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The To-Do Bar is brand-new to Outlook 2007, and enables you to track your time and tasks wherever you are in the application. We hope you’ll find the post below informative, and in the coming months we will posting more about tips and tricks about using the To-Do Bar. Enjoy!
Instead of looking at scraps of paper, notepads, planners, and the Outlook Inbox, you can see everything you need to do simply by looking at the To-Do Bar. The To-Do Bar shows a Date Navigator (a small monthly calendar), your upcoming appointments, and a list of your tasks on the side of the screen. In the To-Do Bar, you can accept/decline meetings, quickly access the full Calendar, add new tasks, categorize, rearrange, and change the dates of your tasks all while responding to e-mail. With the To-Do Bar, you may never leave your Inbox.
A little background…
During site visits, we discovered that people frequently referred to desk calendars or their system clocks when looking for the date (sometimes changing their system clocks in the process - oops.) To help with this simple task, we added a Date Navigator to the To-Do Bar, which allows you to find a date with just a glance. In addition, clicking on a date in the Date Navigator takes you to the Calendar, making it even easier to get to this often visited place.
For many of us, what we can accomplish in a day is dictated by what appointments and meetings we have. By default, the To-Do Bar shows your next three appointments (you can change this in the To-Do Bar Options). Like the Date Navigator, the appointments in the To-Do Bar look and act just like they do in the Calendar: you can right-click on them to accept/decline meetings, change privacy settings, apply a Color Category, forward, print, and open.
Through our time management research, we found that people are likely to use scraps of paper or notepads to keep track of the tasks they need to complete because a) the content of these lists is always visible and b) it is easy to add items. Therefore, in the To-Do Bar, we made tasks always visible and added a task entry bar where tasks can be entered without switching context.
To add a task to the To-Do Bar, you can:
(And this is just within Outlook. You can also create tasks in SharePoint, OneNote, and Project and have them show up in Outlook too.)
We also improved upon paper lists by making it easy to manage your tasks once they are in the list. Once a task is in the To-Do Bar, you can:
In cell editing in the To-Do Bar: Changing to-do title of flagged e-mail with subject "Go to Soccer Game" to "Cancel Soccer Game"
The To-Do Bar also filters out completed items, keeping your list tidy.
You can change the arrangement of tasks in the To-Do Bar by using the arrangement drop down at the top of the task list. This feature enables you to easily switch from viewing your tasks by start date to due date to categories, etc. You can even specify your own custom arrangement.
Arrangement drop down: Default sorted by Due Date.
To prevent you from losing your tasks, overdue tasks continue to "roll over" to the present day until they are marked complete, deleted, or the flag is cleared. If you don’t complete your tasks, they will begin to accumulate in the Today grouping. However, we have kept the coloring of overdue tasks so that you can tell them apart.
Because not everyone works in the same way, we have tried to make the To-Do Bar as flexible as possible. The task list can be customized in the same ways that lists in the Task Module can be customized. (For example, you can turn off the coloring of overdue tasks by clicking on the Arrange by: header in the To-Do Bar, then Custom…, and then change the settings in Automatic Formatting.) You can also change the number of Date Navigators and appointments shown in the To-Do Bar by going to the View menu then to To-Do Bar (or from the context menu when you right-click on an empty area in the To-Do Bar )
Context Menu: Right-click on an empty area to get the context menu.
While one of the To-Do Bar's advantages is that it's always visible, you can also minimize it, thereby allowing for more space for viewing mail while still providing useful information such as the time and subject of the next appointment and the number of remaining tasks on the day. Clicking on the minimized version also has the added benefit of flying out in order to see your upcoming appointments and tasks without the need for fully expanding the To-Do Bar.
Mini To-Do Bar: Clicking the minimized To-Do Bar shows the fly-out.
The hope is that the flexibility we have provided will let you work any way that you are accustomed to – while still providing valuable information to help you get your job done.
We would love to hear about your own experiences with the To-Do Bar and what ways you have made it work best for you.
Jed BrownOutlook Program Manager
For more tips and tricks on the To-Do Bar, and time management in Outlook, see blogs.msdn.com/melissamacbeth -Melissa
Hello, Its great to see that the outlook team is blogging. I'd like to see a blog on how large mailboxes > 4Gb and huge item count affect performance. Technical comments on how outlook deals with sorting, arranging and searching will be helpful. I'd also like to understand the underlying connecitivity information between outlook and exchange. thanks
+1 to showing up all-day/multiple-day events +1 to the ability to filter appointments
In the "To-Do List" folder I am showing tasks/task subfolders/contacts/emails for items with the "flag status" set. This should be useful to create a punchlist (across subfolders) - a huge issue / deficiency of Outlook for project mgt). However for some reason it seems to be impossible to "clear flag" for tasks so that an item is removed from the list (e.g. I decide I don't want to focus on it now). You can only "clear flag" for emails - no other types of items. All you can do to remove the task item from this list is "complete the item". Is this a bug? It seems like a huge weakness to me. Highly significant as well for what I am trying to do.
Steve, The To-Do list shows all of your flagged e-mail, flagged contacts, and *all of your tasks.* If you want to filter your To-Do List to only show some tasks, you could create a category, such as "clear from To-Do list" and then apply a filter to the To-Do list to hide those tasks. a. View->Current View->Customize Current View... b. In the Customize View dialog, click on “Filter…” button. c. Click on the Advanced tab. d. Under “Fields” select “All Task Fields” and then “Categories” e. Click on the “Condition” drop down, and select “doesn’t contain” f. In the value field, add “Clear from To-Do list” and then click “Add to List” (Ok, Ok) For other tips and tricks, see:
blogs.msdn.com/.../578477.aspx Good luck!
The Today- and Later-sections just disappeared from my To-Do list. I think that it is my Tasks that have gone missing. How do I get them back here?
Lelle, Try resetting your view:
1. Click on the "Arrange by:" header in the To-Do Bar.
2. Select "Custom..."
3. In the dialog, click on the "Reset Current View" button in the lower left corner. -Melissa
I don't know what happened, but I updated (not changed) the dates of my upcoming tasks, one by one. Then the sections for Today, Next week and so on poped up as desired in my To-Do list. This pleases me, but I don't want to be forced doing this again... ("Reset Current View" did not help)
there is a way to show appoinments from two calendars mixed in the to-do bar ?
The to do bar is great but I would really like to see a date group by option for the appointments like you have for the task and email. The actual date and time for any appointment is very subtle and I have to look carefully to find out if the next appointments are today, tomorrow or next month.
I accidentally did something that resulted in all day appts showing up as tabs above the inbox. WONDERFUL IDEA! I clicked on one of them, and they were gone. How do I recreate this?
Hope you might be able to help me. In my Outlook 2007 with BCM, I keep getting the message: "There was a problem reading one or mor of your reminders." Also: in the main window, under tasks, I receive a message that says: "Cannot display folder." What is all of this??
I would like to have print and view options to hide (or at least mask) tasks or flagged emails on my To Do list that are marked Private. Is this possible? I've looked at filters, but don't see a field that seems appropriate.
The To do bar is really great, but unfortuantely I cannot seem to take full advantage of its features. I use IMAP and as a result I do not appear to be able to change the name of an email task once it is flagged on the to do bar. I can do this with POP3 email but not IMAP. People do not often use email subjects that are of much use, so without this feature it makes flagging email as tasks almost unmanageable. Do you know if this feature will be available to IMAP users in the near future?