Pleexy : a smart connector between OneNote and your Task manager

Updated 02/11/2018. Pleexy is an innovative workflow automation tool (as far as I know, there is no other connector available in the market that work at the task level : Microsoft Flow, IFTTT, Zapier all handle a broader level : notes, sections… ; Taskclone do works at the task level, but it merely clones, it doesn’t sync). Please be aware that Pleexy is still in Beta. Not everything is working fine yet (see shortcomings paragraph), but it’s very promising !

Always looking for improving my organization and keeping ahead of tasks, I recently stumbled upon Pleexy, which holds the promise to synchronize OneNote with your preferred task management software (Todoist or Wunderlist).

Pleexy differs from Microsoft Flow, IFTTT, Zapier or Taskclone because it features a bi-directional connector. I found it was much quicker to set-up as well.

But more importantly, there is no “trigger” in the above mentioned online automation tools (except Taskclone) that sends OneNote’ tasks (tags) to Todoist.

Needless to say that it only works with notebooks stored on OneDrive.

(in the following lines, I will illustrate with Todoist)

 

Overview

 

 

Setting your connector

 

A connector defines :

  • A source, and its scope :
    • All notebooks
    • Selected notebook or section
    • All Tags or selected tags types only
  • A destination
    • Todoist default Inbox
    • or specific “Project” (folder) in Todoist
  • The heading of the resulting task in Todoist
    • customizable using field text such as {notebook}, {section}, {page}, {todo} or {todo_type}

 

Sequence of a synchronization

Sync run every 5 minutes.

After the Sync occurs, any new task created in OneNote (adding a tag) will show up in Todoist in the selected “Project” (folder).

1.Tag a task in OneNote
2.A task is added in Todoist Inbox

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you left the default Todoist Inbox in Settings, you may then file the resulting Todoist task in the appropriate “Project” folder.

3.Set a priority
4.Set a due date, and a time (if relevant)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.Check off a task in Todoist
6.The task is completed in OneNote

 

 

 

 

 

 

The magic is you can set several connectors, tailored to your need. For instance :

  • A connector between a notebook set in your Microsoft’ personal account and your Todoist “Project” (folder) called “Family” ;
  • A second connector between a specific section of another notebook and your Todoist “Project” (folder) called “Personal Finance”;
  • A third connector between a notebook set in your Microsoft’ professional or academic account and your Todoist “Project” (folder) called “Work”.

 

Shortcomings

Tasks in tables or nested lists : Since Pleexy is in Beta, and perhaps because of underlying limitation of the OneNote API, Pleexy don’t handle well tasks in nested lists.

Note that Task A temporarily exhibits two check-boxes : one empty, the other checked-off.

 

Also Pleexy didn’t handle appropriately tasks in tables, because it messed up with its layout. After sharing this issue with Pleexy, they decided to disable this feature to protect their users’ notes, while looking for a fix.

Task types : Pleexy supports OneNote Online tags :

This explains why the other tags available in OneNote desktop are not supported.

Outlook tasks (marked with a red flag), created in OneNote desktop, are not synchronized by Pleexy for example.

Note also that some OneNote desktop’ tags – although similar (but with different colors) – are not supported :

Note also that – even if “Discuss with manager” and “Todo people yellow” have distinct labels – they are handled similarly because they share the same tag shape and color.

 

Finally, because Pleexy supports only OneNote Online tags (or because tasks are not implemented consistently across OneNote versions…), Pleexy will hand over the generic name of the task – as it appears in the drop down setting menu – to Todoist (if you included the field {todo_type} in the task title template) . This means that if you defined custom tags in OneNote desktop, for each of your team members, you won’t be able to retrieve this information in Todoist.

A task is created for “Paul” (custom tag). Through the field {todo_type}, it is handed over as “Discuss with person” in Todoist when synchronized with Pleexy, loosing this useful piece of information…

 

LIRE AUSSI  Task management using template

Due date in natural language : if you type “New task next friday noon” in Todoist, it translates “next friday noon” into the corresponding due date. That doesn’t work if you type the same in OneNote, and get the task synced into Todoist by Pleexy.

