Import Items (in Outlook or TimeTo format)

Use the Import Items command (from the File menu, or press Ctrl+Shift+I) to add items (or projects) to your schedule from a computer text file or from a Microsoft Outlook Calendar or Task export file of your choice. Import files can be up to 500,000 bytes in size. This is especially useful for importing standing groups of items having to do with a regular activity (for instance, you could import a group of items that occur on the days and weeks leading up to going on a trip, being on the trip, and returning from the trip).

(There is also a way to have TimeTo import items from Microsoft Outlook as they are created or edited: read about this in Synchronization Settings.)

TimeTo™ defaults to offering to import the filename import.txt (Your installation of Microsoft Windows may be configured to hide known extensions, in which case the import.txt file will appear in Windows Explorer simply as "import" rather than "import.txt".)

The import file can be created using the export feature from other software, or you can use a text editor such as Windows Notepad to build such a file manually. TimeTo™ recognizes import data in two formats: Microsoft Outlook export format or an import format specific to TimeTo. (You cannot import files created by TimeTo's Export Day View or Export Alphabetical View commands.)

To import a file, please choose one of the two instructions sets below, depending upon whether you are importing a file that is in TimeTo import file format, or whether you are importing a file in Microsoft Outlook format.


To import a file in TimeTo import file format

To import a file in TimeTo import file format (instructions for importing from Outlook format are further below),

  1. Place the text file (file with a .txt extension) into the folder which contains the TimeTo™ software (typically the "c:\program files (x86)\TimeTo" folder ...or, if the operating system of your computer is 32-bit Windows 7, 32-bit Windows Vista, or XP, then perhaps folder "c:\Program Files\TimeTo"). You don't have to close TimeTo™ before doing this.
  2. In TimeTo™, navigate to the Day View of the date to which you would like any import items that don't have a date specified to appear upon...
  3. ...or if you would like to import the items as projects instead of items, go to Projects List instead.
  4. Choose the Import Items command from the File menu in TimeTo™, locate the import file (if it is not called import.txt), then agree with the offer to proceed with importing.

The import file must be structured precisely as follows: Each item is on its own row in the file. Each row of the file contains up to four fields, in this order:

The fields must be separated by one space (no tabs, no commas), with a return at the end of each line. For example:
11/11/07 7:00am 1.00 test of first imported item
11/11/07 7:06am 1.30 test of second imported item
11/11/07 7:10am 0.20 test of third imported item


You don't have to include all the fields...

The acceptable formats for date, begin time, and duration are the same as when you enter them in date, time or duration fields. To learn about your choices, see Dates, Times, and Durations. This includes the option to express a date as, for instance, "7" for seven days from today (not the viewed day, but today), "-1" for yesterday, "2*" for two day's past the currently viewed date, or "mon" for the coming monday.

...thus, these are examples of legal structures:

All other item properties for the resulting items are set based upon your New Item Preferences (so, for instance, if you want all the imported items to have alarms, you could temporarily check the Alarm checkbox in New Item Preferences).

Blank rows and rows beginning with an asterisk are not imported. This means you can add comments to your import files by starting any comment row with an asterisk.

Items with past dates are ignored (this is not the case for importing Microsoft Outlook format, described below).

Important: As always, TimeTo™ assumes the date/month/year order that you have set in the Windows Regional Options Control Panel (from your Windows Start menu, choose Control Panels, then Regional Options), so your import file must match your date/month/year format to be sure to work properly. If TimeTo is presenting an error message during import indicating that the import file is not in the matching date format, and yet you are confident it is, this indicates that you may be missing a Windows registry key for international date formats: if so, perform the fix to your Windows described in Microsoft knowledgebase article in order to solve the problem (even though the article claims to only be for Windows 98, it also applies to Windows XP).


