify emails from your most important customers for quicker responses. I have been able to improve my overall email organization.

    Cons

    I would like to have the ability to create customer reporting.

    Summary

    I have found this tool to be incredibly useful. It has proven to be a time saver and makes even organized individuals more efficient.
    The attachment explorer makes locating files and their corresponding emails very easy. I don't know how much time I've spend over the years looking for specific attachments with my vast email boxes.

    All in all, I have found this product to do exactly what it says it will. The only thing I would ask for is the ability to create custom reporting and to measure my subordinates email productivity.

    Kudos ClearContext!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Outstanding tool for organizing and clearing the inbox!"

    July 28, 2010  |   By jabaim

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.1.0

    Pros

    Very simple to install and configure, highly intuitive to use. CContext did a great job of importing my existing outlook folders, and guessed the right folder for new mail to go to a ridiculously high % of the time. Huge timesaver.

    Cons

    The relationship between projects and folders is a bit obtuse at first, but the learning curve is not very steep.

    Summary

    There are those who like to keep hundreds of messages in their inbox and search for the right message. This tool is NOT for them. ClearContext is for those who believe that every message has its place, and wants a tool to help get it there, or for those who's inbox has become a frightening, crowded place.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Outstanding! None better!"

    July 9, 2010  |   By jimbellave

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.1.0

    Pros

    As a project manager for a telecommunications corporation, I needed a way to organize, search and control the everyday flood of emails. I've tried all the applications and addons out there. This one is by far the best.

    Cons

    I seriously cannot think of any cons to this application. Earlier versions were a bit buggy, but the latest is rock stable.

    Summary

    Highly recommended if you are a heavy Outlook user who must organize, seach and retain project oriented emails.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "One of, if not the most practicable Outlook adds on"

    June 19, 2010  |   By executivenow

    Version: ClearContext Professional 5.1.0

    Pros

    After trying and researching Outlook Add ons for the past couple of years, I found that ClearContext to be the most practicable, fast and dependable one of the martket . I find myself continuing to go back to it time and time againt.

    Cons

    I do think and only think that it does slow Outlook up slightly but that is more than made up in the time it has saved me for all the time I spent in front of Outlook and ClearContext

    Summary

    I like all the features ClearContext has and have used all of them for differenct times and the one I use every time I received my emails is the defer feature, that in itself enable you to defer any email to any date, time you like, mostly when it suits you to either espond or read the email at one's convenience, and it has never failed or lost any email. I have been extremely happy with it and I beleive it will be some time before any body can come up with a product that can comfortably compete with it.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "FINAL STOP FOR PRODUCTIVITY! (referring to TWC-MYN ver)"

    January 6, 2009  |   By sense123

    Version: ClearContext Professional 4.5.3

    Pros

    For several years, I've been incorporating some of David Allen's "GTD" methodology later combined w/ Michael Linenberger's 1st & 2nd ed. system of "TWC-MYN", and now inding this amazing software putting the method into a simple and powerful product

    Cons

    No cons! - That said however, I highly recommend the "ClearContext TWC-MYN edition" for even better task, project & email managemen. This version could be found on the Total Workday Control website OR at http://www.clearcontext.com/partners/twc/

    Summary

    a great productivity tool!
    I was so delighted to come across the TWC-MYN ClearContext edition of the system, since, in addition to automatically configuring all the outlook views for tasks and email management (thus saving hours of configurations), it is also packed with so much more productivity features. I highly recommend the software to anyone who is tired of facing dozens of daily tasks without a methodology and clear steps of how to tackle them (as well as organizing and extrapolate tasks from your overflowing email inbox)! 5 Stars!!!!!
    P.S. BTW, they also have a David Allen's GTD version as well if you wish to stick to the original methods only.

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Results 1-10 of 12

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