Follow Up Flags and the Default Reminder in Outlook 2007


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There have been dozens of comments recently on my previous post about Changing the default reminder time in Outlook 2007.  The comments are not about the default reminder time for appointments… but rather the default reminder time for follow up flags.  The concern being that it is really strange that the default is 4pm and it seems there is no easy way to change that to something more acceptable (like 8am).

I would like to discuss this a little to hopefully help everyone out. Whilst on the surface it might look annoying (especially for those how have just moved to Outlook 2007)… there is actually a good reason why the default reminder is 4pm.

First lets talk about Outlook 2003

In Outlook 2003, medications a follow up flag is a follow up flag. You set a time and a date for the reminder and that is that.

In Outlook 2007 however, price there are different types of follow up flags. There is a “Today” follow up flag, urticaria a “Tomorrow” follow up flag, a “This Week”, a “Next Week” and a “Custom”. Obviously, if you use a “Today” follow up flag (which is the default), it will remind you today. If you set a “Tomorrow” follow up flag, it will remind you tomorrow.

The “Today” flag is designed to remind you about things that you need to finish before you go home from work today… hence why it the default is for it to remind you 1 hour before the end of your work day (which would be 4pm in most cases).

As the “Tomorrow” flag is designed to remind you about things to do tomorrow, it will remind you by default at the start of the next work day (8am in most cases).

So say you want to have your default reminder first thing tomorrow morning? Then it is easy to change the default flag that is set. Simply right click on where you currently set your flag, and then in the pop up menu click on “Set Quick Click”. Change the default to “Tomorrow” and your default reminders will now be 8am on the next business day.

Hope that helps clear up some of the confusion around follow up flags. I can understand why it would be confusion coming from Outlook 2003, however with the new flexibility to set different types of flags, Outlook 2007 gives you a lot more control over when you get your reminders.

’till next time!
TNP 😉

PS. If you want to learn more about the default times, you can look at this Office Online help page – http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA012317831033.aspx

27 thoughts on “Follow Up Flags and the Default Reminder in Outlook 2007

  1. I dug around elsewhere and found a screen shot of what this should look like. “Set Quick Click” is not a menu choice in my Outlook. Why might it not be?

  2. I think the question we’re all asking is how to change the default time for custom flags. It’s a pain to set a flag for a specific date, and have to change the time to the morning of that date every time. I’d rather have it default to the morning, which is what I’m more often looking for, than an evening reminder.

  3. I agree with Salina. Either give the option to set our own today reminder time, or default it to first thing in the morning. Some jobs take more than 1 hr to finish up!

  4. I also agree with Salina. Would it be possible to default to a different time for all instances EXCEPT marked as today. (I never use the Today option, so I am having to change the time on every message I flag.)

  5. The default reminder time is still set at Tools, Options, Preferences tab, Calendar section.

    Hey TNP:
    I have a different problem on default date and time. I’ve set my quick click to “Complete”. When I do that, the reminder is set to “Saturday, January 01, 4501”. It forces me to select today to pick an actual date. Any suggestions on how to fix?

  6. Salina and the others are correct. Much more often than not, I am setting custom flags for as much as a month out. Every single time (and this occurs frequently during my day) I must reset the default time from 4:00 pm to 8:00 am. MS designers have summarily decided that 4:00 pm is the best default time, but that is no reason to not have other options; especially since other options are clearly desired.

  7. it is not only the custom flags but the “Add Reminder” option as well in the same menu. That defaults to 8pm! If I am adding a reminder on an email to take care of it on March 1st there is no earthly reason I would want to be reminded at 8 pm! If I am in a hurry and forget to check the time I am out of luck on getting that job done that day. There must be a way to change the default time on these…please!!!!!

  8. In Outlook 2007, when I set a custom reminder or choose the date manually, the reminder time in the window defaults to 6:30pm. Every time I then have to reminder to set the time to 8am. How can I reset the custom reminder time to something more useful (8am)? Thanks! Mike

  9. Has Microsoft identified that this is a very irritating problem? From what I can understand, the ‘one hour before the end of the day” is the default only for the Today option. I set most of my flags for specific dates, and I need to choose the start of the day and not the end of the day.

    Thank you.

  10. I have a user who has no options in her follow-up menu, just ‘Flag’ and ‘Clear Flag.’ Is there a setting for this? I haven’t found one.

  11. I find this post both amusing and annoying. The question is, “How can I customize the default reminder time for follow up flags?” and the answer is “Let me explain how Brother Bill and Mother Microsoft know more about your needs than you do.” So if you think you need a different default time, you are wrong. Microsoft said so. End of discussion.

  12. I HAVE A PROBLEM! I dont even have the option to add a reminder when clicking follow up. I only get to flag the email. Is there a settings menu so i can add the reminder option? Thank you in advance!

