How to get the most out of Microsoft's redesigned (and renamed) To Do

  Microsoft To-Do is getting a new look on all platforms

How to get the most out of Microsoft To Do

Microsoft has renewed its application for creating to-do lists to become a comprehensive management system for chores. To make the most of it, you can

  1. Import existing lists
  2. Create and share lists
  3. Work with tasks
  4. Use smart lists

Applies to all versions of Windows 10

One of the new additions to the range of productivity tools from Microsoft. Recently it acquired a comprehensive update of the user interface after a series of new features, so we decided to take a look at what it can offer in 2019.

  Microsoft To-Do screenshot

To Do was born Microsoft's acquisition of Wunderlist Although Wunderlist is still operational today, engineering resources have been diverted to Pending Tasks. Microsoft has rebuilt the application on its Office 365 infrastructure, ensuring that it meets the compliance requirements for business use. This architecture also allows To Do to synchronize with emails and tasks in Outlook.

The redesign of To Do earlier this month brought the application to the Wunderlist design language. There is greater use of color and more careful attention to the fill between the interface elements. The new look, which comes with a subtle change in name (from To-Do to To Do), indicates Microsoft's growing confidence in the product.

First steps

Today & # 39; s To Do is available on almost all major platforms. Applications are offered on Windows 10, macOS, iOS, Android and the web. In addition, To Do is integrated into a growing selection of Microsoft products. These include Outlook, Cortana and Microsoft Planner, so the application is able to become a center for all your tasks.

For the purposes of this guide, we will use Pending Tasks on a Windows 10 PC. Most screens are very similar on all platforms, so you should not encounter any problems on your own device.

After downloading To Do, you must first log in. Both Microsoft personal accounts and Office 365 business accounts are supported. Using the application settings screen, you can add additional accounts later.

 Microsoft To-Do Screenshot

Once you are logged in, you will land on the "My Day" screen of To Do. It is worth taking a moment to evaluate the interface. On desktop devices, To Do uses a two-panel view. Your task lists are shown on the left, while the central section is updated to show the contents of the lists. When you select a task, an additional panel will appear on the right to edit its properties. The mobile design is very similar, with the navigation hidden behind a hamburger menu.

To access the application settings page, click on your profile picture in the upper left corner. Select "Settings" from the drop-down menu or "Manage accounts" to add and delete Office 365 accounts.

Import existing tasks

The Configuration screen allows you to import your existing Wunderlist tasks. This means that you can continue where you left off in the previous application. To Do will automatically create lists to replace your Wunderlist, filling them with your tasks in Wunderlist.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

The configuration also allows you to change some fundamental options within the application. There is compatibility with light or dark themes and the ability to disable deletion confirmations and completion sounds.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

Below, you will find a set of toggle buttons for "Smart Lists." We will review the smart lists later, but for now we only know that it is possible to prevent unused smart lists from appearing in the application. The final toggle button allows you to control whether marked Outlook emails should appear in Pending Tasks; Disabling this will remove the "Email marked" section of the navigation bar.

Creating lists

To create a list, click on "New List" at the bottom of the navigation menu. Enter a name for your list and press Enter. Optionally, you can add a custom emoji to use as a navigation icon in the list. Click on the name of the list in the center panel and then on the smiley button to select an emoji.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

Do you have several related lists? Try to create a group. Click on the button to the right of the "New List" button to create and name your group. Then you can drag individual lists to the group, turning them into children within it. This can help sort your navigation menu by hiding frequently used lists.

List options

You can access the list options menu by clicking on the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the application. You can adjust the application theme individually for each list, change the sort order of the task or change the name of the list.

 Microsoft To-Do Screenshot

This menu also gives you a way to show (or hide) completed tasks within your list. Finally, there are menu items to anchor a shortcut to your Start menu or delete the list. This will eliminate all tasks within the list, as well as the list itself.

Share lists

You can share lists with other users to facilitate collaboration. Start by clicking on the person's icon next to the list options button.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

Click on "Create invitation link" to get your link to share. Give the link to people who need access to the list. They will be able to see, add and edit tasks within the list. To manage sharing options in the future, click on the share button again. You will see collaborators added to the list and an option to revoke shared access.

Work with tasks

Tasks are the most important objects within Pending Tasks. Creating a task is simple: select a list and then click "Add task" at the bottom of the screen. Type the name of a task and press Enter.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

In its most basic form, that's all. You can continue adding tasks by typing descriptions and pressing enter. However, tasks have many more options available, so try clicking one to bring up its details panel.

Here, you can set a reminder, an expiration date and a repeat schedule for the task. There is a text field for additional notes (useful for website addresses) and a file picker for adding attachments.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

At the top of the panel, the "Add step" link allows you to create a set of subtasks. This is useful for creating simple checklists within a broader process. For example, you can add "Carpets", "Floors" and "Surfaces" to the "Clean the house" task.

Finally, the small star icon allows you to mark a task as important. This will make it appear in the "Important" list visible in the Tasks navigation menu. Similarly, "Add to my day" will show the task in the "My day" list. More information on this in the next section …

Using smart lists

Smart lists are the way to make lists of tasks that automatically add tasks from other lists. You cannot create smart lists, but you can choose which ones are shown, as we saw on the Configuration page.

We have already seen two smart lists: Important and My day. My Day guarantees more explanations, since it is a way in which To Do differs from the competition.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

Instead of completely relying on expiration dates, To Do gives you the ability to select tasks to work each day. The idea is to review your pending tasks in the morning, add some to "My day" and then work from that list. This helps you avoid getting distracted by inaccessible tasks on your lists.

To Do is smart enough to suggest tasks to add to My Day. Suggestions may appear when visiting My day in the morning. In general, To Do will suggest tasks with a close due date. It will also include any homework you added to My Day yesterday but did not complete. This helps you quickly return to where you were while managing your workload for the day.

 Microsoft To-Do screenshot

There are currently three other smart lists within the pending tasks: planned, marked and assigned email to me. Planned surfaces each task with an expiration date. Email marked shows any email you have marked for action with Outlook. Each email becomes a regular task.

Assigned to me, which is specific to Office 365 accounts, contains Microsoft Planner tasks that you are currently working on. This means that you can use a team planner while maintaining your personal tasks list. It is not necessary to switch between applications when using Outlook and Planner in parallel.

Microsoft To Do

This is the end of our quick tour of To Do. As you might have expected, To Do has become an increasingly complete task management solution. It is full of functions and is able to integrate with much of the Microsoft ecosystem.

To make the most of it, you should use features such as Smart Lists. It is these touches that raise the pending tasks above the crowd. However, it is equally useful as a simple task application for personal use: adding new items takes a few seconds.

Screenshot 2018 11 12 at 19.00.35

The greatest productivity gains of To Do are likely to occur when combined with other Microsoft products. Microsoft is using the application to combine its disparate services. To Do is becoming a productivity center that adds data from Outlook, Cortana and Planner. The ability to use the application on all platforms ensures that you can always access all your tasks, wherever you are.

With support for collaborative work, robust options in individual tasks and daily planner functionality, To Do has become a complete program. task management platform. He has been able to do it while still being extremely simple to start, so, whatever your requirements, To Do can probably meet them.

Additional readings: Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft To Do, Outlook, Outlook Tasks

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