Starting Out With Extreme Agenda…

Welcome to the power of Extreme Agenda. I have decided based on Reviews, Support Questions, and Testing that it would be a good idea to step through a few of the things you should know about Extreme Agenda. So here is a quick guide that new users and seasoned pros can use to find some useful information to make XA a more powerful and even easier experience.

 

Options

Most of the programs settings are quickly available by choosing Options in the right soft key menu. They are sorted based on what they are used for including View Types. So if for example you are in the Contacts View then the program will bring up Options screen opened to the contact related options.  If you would like to set options for other views or for General Settings, Adjusting the Display, making view selections, or category information simply push left/right on the top selection bar to re-populate the list below with the related settings.

General Settings contains settings that are more global across the whole application. Things like System Shortcuts, Filter setup, and how lists behave are some of the options you can change here.

Display Settings allows you to customize every aspect of the program’s look including Colors, Font Size, Background Images, Title Bar Display and more. Additionally the program allows you to save the look of the program out as Theme Files so you can keep a particular look and color scheme and share it with others. The functionality for this is available in the option’s right soft key menu under Display.

View Selection allows you to turn on/off any of the various screens in Extreme Agenda. Don’t want to use our Year View? Well turn it off and it will not show up as a choice in any of the menus. Additionally if there are views you arent able to find available, check here and see if they were defaulted to off.

Category Setup shows you a list of all available category names that are in use in your Outlook data and allows you to set a color and an Icon that will be used to represent each one. The settings to use these are in General Settings or in specific view options. You can get to this same icon and color functionality when choosing Categories in our Tasks and Appointment Editing Screens.

Individual View Settings will be covered more in later sections…

 

System Shortcuts

The first thing people ask about or assume we don’t have is System Shortcuts. This basically means the Organizer takes over the basic functions of the 3 built-In Pocket Outlook applications; Tasks, Contacts, and Calendar.  So if you choose Contacts from the Home Screen or even the icons under programs it would now go right to Extreme Agenda and use our more advanced program instead.

We do have this and it can be found under General Settings in Options. We have decided not to force you into this right away in the install as others do. Why? Well if you are trialing software and you have multiple programs trying to do this you can mess up your existing link with this. And, we offer more flexibility in allowing you to only take over the sections you want to. So say if for some reason you don’t want to use our tasks, well you don’t have to. 

In our uninstall process we will clean up the shortcuts if you have turned them on for Extreme Agenda, so feel free to try them when demo-ing as well. It makes for a much more integrated experience.

Contact Shortcut to Spin is an exclusive feature added because the right button on Standard Home Screens( and sometimes on Pro Screens) links to the Contacts. Instead of going directly to Contacts, this gives you the option to have it take you to our Extreme Spinner Selection View with Contacts already pre-selected. That way if you have individual Contacts setup in your Spinner or just want an easy way to get at all of the Extreme Agenda functionality it is usually just a button press away… A real timesaver.

Filters

Category Filters are a powerful tool to filter the data that is shown in the program. In the right soft key menu on the top level view screens Filter is available to allow you to adjust the filter and turn it on and off. When turning it on only the Data Items that contain the Category or Categories you have checked will be shown in the views. When a filter is active a [F] should appear in the top Screen Title Bar.

 

 

Filters have two other settings under General Settings. Start Saved Filters allows your filter to stay persistant. So if you shut off the program with the filter active and then come back to the program the filter will still be active. Global Filter means that the one filter is used throughout the program. If this is off, then the filter is per view, so Agenda Views, Contacts View, and Tasks View each use their own Filter setup. The filter you are editing is based on from what view you entered the filter screen from and should display at the top of the screen.

Over the Air Updates

If you have a data plan or other internet connection on your mobile device and want to know if you have the latest update to the program it just takes one quick visit to the options screen. In the Main program just choose Options. Now in th right soft key menu Check for Update is waiting. It will check and if an update is available it will display a list of what the new program adds and also allows you to download and install the new update immediately. Most updates are FREE, but if it is a Major Revision it will let you know this and allow you to install a trial of the new software(you wont lose any data), and then you will be able to revert back if you dont want to upgrade yet.

Preview Windows

There are 2 preview windows in Extreme Agenda that are commonly used. The Tasks List can show the currently selected Task in a window at the bottom of the screen and a preview window can be placed on the Calendar.

