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Using the Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar

This article was written by MysticGeek, a tech blogger at the How-To Geek Blogs.

My favorite feature of Outlook 2007 is the new To-Do Bar, which shows you everything on your plate at a glance. There are a lot of features packed into a tiny space, so we’ll go through some of them with you.

To-Do Bar Display Options

To turn on the To-Do bar, just click on View \ To-Do Bar, and then choose from Normal or Minimized to open the bar.

 

In Minimized mode, the To-Do Bar docks to the right side of the Inbox, but you can click on the little arrows at the top to expand it.

 

You can also right-click on the To-Do bar to choose which options you want to show. I wanted to show the calendar and task list, but didn’t want to see the appointments.

image

Create Appointments by Dragging to the Calendar

If you want to create an appointment, all you need to do is drag an email or task item to the calendar, and it will open up a new appointment window already keyed to that day.

image

I find this feature alone incredibly useful.

Adding New Tasks Quickly

To add a new task for today, just type into the task bar and hit the enter key.

 

The task will then appear under the Today column. 

Marking Tasks Complete

To mark a task complete, simply left-click the red flag. You could also right-click to quickly change the due date or add a reminder.

image

Organizing with Categories

Categories are assigned by color so you can visually see the importance of each task at a glance.

 

To customize the category list, you can right-click the categories and then choose All Categories from the menu.

This will take you to a screen where you can customize the colors and category names, and even better you can assign a shortcut key.

 

Hovering your mouse over a to-do list entry will show you all the most important information for a task. You can see that the category is “Important” as well as the due date, which is easier than having to open each task.

 

There’s a lot more that you can do with this feature, like make the to-do bar only show today’s tasks.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 10/16/07

Comments (63)

  1. G. Vasquez

    Thanks for the How-To, MysticGeek! I use Outlook 2007 and I feel that one of its most useful features is this To-Do bar. I’ve used Outlook 2003 and would always lose track of my tasks, but now they’re right in front of me!

    I personally didn’t know that the To-Do bar could have a minimized option, so thanks for that information as well!

  2. Peter Morris

    Great intro to the todo bar. I like the way Outlook 2007 integrates with Notebook 2007.

  3. Craig Harlan

    Many thanks for the To-Do Bar info. One question: can we change the order in which the 3 items (calendar, appointments, tasks) appear? I’d like to see Tasks at the top. Thanks.

  4. Mike Valigura

    I have Outlook 2007 running on Vista. Whenever I enter a task, it shows up twice on the To Do List. What is causing this problem and how can I stop it?

    Mike

  5. Norma

    My appointments do not show up on the to-do list any longer. I know there is an issue with all day appointments, but this is any appointments. Help please.

  6. J Brian Washman

    After much hesitation and trepidation my curiosity finally got the better of me and I upgraded to Office 2007. I’m going to go out of my mind with the nightmare of merged categories in Outlook 2007. Previously (In Outlook 2003 and prior) I used color coded “Labels” in my calendar, Colored “Flags” for my emails (I had my toolbar customized to give quick access to the six colored flags), and categories in my contacts list. I spent years working out the perfect system for myself and Outlook 2007 has merged these three completely different things into one big mess called “Categories”. My system for keeping track of everything is now rendered completley useless and I just can’t see any good way to use the new categories system that Outlook 2007 forced upon me. Colors in Categories will do me no good. Especially since Outlook 2007 made EVERYTHING a category. I have many many categories in my contacts to seperate them out by various types. There are not nearly enough colors to attach to all of them. After all that complaining I guess my question is this… is there any way to get Outlook 2007 to NOT merge calendar “Labels”, email “Flags” with the existing categories?
    Thanks, J Brian

  7. Kim Emerson

    I totally agree with Mr Washman … I just want to see my 2003 categories. They are not even visible in 2007. I used categories extensively to group my contacts. How do I just go back to simple named categories? Why are they gone?

  8. Flag User

    Damn!

    I’ve been searching everywhere for an answer on how to get the flags in 2007 to be more like 2003. Now finally I find these comments abvove, but nobody answered HOW!!?? I really hate the new flag system in 2007 and I’m dying to change it if i can…..

  9. mysticgeek

    You can actually turn the flags feature off by going to View \ Current View \ Customize Current View –
    Now click on Fields … highlight Flag Status and hit the Remove button.

  10. John Grasso

    Help with to-do’s. All of a sudden, my Outlook 2007 to-do’s are all appearing in duplicate. Can anyone help me. jrg355@gmail.com

  11. Ron E

    I am having the same problem as John G. Anyone know what causes these duplicates in the todo bar. when I try to delete one of the duplicates they both are deleted. Help

  12. Steve

    I’m having the same problem as John and Ron. Duplicate “to-do”entries in Outlook 2007. They are duplicated the moment that you enter them and if you delete one entry, they both are deleted. I’ve scoured the web for insight to no avail and spent an hour this morning with Dell Tech support(The tech even had access to my system and after many attempts, he wasn’t able to figure it out)

    I’d appreciate it if anyone out there could provide some info.

  13. Steve

    John G had the solution on this,

    Here is what he found:

    By default, Outlook 2007 looks to both your outlook.pst file and the outlook backup file at the same time. So, as soon as you do a backup of your Outlook file, the to-do’s from both files begin to appear. If this is in fact the source of your problem, the fix is easy. Simply go to Tools then Account Settings then Data Files and remove the backup file that appears in the list. The Personal Folders should be your default with the only other file appearing in the list being your archive file.

