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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
Folks, if you are tired of not being able to being able to see all day events in your to-do, please consider joining the facebook group: Fix the Outlook To-Do bar for all and multi-day events cornell.facebook.com/group.php And register your support for changing this feature! If enough of us join, we could get Microsoft to recognize this travesty rather than the so-called "feature" they are calling it!
Excellent Addition. Here's another request for being able to group the appointments by date. It's very difficult to see at a glance what appointments are for today versus tomorrow versus next week, etc. Rich
There should be a way to hide completed tasks in Outlook Today and the To-Do-Bar. It's annoying to see them cluttered there.
How do I fix the problem of "Cannot display folder" for Task list in To Do bar ? The tasks are not listed there and there are no reminder pop ups. Any idea how to fix this ? or what is the problem ?
Is it possible to have some events hidden from the To-Do Bar? For example, I'd like to add that I am away each day for lunch, so people don't book appointments with me during that day. I don't want the lunch showing up though because it restricts what other events are coming up.
Is there a way to schedule appointments so that the invitees time is corrected for their respective time zone? For instance, I am in the Eastern time zone, I invite a group to attend a conference call at 2pm, and invitees in the Pacific time zone get the invitation for 2pm, where it should be 11am. Is there some way to configure this?
When I first installed Outlook 2007 I was very pleased with the To-Do Bar, but that feeling has changed to frustration because of the 'all-day event mess' described above. It changed the To-Do bar to - not just unusable - but downright faulty. It now makes me miss appointments I would normally remember. I second the request of getting the rationale for this 'feature'. I'm sure it not just a lame "we couldn't get it to work" or "we didn't know how to display it". Please explain.
I am an trainer who teaches Outlook as a time management system. Based on my clients, they usually do not know how to use any of the features in Outlook. In my opinion, the new To Do Bar with the preview pane open just adds more clutter to their already cluttered world! Because we have done thousand of coaching sessions and we see the volume of emails arriving daily at corporate america, the To Do bar does little but to add another layer of something to look at. We teach how to use Outlook Today - which is a big picture of calendar, tasks, and messages. This can be easily customized. Then to clean out the Inbox and work from their tasks list. The task list can be viewed in maany ways - by category, by due date, etc. What I have seen is that people need a simple, easy to use system and this was very disappointing to see that another "feature" was added that most users will not understand how to use. Outlook is the best time management system on the market today...users just need to know how to use it.
Is there a way to get rid of the 'to do' bar? I do not find it useful at all.
How do I change the view used on the To-Do Bar? It seems to change from time to time and I would like to be able to change it to a specific View that I have set up for Tasks.
After doing a google search about why all day events were not showing up in my upcoming appointments in the todo bar, I arrived here. I can't believe someone designed it this way. Come on, this type of stuff is basic. Luckily, I didn't miss an appointment as I caught this in advance. But now a great feature is now worthless if you can't rely on it. Do people at Microsoft actually use this product before they release it? Unbelievable!
RE: TDB minimisation across multiple windows of Oultook. I have multiple windows open in Outlook so I can flick between Calendar, Email, Contacts and Public folder views quickly and not loose my place on the other views.
I find the "To Do Bar" very useful on the calendar view but not so useful in the other views. The problem is that if I minimize the TDB on the other views the calendar view seems to follow suite and minimize the TDB after a timeout period (after a refresh interval maybe?). How do I keep the TDB visible in calendar and minimized in the other views?
Why do we not have the option to pick the calendars that show up in the To-Do Bar? Why can we not select "Show All-Day Events"? I'm perfectly fine with not showing them by default, but it should take all of 15 minutes to add those options in, right? If you disagree, please let us know WHY. If you agree, just say it is planned for a future release. Not answering questions and ignoring certain comments in this post is strange. We're adults- we can handle it.
How do you get the items in the to do bar to be color coded? My appointments have colors, but they don't show with those colors on the to do bar.