The Month’s preview will be located at the bottom of the calendar screen. Additionally for Landscape screens and the new bigger 320×320 square screens the calendar preview window can be placed to the right of the screen. We are also the only organizer that offers an additional bonus of showing the next month’s calendar preview along side this preview window. These Settings can be setup in the Schedule Settings screen in the Options.

A couple of quick tips that make these views even more handy:

On either the Task List or Calendar you can push ‘#’ or ‘space’ to toggle the preview from showing to not showing. So say on the calendar if you have ‘Text on Full Month’ enabled on your device you can quickly jump from a previewed mode that shows the preview and bars and/or icons to the full month which will show you text on each day.

And if the Day Preview window shows scroll arrows you can scroll the view using the ‘1’ and ‘3’ buttons on your phone. The week and timeline week view’s are based on the same technology so you can use this in these view as well.

The size of the font used in these views can be changed in the Display Settings by checking ‘Big Preview Text’.

 

Setting Date and Time

When setting up or selecting a date or time in the program we use our extremely simple date/time selection system. To operate it you can highlight the field you want to change and then push up/down to decrement or increment the field. If you click(and sometimes action) on the selected field box it will increment by a set amount as well. Push Left/right or click on the next field to switch to it. In addition on a Touch screen you can also swipe up or down on the screen to change the selected field. Example: On the Month Field just click in the month box and drag your finger down towards the bottom of the screen and it will move the hour back one. On the Date Selection screen if you push the Action button it will jump to a Calendar date selection screen. Jumping to “Today” is also available in the right menu.

Linking

Extreme Agenda uses multiple ways to link your data together. The main linking mechanism allows you to quickly link an item such as a contact, task, or appointment to any other item including other Outlook Items as well as files and even websites. To access these links with an Outlook item selected you can use the “Links” menu option or the key shortcuts by pushing ‘.’ or ‘*’.  You will then see a list of linked items for your selected item and the right menu will allow you to add or remove links quickly. Clicking on the item on the list will allow you to view that linked item quickly.  Additionally if you click action while viewing a single appointment or task it will bring up the main links screen showing not only text links, discussed below, but your linked items.

Text Links is another way you can link appointments and tasks to phone numbers, emails, websites and even contacts. Turn on the option under General Settings with “Parse Text for Links”. It then will parse your subject, location and notes for text it identifies as a link. Contacts will be recognized if the name is contained inside brackets [], a standard across several PIMs, and is available as a Contact Text option when creating New Tasks and Appointment.  To view these you can click action when viewing the item, and if Text or Regular links are available they will appear in a list for you to select and interact with.

Templates

Extreme Agenda contains a powerful Template feature for you to use when creating both Appointments and Tasks. So say for example you have an appointment that you have to enter quite frequently, like picking your daughter up from soccer. You know this will usually happen at 4pm at the park, is private, and falls under the family category. Simply create an appointment template by going to New Appt. and entering the Subject, Location, Times, Sensitivity and Category. Now instead of creating that appointment you can choose Save as Template in the menu. Now next time you need to create this appointment you can either choose New Appt. and then in the menu choose Apply Template or from a main menu just choose Appt. From Template and a list will be shown of all of your created templates. Choose “Pick Up at Soccer” and the appointment editing is opened with all of the information filled in. Its just that easy…

User and Contact Text

We have designed the program to be as easy as possible to re-enter information that you use a lot. So in entering Subjects and Locations you are brought right to a screen that allows you to select ‘User Text’ or text that you have defined that you use a lot. A few examples are pre-loaded, but if there is a phrase like “Workout with” or “Taylor School” that you know you enter a lot you can easily add this to the list from the right menu with New User Text. Then when entering the new field you can simply drop into the list and select it and it will be automatically inserted into the field. Location and Subject ‘User Text’ are stored separately, so you won’t see you Location based text in the subject and vice versa, so be sure to add new text to the right list. This feature is also available when editing notes and note fields.

Additionally you can easily enter the name and information for a Contact into these fields. When in the editing screen in the right menu is Insert Contact which allows you to pick from a list of formatted text containing the name and information on the contact you selected. You can choose the [] choice as well to create a link to that Contact as well.

