Many people manage their To Do lists on paper or in a spreadsheet but there is a much more effective way.  Managing the action items on your to-do list in Outlook, for yourself and others, has never been easier when you use the Tasks feature in Outlook 2016.  The Tasks feature keeps track of what you need to do with your tasks list and will also remind you of any up and coming deadlines.  It can also record what percentage of a task you’ve completed and can even send emails that assigns tasks to other people.   From your Outlook to do list and Outlook task list, you can also view your tasks in several different views.

How to Use Outlook Tasks

Open the Task Pane in Outlook 2016

  1. To open the tasks pane, click the Tasks icon on the bottom navigation pane.  The Task Pane will open. 
  2. Under the My Tasks heading on the left hand side of the pane, you will see two sub-headings, the To-Do and Tasks.

The Tasks Pane in Outlook 2016

  • The To-Do List in Outlook not only contains your tasks but items that you have flagged for follow-up in your inbox.
  • Tasks are items that you created in the Tasks section of Outlook

Creating New Tasks

There a couple of different ways to create tasks, and you can add as much or as little detail about the task as you want.

  1. The easiest way to create a new task is to click inside the box labeled Click here to add a new Task“.  Simply type your task and hit the Enter key and the task will be created and you can continue to add new tasks.  Add at least six different tasks.

Adding tasks in Outlook 2016

  1. To mark a Task complete, simply place a check mark in the box next to it.  Outlook will cross it off and the task will be considered done.

Task complete in Outlook 2016

Update the Status of a Task

  1. Double click a task to edit it. This is going to bring up a much larger screen where you can add more information about the task.
  2. Add a note to that task and any other information you want.
  3. Click “Save and Close”.

Update a task in Outlook 2016

Another way to use Outlook Tasks effectively is to create a new task is by clicking “New Task” from the Home tab on the Ribbon.  From here you can assign a status, due date, priority and reminder to the task.

  1. From the Tasks Pane, click the Home Tab > New Group > New Task.  The New Task dialog box will appear. You can add as much or as little information as you want about your tasks.
  2. Add the following data to the new task:
    • In the Subject area,  enter a subject for the task
    • In the Start Date area, choose a start date for the task by clicking the calendar icon.
    • In the Due Date area, choose a due date for when the task should be completed
    • In the Status area, select In Progress or the status you want. Other options are Completed“, Waiting on someone else“, or “Deferred“.
    • In the Priority area, set the priority of the task.
    • In the Complete area, mark the percentage the task is already complete.  Note:  If you mark a percentage complete for the task, Outlook automatically changes to the Status to “In Progress”.
    • In the Reminder area,  set a reminder date for this task.
  3. Click Save and Close

Add a task in Outlook 2016

Assign a Task to Another Person

  1. Open up the Task you want to assign to another person and click  “Assign Task“.  A dialog box will appear
    Assign a Task in Outlook 2016
  2. In the “To” box, type in the email address of who you’d like to assign the task to. You can include an additional note if required.
  3. Make sure the check box that says Send me a status report when this task is complete” is checked.
  4. Click “Send“, and Outlook will present you with a pop up window that will tell you that since you’re no longer going to be the owner of the task, it’s going to turn off the task reminder.
  5. Click “Ok” and the task will be sent.

Assign a task in Outlook 2016

When you assign a task to somebody else,  a people icon will appear next to the task as follows:

Assigned Task in Outlook 2016

Viewing your Tasks

  1. You can view your tasks in several different ways by clicking on the View tab > Current View group and clicking on the Change View down arrow.  

Detailed view of tasks in Outlook 2016

Another way to see your tasks, including flagged to-do items is the Tasks peek.

  1. Hover your mouse over the Tasks icon on the Navigation Bar.  The Tasks peek pops up.
  2. You can keep the Tasks peek in view by clicking the “Dock the peek” icon.

Peeks View of a task in Outlook 2016

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