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Summary:

ClearContext is a nifty Outlook plugin that’s designed to help you organize your inbox. The latest version of the software adds task and project management capabilities, as well as replacing ClearContext’s original dashboard view with an unobtrusive sidebar that sits inside your Outlook inbox.

ClearContext is a nifty Microsoft Outlook plugin that’s designed to help you organize your inbox. The latest version of the software, ClearContext Pro v5.1, adds task and project management capabilities, as well as replacing ClearContext’s original dashboard view with an unobtrusive sidebar.

The functionality in the new version should help in three main areas:

  • Email organization. ClearContext automatically highlights the most important email in your inbox. It also helps you to empty your inbox by automatically suggesting the right folders to file messages to.
  • Task management. Turn emails into tasks, or create new tasks via the task window in the sidebar. A new Task Organizer lets you quickly review and update groups of tasks to change due dates, project assignments, etc.
  • Project management. The ClearContext sidebar provides status on your projects, and can automatically organize all the information related to a particular project (tasks, appointments, files, contacts, notes, etc).

Here’s a video showing off the latest features (note: it has no voiceover):

Inevitably, ClearContext is going to end up being compared with Xobni, a popular Outlook plugin that we’ve written about extensively, but really the two products assist in different areas: Xobni excels at helping you to search through your email and better organize your contacts, while ClearContext is useful for organizing email into folders and creating projects around those emails. If you’re the kind of person who’s highly organized and who has a place for everything, ClearContext can help you with that organization by automatically suggesting the correct places to file your email, which is useful if you’re pursuing Inbox Zero, and its task management tools could help you establish a Getting Things Done (GTD) system around your inbox. On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who relies on search tools to find old email, you’ll probably be better off with Xobni.

ClearContext Pro v5.1 costs $89.95 for new users, while upgrades from ClearContext Pro v4 cost $49.95. A free 30-day trial is available.

Let us know what you think of ClearContext in the comments.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Email: The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated

By Simon Mackie
  1. [...] more: ClearContext Evolves, Adds Project Management Tools to Outlook Share and [...]

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  2. Thanks for the great writeup, Simon. One note re: GTD – we have tons of GTD users and have created a setup guide for anyone interested in utilizing ClearContext within a GTD framework: http://www.clearcontext.com/gtd/

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  3. My own opinion is that using Outlook/Excel as a PM tool is not the greatest idea (although it has some advantages).

    Taking my opinion aside, I know for a fact that a lot of project managers want this functionality (clearcontext).

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  4. I think I’m going to try it, but I also still think that if you have a good search tool for outlook this “manager“ is enough! Maybe exept of project manager!
    But I will try how it works with my search tool Lookeen, even if I am very very satisfied with this tool! Oh by the way if somebody wanna have a look at it and want to try it here: http://www.lookeen.net
    Definitely also a big help!

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