So for example if you have an appointment to call Bob Jones simply choose “Call” in your User Text list, and it will get filled in on top. Then choose Insert Contact and select Bob Jones from your Contact List and then a Text format that contains his number. Its just that easy…

Search

The Search window is available from the right menu on most of the main views. It allows you to quickly search all of your Outlook data, including Tasks, Appointments, and contacts for a specific string. It quickly searches certain common fields of each of these items and returns a list of those that contain it for you to interact with. You also have the ability to turn on/off searching of the different types under Setup Search so for example if you never want to include Tasks in your search, just turn them off.

Spin Selection 

Our spin selection screen is the most advanced View selection screen available. It allows you to quickly select the view you want to access in the program. Up to 8 choices can be positioned around the spinner, and to select one you simply spin the wheel with the action pad or by dragging with your finger to the top selection box. Then click action and it will go to that view. On Touch Screen Device double tapping an item will also select and view the item.

The power comes from the fact that you can choose any view that you want along with including Saved Views, Website URLs, Program and File Shortcuts, or even Contacts. And you can order them in any order you find the most convenient. We also offer the ability for a system shortcut to go directly to this view for easy access from the main home screen. So it can be used as a power launcher to your most used programs or contacts, as well as quick access to your Contact and Calendar in Extreme Agenda.  

So for example I have mine setup so that my wife’s contact photo shows up to the left of Contacts on the spinner. So when I need to get a hold of her I simply hit the contacts right button on the Home Screen, and then hit the action right once to spin her into position, and action to have access to her. Three key presses and Im ready to dial or text her. Convenient!

We also offer a menu based system for accessing Extreme Agenda’s views using the right menu key that replaces the “Extreme” button or a “Next View” based right button system. So you can use what works best for you.

Saved Views

This allows you to save a view the way you want it configured. So say if you want to view your calendar with preview off and a filter to only show “work” category items with icons and bars. Well you can setup the view in that way and then choose Save View in the right menu and it will allow you to name and save the current setup. I can then add this into the spinner or access a list of saved views quickly from the Views or Spinner’s right button menu.

Project View

This is a very poweful view in which you can organize all of your Outlook Items in Projects and Sub-Projects along with Files, Website Hyperlinks, and Notes. It uses specialized categories and shortcut files to keep track of these projects. It can even show progress bars to show at a glance how complete the tasks are in the project.

In the Options you are also able to allow the Project’s Tree View to show Outlook Folders containing all of you Pocket Outlook Data. You can then easily select the item and add it to a project from here or even on touch screen devices drag it to its correct location.

Tools are also available that allow you to add all items of a particular category into a project or create a normal category out of the items in a project.

 

Display Options and Theme Files

Extreme Agenda is the most highly customizable Organizer as far as looks are concerned. If you have an idea of what you think it should look like or have seen another Organizer and thought, boy I wish it looked like that, well for the most part it probably can.

We will try to get into more of exactly what is available right here later. But if you are looking to change the look of Extreme Agenda try changing the ‘Display Options’. If you want to show more data or data in a different way then it is more than likely found in the individual views settings. Things like changing a list from one line to two or showing icons instead of text on the calendar.

Quick Tip: To quickly adapt to a color theme usually all it takes is to change the Title Primary and Title Secondary colors. Try choosing the Primary to match the Darkest color in the bar at the top of the screen, with the Secondary being a lighter version of the Primary or the light color in the top bar. Then usually if you just change the Selection color to something that fits with this color then you have pretty much matched a theme with little effort.  

Now if you want to get a little more advanced try experimenting with changing the default spin center to whatever you may prefer or the Titlebars or Selection Style Settings. Obviously you can get into way more advanced adjustments including using your own images but this is an easy way to adjust just the basics. These changes occur after you hit done so you will have to leave and come back in before they take hold(or leave with Cancel to not save them). And you can always go in and choose Set Display to Defaults under Display in the Options right menu, so feel free to experiment. And even consider showing us your themes in our Birdsoft Forums.

A great feature of  Extreme Agenda is that you can save your Display Settings in a Theme file which will have an .xath extension. These files save all the colors and settings so you can quickly go back to a theme at any time. So if you really like your current setup simply save it as a theme file by choosing Save as Theme File under Display in the Options Menu. Now you can start adjusting the display options knowing that you can quickly go back to a previous setup if need be, by choosing Load Theme File under Display and selecting the theme file that was created.

 

 

[ Watch for this article to be updated more over the next few weeks ]