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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
Is there a site where I can find all the valid Values to Arguments on the Advanced Tab of the Filter for the Todo Bar? For example Start Date Is on or Before XXXX I know that I can enter the word TODAY for XXXX and even excel like formulas now(). I am interested learning all potential entries for this field.
You guys say it is intentional that the todo bar does not show multi day events and that it is not a bug. Please explain the rationale! If you use pocket outlook, it shows events just like outlook but it also includes multiday/all day events. IT'S A LIFESAVER. So, to reiterate - what is the rationale of not showing multiday events? Why did you decide to be inconsistent across your outlook products (pocket outlook does it right!). Thank you. I would very much like to understand the reasoning.
Its a shame that such a fantastic feature is crippled by the bizarre decision not to include recurring appointments or all-day events. Might there be a fix eventually?
It would be extremely useful to be able to position the TO-DO bar at the bottom of the screen (i.e., under the currently active folder) instead of just as a sidebar.
Hey, just saying I would also like the To-Do Bar to show all day events, it would be wonderful!
I use multiple calendars in Outlook under the same account and am wondering how I can get all my appointments to show up. Currently my To-Do list is only showing appts. from "Calendar" and none of the ther calendars I have. I don't need it for shared calendars, just for the ones I have created. Thanks
I share task folders with another user on our Microsoft Exchange server, so we can see eachothers tasks. We also categorize with custom color categories to quickly deliniate ownership. My question is - can shared tasks appear in multiple users to-do bars without them having been assigned a task? I dont want to manually assign lots of tasks, we already use task folder sharing to delegate things properly. I want to be able to create a task, categorize for myself and/or member #2, and have it appear under both of our to-do bars Is this possible?
Hi, I used the taskpad extensively in Outlook 2003, but am finding the to-do bar in 2007 quite frustrating. I like the arrangement of Today, Tomorrow, Next Week, but can't seem to sort under these categories (every time I try to use custom > due date I lose the today, tomorrow, etc headings. I would ideally like Today (with heading), then sorted by Category (without heading). Is this possible? Thanks,
I regularly run overnight/ week-long residentials for a variety of organisations that are placed into Outlook as an 'all day event'. It is extremely frustrating that these are not listed in the To-Do Bar. I'm afraid this is a fundemental error!
I agree on the flaw of Outlook 2007 wherein we cannot see the all-day events listed in the To-Do Bar. What an impracticality and oversight that causes users to forget about appointments.
Is there a way to make the font of the appointments in the To-Do bar larger? I got the tasks bigger but the appointment font is tiny on the display of my new laptop.
Hi, I like the To Do Bar. However, is it possible to choose another calendar, other then the default calendar? Thanks.
I nave Outlook2007 running on 2 machines. On one there is a date navigator at the top of the navigation pane. On the other I cannot make this monthly calendar appear. Is there an easy way to put a date navigator at the top of the navigation pane?
Is it possible to DISABLE the email flags in the to-do bar? I use email flags and my to-do list separately and for different purposes, so the integration has my tidy self ashambles. Help! Thanks.
So are there any plans to improve the functionality of the To Do Bar (all day appointments etc) with an update or SP? Pete