To import a file in Microsoft Outlook format

To prepare a file for import into TimeTo™ from Microsoft Outlook (these instructions assume the Microsoft Outlook 2003 English language version... the vocabulary of our step-by-step instructions when using Microsoft Outlook may differ slightly if you are using a different version or language edition) you must follow this series of steps in Microsoft Outlook (or follow the instructions that come up with other software you may be using that has the ability to create a file in "Microsoft Outlook format"):

  1. Launch Microsoft Outlook, and choose Import And Export from the File menu in Outlook (note: it doesn't matter if TimeTo™ is running or not during this procedure). (In Microsoft Outlook 2010, instead choose File > Open > Import)
  2. In the resulting Import And Export Wizard dialog, choose "Export To A File", then click the Next button.
  3. Choose either "Comma Separated Values (Windows)" or "Tab-Separated Values (Windows)" and click the Next button. Tip: The Comma Separated Values import is slightly cleverer than the Tab-Separated import regarding processing uncommon character groupings.
  4. In the Select Folder To Export From window, choose either Tasks or Calendar (depending upon whether you wish to export your tasks or your appointments), then click the Next button.
  5. In the Save Exported File As window, type whatever path and filename you'd like (if you chose Comma Separate Values the file should end with .csv, if you chose Tab-Separated Values it should end with .txt. If you would like a tab-separated file automatically imported into TimeTo™ then deleted, call it "c:\program files\TimeTo\importonce.txt" (see below for more on this option) or importoncesilent.txt if you'd like it imported and deleted without any feedback to the user (this instruction assumes your TimeTo™ schedule is in c:\program files\TimeTo folder. Specify the folder where your TimeTo™ schedule is. If unsure, choose About from the Help menu in TimeTo™ to find out.) ... then click the Next button.
  6. Check the "Export 'Appointments' from folder: Calendar" if you are exporting appointments, or check the Export "Tasks" from folder: Tasks if you are exporting tasks.
  7. Click the Finish button. (You can ignore the Map Custom Fields button).
  8. If a Set Date Range dialog appears, specify the date range you desire.

If you chose the import.txt or importsilent.txt option, the import will occur automatically when you launch TimeTo™. Otherwise, choose the Import Items command from the File menu in TimeTo™, locate the import file (in the path you specified in step 5), then agree with the offer to proceed with importing.

Tips on how certain fields are handled:

Total Work field: In a Microsoft Outlook task, the Total Work field is the estimated duration, and therefore this is what will become the duration for the resulting TimeTo™ item.

Blank Titles: Items with blank Titles are not imported.

Body of the Outlook Item: In a .csv import, anything in the Body of the Outlook item becomes a Note on the resulting item in TimeTo™. In a .txt import from Outlook, TimeTo will ignore the Body of the Outlook item.

Date format: Microsoft Outlook exports files using the date format specified in the Regional And Language Settings control panel of the computer running Outlook. TimeTo import files assuming the date format specified in the Regional And Language Settings control panel of the computer running TimeTo. Therefore, if you are exporting and importing on the same computer, things will be fine. However, if the two do not match, TimeTo will warn you during the import, and won't be able to complete the import until you change the date format on the TimeTo computer to match, and then exit and restart TimeTo and import the file again.b

Note for users of non-English language versions of Microsoft Outlook™: If you are using a version of Microsoft Outlook whose interface is a language other than English, French, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, or Swedish, you may run into trouble importing from Outlook. If you do, please contact so that we can offer the adjustments required to make it work.


Automatic import and file deletion with ImportOnce.txt and ImportOnceSilent.txt

Around once a minute, TimeTo™ checks for the existence of a file called ImportOnce.txt or ImportOnceSilent.txt in your TimeTo folder. If found, TimeTo™ automatically triggers the Import Items command for that file, then deletes the file when the importing is complete.

You can use this feature to automatically import items from other software, by setting up that software to export a file regularly to your TimeTo folder with one of these special names.

If the file name is ImportOnce.txt, then the import process is otherwise identical if you had imported the file import.txt using the Import Items command.

If the file name is ImportOnceSilent.txt, the process occurs silently (you won't be asked for or see any confirmations of actvity), so use this filename if you have set up a process where other software regularly drops an import file into the TimeTo folder and you don't want the import to disturb your work.


Related Topics
How To Use TimeTo™ With Microsoft Outlook

Need more help? or | © 2002-2015 David Berman Developments Inc. All rights reserved.