Overview of the spreadsheet
Available for download above is an Excel spreadsheet that can be used as a reminder system. It is designed for use by lawyers, but could be used by anyone who wants a simple to-do list that reminds them of tasks requiring completion from time to time.
There are many different computer programs available that provide reminder systems (Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, smart phone calendar systems, etc.). However, this Excel spreadsheets arguably meets the following requirements as well as, or better than any:
Extremely quick to create reminders. The quicker and easier to set the reminder, the more likely one will actually set one rather than convincing him or herself that “I’ll just remember that”!
Extremely quick to modify reminders, including pushing to-do items off to a future date.
No pop ups. It can be annoying when working on other tasks to be interrupted by pop up reminders that have to be put back to sleep.
Ability to sort reminders by date with clear indication of past due items.
Ability to sort reminders by file. This enables one to quickly check whether a particular reminder has been set, and allows batch deletion of reminders when a matter is resolved and the reminders are no longer needed.
Other advantages of the reminder spreadsheet is that one does not need to rely on a legal assistant e.g. to pull paper reminders from a 31 day accordion file. Some might complain that the Excel spreadsheet lacks the take-anywhere-convenience of a smart phone or pocket sized paper diary, and while those points are valid they may not be big factors for people who do most of their work in the office where Excel is readily accessible, and who find typing on smart phones clumsy. Also, the spreadsheet allows one to copy and paste into the reminder description a document path (i.e. the path to a document on the server) as that often reduces the typing required to describe the to-do task; this could not be easily done on a smart phone.
The spreadsheet was developed using macros (programmed in visual basic) and in order for the spreadsheet to operate your security settings in Microsoft Excel must be set to allow macros to run. To enable macros in Excel 2010 (similar procedures will apply in other versions of Excel) click:
Macros can pose a security risk because they make your computer perform certain steps automatically, but are typically only dangerous when made to be that way by a computer programmer with a malicious intention – hence the warning when you change the security settings in Excel. However, the macros available in the spreadsheet available for download on this page are made with good intentions and should not harm your computer.
Users downloading and using this spreadsheet do so entirely at their own risk and agree to accept all risks associated with using the spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet is open and users familiar with macros can review (and modify) the code.
Beware before modifying the spreadsheet
The spreadsheet is generally intended to be used in its current form, but those familiar with coding visual basic macros are obviously free to modify the spreadsheet as they wish. Note that the cell items with “!!!” at the end of the text are landmarks used by the visual basic macros and so they should be not deleted.
Video demonstrating operation of the to-do list: