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We’ve previously blogged about the To-Do Bar in Outlook. Here are a few tips that show how this little slice of screen real estate is more than just a static list; in fact, you can easily customize it to reflect the priorities in your work day and week.
First off, don’t get rid of the To-Do Bar when you need more screen space on a smaller monitor! You can easily minimize it by clicking the at the top of the To-Do Bar. You can then conveniently expand and collapse it while working that way, instead of banishing it completely by turning it off. All of these options are available on the View menu:
Now, how about the general appearance of the To-Do Bar? You have the option to show the Date Navigator (which is the handy calendar at the top of the Bar), a selection of appointments and meetings from your Calendar, and the Task List at the bottom.
You can make changes to display any or all of these items in the To-Do Bar Options dialog box. You can right-click on the To-Do Bar header or go to the Views menu, then choose ‘To-Do Bar’ followed by ‘Options’.
Customizing the Task List
The real workhorse of the To-Do Bar is the task list. Here are a few tips for customizing the To-Do Bar’s task list that may make it more efficient for you.
You’ll make changes to your task list from the Customize View: To-Do Task List dialog box.
Open the View: To-Do Task List dialog box
Right-click the column heading of the To-Do list and then click Custom.
I like to show the Icons column in my task list to easily show the type of item the entry is. For example, it can show if an entry is a Task or a Mail item, or if you’re a person who flags RSS items during the day then you’ll be able to see them differentiated in the To-Do Bar.
Customizing the task list is all about seeing more information, and you can choose the different information included with each entry on the list. I like to keep the due date for an item visible, so I display Due Date on my task list. I also like to display icons to indicate the type of item listed.
Add the Icon column to the task list
If you don’t see the column or field, that you want to add, click the arrow to see more under Select available fields from for extra choices.
Change the number of lines for entries in the task list
You can also see more in the task list is by viewing the information on multiple lines.
Filter the To-Do Bar to just show tasks
For some of you, flags may have a whole different meaning, and the fact that the To-Do Bar is cluttered with your flagged mail and flagged contacts may not be working for you. Here is a solution: filter the To-Do Bar to just show tasks.
Reset the To-Do Bar to the default settings
If after playing around while customizing the To-Do Bar you decide to go back to the default view in the task list, here’s how you do it:
There are many ways you can customize the To-Do Bar and task list so that you have quick access to the information you need while you’re working. Give it a try!
Laurie Hughes Outlook UA writer
Thanks, very helpful.
Is there any way to select an appointment from the To Do Bar and mark it for not to be shown at the To Do Bar? Some appointments in my calendar are just place holders, and I don't want them in this list.
The To Do Bar is by far my favorite feature in Outlook 2007. That said, I'd like to take a moment to offer a suggestion for the Outlook To Do Bar (for Service Pack 2, perhaps?). It's already possible to create tasks quickly using the To Do bar, but why not calendar appointments? My thoughts: 1. Have the option to RIGHT CLICK on the calendar day and have a selection of New Appointment. 2. Have a Task List-esque entry field that automatically prompts for Date/Time when you press Enter (along with an "Advanced Options" that opens the full appointment window). 3. Be able to Double-Click a blank space on the "Upcoming Appointments" list to open the "New Appointment" window. Any/All of these solutions would be great improvements over a feature that is already fantastic! :)
Is there a way to make the To Do Bar show calendar events from a calendar other than the main calendar? Preferably, I'd like it to show events from two different calendars I use.
Andrew: The To Do Bar only shows appointments and meetings from your default calendar. There is no way to configure it to show items from a different calendar. I'll make sure your suggestion is recorded as part of our planning for a future release. --Ryan
I think everyone said it already, but please allow the To-Do bar to show all-day events as well. After you've removed the "Mailbox" home page with collumns for appointments & tasks, there's no good way of having an overview of the calendar apart from to-do bar.
Is there any way to make a different calendar the default so that the to-do bar references it without changing the default data file? I use an exchange server at work and on my personal laptop ever since I installed my exchange account I have lost access to my personal appointments on the to-do bar on my laptop.
To Nathan - you cannot split the default store into different folders. If Exchange is your default, you cannot split out the calendar from your Personal Folders to show in the To Do Bar. You would need to change your default mail store to accomplish that. It is an all or nothing proposition.
Back to the to-do bar calendar issue. I have two calendars, the "default" one tied to my .pst file (which I used to use), and the one on the remote Exchange 2007 server (which I now use). While I can seem to make the remote calendar be the default one; as it's now on top (and displayed by default when viewing the the calendar view), I still can't ge the to-do bar to show events from the other calendar which resides on the server and is also synced with my smartphone in real time. I guess Microsoft missed the "big picture" here.
The main thing I wish the To-Do bar would do is to navigate to emails in the email list when you select a to do item that is actually a flagged email. Double clicking just opens the email, but I want to go to the conversation thread with the flagged email.
how can i get/download the "to do Bar" . i have office 2003
Hi Steve, The ToDo Bar is an Outlook 2007-only feature and is not available in Outlook 2003. Thanks!
-Outlook Program Manager
I have items on my calendar that are not on the to do bar. Some of them are all day event, some are not. They are all in my default folder. What is the criteria for calender items to be on the to do bar?
I have a question about the To-Do Bar. It appears to be the next incarnation of the Task Pad. I use it often, but am frustrated by the loss of a particular bit of functionality. In Outlook 2003 (and 02 and 00) the task pad defaulted to Today's tasks. Which is great for monitoring my day. But these earlier versions had a better setting that no longer exists. In the VIEW menu, TASKPAD VIEW submenu, I could select ACTIVE TASKS FOR SELECTED DAYS. The taskpad would then show me only the work that was active for today (Like it does now), but would also allow me to select a day or range of days in the future to see what my workload was on those days. It that feature still available? If not that might be nice to add it back in in the next service pack. It was a killer option for people who manage their time and workloads.
Is there a way to get the calendar in Outlook 2007 to have the box format of 2003? The column look is too narrow to show all day events and the to-do-bar does not show the events either.
Is there anyway of creating a template for a group of to-do tasks as part of a bigger recurring job?