Most of us use Microsoft Outlook for sending emails and calendar meetings/appointments. However, you can also use Outlook for creating tasks and follow up the progress till completion. It is also possible to assign or delegate the tasks to your colleagues and team members. In this article, we will explain how to manage tasks in Microsoft Outlook.
How to Manage Tasks in Microsoft Outlook?
We will cover the following sections in this article:
- Creating new task
- Converting email to a task
- Editing task
- Delegating or assigning task
How to Create Tasks in Microsoft Outlook?
Follow the instructions to create a new task.
Outlook will show the mail, calendar and tasks icons on the bottom of the right sidebar. This may vary depending on your settings. If you are not seeing the “Tasks” option, click on the three dots button on the bottom of the sidebar navigation and select “Tasks” option.
Alternatively, you can use the search box in Outlook 2016 onwards to find Tasks view for you. Once you are in Tasks view, Outlook will have different menu items in the ribbon.
By default, you can view all your existing tasks and to-do list in tasks view. The to-do list displays all tasks as well as all emails flagged for follow up. Click on the “New Task” button to create a new task.
Enter the subject for your new task that Outlook will display in the task list.
Defining Due Date, Status and Priority
In contrast to an appointment, editing a task is not tied to a fixed time and duration. You can, however define a due date for tasks. You can also create tasks without a firm due date.
- Click the “Calendar” icon in the “Start date” and “Due date” fields. Setup the dates for your task as per your need. You can also enter date descriptions such as Today, Tomorrow or Day after tomorrow in the start and due date fields. Outlook automatically converts these into the corresponding dates.
- Now click on the “Status” field. Here you can set how far work on the task has progressed.
- You can use the “Priority” field to define how important or urgent a task is. By default, the priority of a task is defined as “Normal” in Outlook.
- In the “% Complete” field, you can enter the percentage of task completion if required.
- If you like, you can have Outlook remind you to complete a task.
- In the text area, you can enter additional information on the task or insert elements, which are related to the task.
Setting Up Recurrence Task
If a series of recurring tasks is involved, such as a task to be completed on a weekly basis, enable the “Recurrence” button on the ribbon. You can then define the recurrence pattern.
Viewing Created Tasks
Now that you have filled out the task details, save and close the task. You can view the new task in the task list with the appropriate due date.
Converting Email to Task
Creating your own new tasks is very easy. However, you may need to convert an email received into a task from time to time. Here is how to convert a received mail into a task.
- Switch to email view in Outlook.
- You have several options for including an email in your task list. For one email, you have the option of flagging an email for follow up. Such emails are displayed in the to-do task list, but remain email messages. You can do this by right clicking on a message and select the due date from “Follow Up” menu.
- You can also convert an email entirely into a task. Use the “Move” button and select “Tasks” folder to do this.
- You now see the new task window with the task subject as same as email subject. Outlook also attach the original email into the text area which you can open with double-click if necessary.
You have all the options available as you do when creating a new task. After filling out the details, save the task and then switch back to the “Task” view to see the new task in the task list. Remember, Outlook will remove the email from the Inbox folder.
You can edit any of your tasks after creation. In order to edit, first select a task.
- Let’s say you want to change the due date for a task. To do this, right-click on the task and choose the due date from the “Follow Up” menu.
- After completing a task, click either on the “Completed” box in front of the task or on the flag in the right-hand column.
- You can also mark a task as complete by clicking on the corresponding button in the ribbon.
- Outlook will display all completed tasks with strike out. If you no longer need a task in the list, click on the “Remove from List” button to delete from the list.
In Outlook you are also able to delegate tasks to other persons. You can assign new or existing tasks to other people. If you want to assign a task to another person you just have to choose the person from your contacts or enter the email address of the recipient.
- When creating a new task, you can click on “Assign Task” button to delegate to another person.
- When you have an already created task on your to-do list, right click on the task and select “Assign Task”. Alternatively, double click to open the task in a Task view and you can find a button for assigning a task in the ribbon.
- Use the address field in this dialogue window to select the person who is to perform the task.
- Also by default, a copy of the task remains in your to-do list for information. Disable this field if the delegated task is no longer to appear in your to-do list.
- By default, you will receive a notification when the assigned task has been completed. You can also disable this notification.
- After checking the details, send the task to the designated person.
Accepting or Rejecting Delegated Tasks
- The icon in front of the task tells you that the task has been assigned to another person. The recipient now has the option of accepting or rejecting the task.
- Outlook will notify you about the accepted or rejected status. Also you will get information of the progress in completing the task as soon as the recipient of the task enters relevant information.
Viewing All Assigned Tasks
When you are in the Tasks view, click on the “Assigned” view option from the list item. Now, you can only view the tasks that you have assigned to other people.
You can view the status of the delegated tasks as a separate column in the “Detailed” and “Assigned” views. In the “Active”, “Next 7 Days” and “Overdue” views, there are separate columns for status and progress. You will also find all relevant information in the header of the task window when you open a task.