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How to use tasks to create an Outlook To Do List using Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010

Updated on April 9, 2013

Introduction

Hi and welcome to my latest hub on Outlook. Today, I am going to look at using Outlook tasks to create a To Do list. I use tasks myself heavily to organise both my personal and work life. I find them to be an excellent way of keeping track of the many things I am expected to remember to do every day.

In today’s busy world where we often have any number of things competing for our time and attention, staying organised helps us deal with the stress of our modern lives as well as ensuring that we don’t miss things.

Outlook tasks and To Do lists are very useful tools in helping us to organise our daily lives. In today’s hub:

  • First we will create a To Do list in Outlook.
  • We will also look at some of the views Outlook has available to help us prioritise our tasks, ensure that tasks are done on time and finally track them all to make sure nothing is missed.
  • In addition we will also look at creating categories so that we can sort our tasks so that we can differentiate tasks based on whether they are personal or work related for example.

Example of an Outlook task in Outlook 2007.
Example of an Outlook task in Outlook 2007. | Source

Creating a Task for yourself in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

First of all, we need to start by creating a task. Creating a task is easy:

  • Click on New
  • Select Task
  • In Subject, enter a descriptive name for your task
  • If it has a Start Date or a Due Date, enter these
  • Select a Priority so that you can sort tasks based on priority (Low, Normal or High)
  • Next, select a reminder should you want to do so by clicking Reminder and specifying when you want Outlook to remind you. This is particularly useful when a task is time critical
  • In addition to the reminder, you can select a specific Follow Up flag to jog your memory. You can select from a range of dates, from Today, to Tomorrow, to Next Week or you can even create a Custom follow up
  • Click Save & Close to save your new task

Creating a Task for someone else in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

To creating a task for someone else:

  • Click on New
  • Select Task Request
  • In the To field, select the person who is going to work on the task for you
  • Outlook will Keep an Updated copy of this task in my task list and Send me a status report when this task is complete by default
  • Fill out the task as you see fit
  • Click Send and the task will be sent to the recipient you chose

How to send a task to another person to complete in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
How to send a task to another person to complete in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source

You can also assign a task to someone by clicking on the Assign Task button in an existing or new task

Accessing Tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

There are a number of ways to access your outstanding and completed tasks in Outlook. The first is by clicking on Tasks in the folder list:

Tasks are accessible via the Folder list in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
Tasks are accessible via the Folder list in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source

The next way is to use the To-Do bar. To add this to your view in Outlook, click on View and select either Normal or Minimised and it will be added to your current Outlook view.

Using the To-Do Bar to access tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
Using the To-Do Bar to access tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source

The final way is to use Outlook Today. Outlook today can be found by clicking on your Mailbox in the folder view.

Outlook Today can also be used to track tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
Outlook Today can also be used to track tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source

I have a hub that looks at the To-Do bar and Outlook Today in further detail. Both can greatly assist you in keeping all of your meetings, tasks and emails organised and allow you to see all of your upcoming meetings and tasks in one place alongside your emails in your Inbox. That hub can be found here:

http://robbiecwilson.hubpages.com/hub/Using-Outlook-Today-and-the-To-Do-bar-in-Outlook-2007

Creating a calendar reminder for your tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

As well as creating a Follow-up flag to remind you to complete your tasks, it is also possible to create calendar entries to remind you that your tasks are due. To do this:

  • Right click on your tasks in the Folder View and select Open in New Window
  • This will open Outlook again, this time with your Tasks folder opened
  • Navigate to your Calendar in the Folder View list in the original Outlook window
  • Simply select the task you want to add to your calendar and drag it to it to create an appointment.
  • You can make any amendments you want to the meeting you have now created in the calendar itself.

Using Categories to group tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

Often, you will have tasks that are for a specific project, or you may have personal and work related tasks all together in Outlook. Categories allow you to assign a colour to tasks so that they can be sorted and so that you can visually see what category a task belongs to. I have a hub that covers categories in far more detail which can be found here:

http://robbiecwilson.hubpages.com/hub/Configuring-and-using-Categories-in-Outlook-2007

To begin with categories, we first need to create them:

  • Select a task you want to categorize
  • Click on the Categorize button in the task bar

The Category button in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
The Category button in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source
  • Select All Categories
  • New allows us to create our new categories
  • Enter in a Name and select a Color

Create as many categories as you need (as you can see below, I have created two)

Example of categories created to organise my Personal and Work related tasks in Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010.
Example of categories created to organise my Personal and Work related tasks in Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010. | Source
  • Select which category you want this task to belong to

Now, you can right click on any task (or email) and select a category or clear its current category

Using the built in views to sort tasks in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

This brings us neatly to the many views available in Outlook. If you click on the Tasks folder in Outlook, on the left hand side, you will have a number of views you can select from.

The first view we will look at is the By Category view. By clicking on the By Category radio or option button, Outlook sorts your tasks by category.

Sorting tasks by category using the By Category view in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
Sorting tasks by category using the By Category view in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. | Source

Other views that are very useful are the To-Do List and the Task Timeline.

  • The To-Do List provides you with a list of all your active tasks that are outstanding and / or overdue organised by date including the category that a task belongs to.
  • The Task Timeline view shows you the due date of your tasks in a time line.

Using the Task Timeline view in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 to see when tasks are due.
Using the Task Timeline view in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 to see when tasks are due. | Source

Conclusion

Outlook tasks and To Do lists can significantly help us keeping all of the things we have to do both personally and at work organised and under control and most importantly, completed on time.

  • You can assign tasks to yourself or to other people and track them in your tasks folder.
  • Tasks can be categorised into groups and add reminders and follow ups to ensure that you complete your tasks on time.
  • Finally, Outlook provides a number of views that can be used so that tasks can be seen as a To Do list, or grouped by category or state (active, complete or overdue). There is also a time line view that shows tasks that will be due shortly or further into the future.

Many thanks for reading. I hope that if you don’t already use tasks that you will now start to use them to organise your daily life. Please feel free to leave any comments you may have below.

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      Robbie C Wilson 4 years ago

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks for your question. If you just create a new task in Outlook, it shouldn't need to have a recipient. If it is insisting, you could send it to yourself. Hope this helps!

      Rob.

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      Cathy 4 years ago

      Can you create a task for yourself in Outlook 2003. From what I am getting, its asking me to send it to someone each time...