  13. Unlike what the article says, the Tomorrow flag also defaults to the end of the day. It seems most readers here, including me, want the option of changing the default to the beginning of the day. I agree with Don 13/08/2010.

  14. Same problem as Matthew. One of my e-mail accounts does not have an option for a reminder date. All I can set is a message flag. Another e-mail account on the same Outlook 2007 install works perfect.

    I have searched for nearly 2 hours for a fix but found nothing yet.

  15. Thanks for posting this–been annoyed by this “feature” for years. Finally decided today I was going to “fix” the annoyance. Dug and dug in Outlook and couldn’t find where to “fix” it. Outlook Help wouldn’t give me the answer no matter what I entered for search words. Makes complete sense once you know this simple explanation. Go figure I’d have to find the answer somewhere other than within the Help file!

  16. Since Outlook is uncompromising in this regard, here’s an alternative approach:

    1. Outlook >> Tools >> Options
    2. Under Calender, click Calendar Options button
    3. Under Calendar Work Week, change the End Time to (for example) 9:00 AM
    4. Click OK to close Calendar Options window, as well as Options window

    Then, right-click the Reminder / To-Do Item flag for any email, choose ADD REMINDER and note that the Default Reminder Time is now 1 hour prior to the time you defined as the End Time (EOD). If you configured the Start and End times less than approx 3 hours apart, the Default Reminder Time will be one hour after Start Time.

    Please note that the End Time is utilized for other functions as well .. such as “All Day” calendar entries .. but I would suffer that loss of function, just to have a true custom reminder time!

    ~The Original Paulie-D

  17. **TYPO CORRECTED**

    Since Outlook is uncompromising in this regard, here’s an alternative approach:

    1. Outlook >> Tools >> Options
    2. Under Calendar, click Calendar Options button
    3. Under Calendar Work Week, change the End Time to (for example) 9:00 AM
    4. Click OK to close Calendar Options window, as well as Options window

    Then, right-click the Reminder / To-Do Item flag for any email, choose ADD REMINDER and note that the Default Reminder Time is now 1 hour prior to the time you defined as the End Time (EOD). If you configured the Start and End times less than approx 3 hours apart, the Default Reminder Time will be one hour after Start Time.

    Please note that the End Time is utilized for other functions as well .. such as “All Day” calendar entries .. but I would suffer that loss of function, just to have a true custom reminder time!

    ~The Original Paulie-D

  18. Default reminder times for flags are based on the start/end of day in your calendar settings.

    For the longest time my default for right-clicking the flag in a message and choosing ‘Custom’ would be 10:30pm. This was confusing me until I changed my Tools > Options > Preferences > Calendar > Calendar Work Week settings.

    It had been configured so that my workday that ends at 11:30pm. All my reminders were one hour prior to the end of the workday (10:30pm). Once I corrected it to 6pm, my default reminder time became 5pm.

    Make sense?

    Murph

  19. This post is getting long in the tooth, but it appears that there is still no solution to the mistake Microsoft made in setting up their follow up flags. Yes, as Salina and others have pointed out, it is a mistake. I don’t buy the “there is actually a good reason” line… there is a reason, but it’s a pretty flimsy one. Most of us can recall things to do today. It’s later in the week, month, geologic cycle that presents problems. For those follow up flags (the VAST majority we set – I don’t think I have EVER used “today”), a morning reminder is far, far more useful. Typical big software arrogance/myopia… I’m sure it sounded like a good idea in the conference room when they explained their “good reason” for setting a 4:00 PM default that cannot be changed. Too bad the real world is generally not the same as that Redmond conference room.

  20. Thank you Original Paulie-D! Changing my end of day in the calendar options to 9am has made my default flag time 8am. Such an odd way to fix it, but it works!

  21. Great explanation, but I will agree with a few other posters re a “mistake”…in my view No Date should have defaulted to 0800h! I like No Date because there are indeed no dates…too bad the time defaults to the “Today” time of 1600h.

  22. I would like to change the “start date” and the “due date” to “None”
    Do you know how to do that?

  23. I have the same problem as Kent, Matthew and Doug but no one has addressed that. I get no options for setting a follow up date. It just sets the flag and that is it. No Custom Option, just Set Flag and Clear Flag. Must be a setting somewhere but I can’t find it.

  24. Changing the “End Time” of your calendar work week to one hour past the default time you want for a reminder solves this problem. It does not appear to affect your main calendar which was my concern. The below steps will provide a default reminder time of 8:00 AM.

    1. Outlook >> Tools >> Options
    2. Under Calendar, click Calendar Options button
    3. Under Calendar Work Week, change the End Time to (for example) 9:00 AM
    4. Click OK to close Calendar Options window, as well as Options window

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