Create tasks and to-do items

Many people keep a list of things to do — on paper, in a spreadsheet, or with a combination of paper and electronic methods. In Microsoft Outlook you can combine various lists into one, get reminders and track task progress.

What do you want to do?


Create a task

  1. In Tasks, on the Home tab, in the New group, click New Task.

New Task command on the ribbon

Keyboard shortcut    To create a new task, press CTRL+SHIFT+K.

  1. In the Subject box, type a name for the task. You can add more detail in the task body.
  2. On the Task tab, in the Actions group, click Save & Close.

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Create a task from an Outlook item

You can create a task out of any Outlook item, such as e-mail message, contact, calendar item, or note.

Do one of the following:

  • Drag an e-mail message to the To-Do Bar

The To-Do Bar must be arranged by Start Date or Due date to use these procedures.

  1. Drag the item to the task list section of the To-Do Bar.
  2. When you see a red line with arrows at each end positioned where you want to put the task, release the mouse button.

To-Do Bar appointment section screenshot

  • Drag an item to Tasks

When you drag an item to Tasks in the Navigation Pane, you can use all the features of a task item. The contents of the item, except attachments, are copied to the body of the task. Even if the original item is later deleted, the task is still available, including the copied contents of the item

  • Drag the item to the Tasks tab on the Navigation Pane.

 Tip    To add the item as an attachment to the task instead of pasting the text into the task body, right-click the item and drag it to the task list, and then click Copy Here as Task with Attachment.

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Create a task in the To-Do Bar

The To-Do Bar appears in all Outlook views by default.

To create a task, do one of the following:

  • In the To-Do Bar, click the Type a new task box, and then enter the task description. Press ENTER to finish. The task appears in your To-Do list with today's date.
  • In the To-Do Bar, double-click the Type a new task box to open a task in a new window. You can enter more detail about the task.

 Tip    To turn on or off the To-Do Bar, on the View tab, in the Layout group, click To-Do Bar and click Normal, Minimized, or Off. This changes the To-Do Bar only in the current view, not in all views.

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Create a task in the Daily Task List in Calendar

The Daily Task List appears only in the Outlook Calendar day and week views.

Daily Task List in calendar week view

  1. Rest your pointer in the Daily Task List under the day that you want.
  2. Click Click to add task.
  3. Type a subject for the task, and then press ENTER.

By default, the start and due dates are set for the day under which you inserted the task. To change the start date or due date of the task, drag the task to the day that you want. To manually change the start or due date, right-click the task and then click Open.

 Note    To turn on or off the Daily Task List, in Calendar, on the View tab, in the Layout group, click Daily Task List, and then select Normal, Minimized, or Off.

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