Formatting : Pleexy sends the task’ heading in plain text. Bold, Italic, underlined portion of your text won’t be forwarded to Todoist as such.

 

Widen the scope

If Pleexy was only connecting OneNote with Todoist so efficiently, and with such an easy setting up, it would already be impressive enough !

But Pleexy also connects Outlook with Todoist : since most Todos arise from mail received or minute meeting (or journaling or shopping list…) written in OneNote, it becomes really convenient to use Todoist to gather all the task created in the different softwares you are using.

 

Because it can be misleading, please note that tasks created in Outlook are not supported : only mails flagged are synchronized with Pleexy.

 

Going beyond

You can even enhance the automation process offered by Pleexy, with other automation softwares.

For example, you could create a “Zap” (in Zapier) than create a new section when you create a new “Project” in Todoist.

Possibilities are endless : Enjoy !

 

Update 01/10/2018 : Zapier syncs every 15 minutes, in the free plan. Pleexy syncs every 5 minutes, which is smoother.

Nota 03/10/2018  : Pleexy is working to support tags on nested list : it’s behaving better today (but not yet totally fixed). Pleexy is also working on tags on table : a new version should be rolled out soon. Don’t forget that Pleexy is still on Beta !

On the other hand, Tasks on table seems tricky indeed. TaskClone states clearly that it doesn’t support it :

Tasks (and events) in tables are not supported by Taskclone neither

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not tested TaskClone thoroughly yet, but I don’t like having to add a #Taskclone’ tag to have my OneNote’ tasks (tags) being processed, nor my tasks being “tagged” with a |TC|  in OneNote when finally processed… (they call it a Skip code, and it prevent the task from being cloned twice…). Pleexy is much less invasive in this respect.

 

Update 04/10/2018 : I was probably a bit over-optimistic (and somehow misleading) when making this suggestion :

“…we saw earlier that a new task (tag) in OneNote triggers a new task in Todoist. But the opposite isn’t true (a new task created in Todoist won’t trigger a new task in OneNote…) : you could then create a “Zap” in Zapier that create a new note (or append an existing one) when you create a task in Todoist.”

Actually, this would conflict with Pleexy because :

  • each task (tag) you add in OneNote create a new task in Todoist (with Pleexy),
  • which in turn create a new “task” in OneNote (with Zapier).

Actually not a real task (with a tag) but a heading with the Todoist task’ description (that’s fortunate, because otherwise we would end up with an infinite loop !)

But that’s a duplication anyway, so I removed this bit in my blog post above.

 

Nota 13/10/2018 : If you are a beginner with Todoist, I suggest you read this blog post : There are many useful tips.

 

Nota 17/10/2018 : There are other ways to connect Outlook to Todoist :

  • Forwarding a mail from Outlook to a @Todoist.net address (requires Todoist Premium)
  • Using Outlook’ Todoist plugin (available in this site)

Pros : allow for converting a mail into a task PLUS setting due date, priority, destination “Project” folder and label… in one shot,

Cons : no synchronization.

 

Nota 18/10/2018 : Likewise, there is another way to duplicate a OneNote task into Todoist :

  • Copying-Pasting one or several tasks (tags) from OneNote into Todoist

Pro : easy (you can even add Markdown tags such as p1 for priority,  #project @label and dates in natural language, to have the task categorized directly into Todoist

Cons : no synchronization

 

Updated 02/11/2018 : Pleexy fixed some issues. There is still a minor quirk remaining, shown in the updated GIF. I discovered other issues with tags sync : 1. empty lines are removed after sync 2. empty page’ title are “locked” after sync. 3. expand/collapse (nested lists) doesn’t work anymore. 

with Taskclone
with Pleexy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same issues arise with Taskclone, indicating that the OneNote API (COM API ?) has some underlying limitations… I hope that – with the advent of custom tags in OneNote UWP – the REST API will allow more flexibility, and ultimately help solving these issues.

 

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