  14. Richard

    Those duplicate tasks are probably coming from a GMail account or another IMAP account. Outlook is scanning the multiple folders beneath the IMAP account directory and listing the individual tasks that are flagged. If you flag an item in the Inbox, it no doubt also flags it in the GMail All Mail folder and in the Starred Folder as well. What a pain in the butt.

  15. gic

    Hi,

    Thank you for the very helpful article. I have a question though.

    When I followed “Adding New Tasks Quickly” section and typed into the task bar and hit the enter key, the new task was not created under the today section, but under the no dates uncategorized section.

    I wonder why is this happening? Is there an option to change the default section to create the new task?

    Thank you!!

  16. Mark

    I have loaded an Exchange email account to Outlook and now my personal appointments do not show in the to do bar for upcoming appoinments. ANy one have any suggestions?

  17. Scott

    Hello,

    In outlook 2003 I really liked having my task list in my calendar. In 2007 I can’t figure out how to get only my tasks to show up on the to-do-bar and not my calendar appointments as well. Does anyone know how to do that. I don’t like having them merged.

    Thanks,

    Scott

  18. Teresa

    I have two calendars in Outlook 2007. One is for appointments for the family and the other I use to schedule things around our life, like laundry, housecleaning, etc. This way when I print the first one, I don’t get laundry listed on my calendar.

    How can I get the appointments on the “HOUSEKEEPING” calendar to show on the To Do Bar? The ones from the main calendar do show on the To Do Bar, but I would like for the two to be intermingled.

    As a busy mom with three kids, I could not live without Outlook. Having one calendar for meetings, work schedules, band schedules, etc. and another where I can make sure chores gets done has made my busy life less complicated. My friends laugh at me that my calendar tells me when the kids need to take baths, or when to wash clothes, but with the computer keeping up with those details, I can keep up with the keys. :)

  19. Janet S

    Thanks Steve & John G! Removing the back up pst from Tools – Account Settings did the trick. Gotta love the web!

  20. Stéphane Bergeron

    Hi,

    I have the same issue with duplicate tasks as others here and removing my Archive PST does solve the duplicate issue but is there a way to keep using the archive feature and not have duplicates? I thought that when messages were removed from the main PST for archiving that they were moved, not duplicated. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  21. knruff

    We have more than one calendar in Outlook 2007. How can I add more calendar to the Outlook To-Do Bar?

  22. chuck

    I’m usinf outlook 2007. I tryed to look bak at an appointment and everything 3 months past is gone. I am not achiving my data so I’m not sure if i can seen past appoinments. Can anyone help?

  23. J.M. Schneider

    Similar to Teresa’s issue, I have loaded a personal PST in addition to my corporate Exchange connection. I want to be able to add tasks and calendar dates to the calendar/tasks in my personal store (separate from my work related material on the Exchange server) and have my Outlook client see Tasks/Dates/Appts in both stores. Is this possible?

    – J. M. Schneider
    Chicago, IL

  24. Sanchia

    Please could someone let me know if you are able to view All Day Appointments in the To Do bar! Would be SUCH a help!!!

    Thanks

  25. Teresa

    I haven’t been able to have All Day appointments show up on the list either. What I do is make them run from 12:30 AM to 11:59 PM. If they run several days, I put them in as several different appointments.
    I agree though it would be nice if they showed up automatically on the list.

  26. richard

    great info, Thanks
    How can I share the TO do List for other 2007 users to view???

  27. Chuck

    In Outlook 2007 as compared to Outlook 2003, I cannot figure out how to filter the To Do task list so it shows the tasks active for that particular date. For example in Outlook 2003, if the date navigator is on today, today’s tasks show up. If I put the date navigator on tomorrow, only tasks created for tomorrow (or start date of tomorrow) shows up.

    Right now, the way my filters are set up I show today’s tasks (the current date today) and uncompleted tasks show up. If I put the date navigator on tomorrow’s date (or any other date), the same tasks show up (the same as for today – the current date)

  28. Chuck

    Is there an Instant Search or any search option for tasks in Outlook 2007?

  29. Mariska

    I just installed Outlook 2007 and believe it or not my To-Do bar is not active….the option is grayed-out and Alt+F2 is not working either. Any suggestions on how I can get this resolved?

  30. Paul

    How do I have the To-Do Bar only show my apointments for today?

  31. Kellam

    I can’t make the number of appointments show up that I indicated when right clicking the to-do bar. I only get 6 appointments to show up instead of the 10 I requested. Any thoughts anyone?

  32. Qumad

    How can i customize the task-list in the To-Do Bar to show flagged e-mails from archives aswell? Now when I flag a e-mail in an archive or move a flaged e-mail to an archive it does not show in the task-list.

  33. Brendan

    Microsoft have stuffed up again between versions.

    When handling multiple users shared calendars with an exchange server, in outlook 2003 when you opened another users calendar it used to show THEIR task list to the right.

    From there you can then arrange other people’s calendars to by dragging from their task list onto their calendar.

    In outlook 2007 when you click on another users calendar, you only see your to-do list, not theirs and there’s no way of showing their task list and calendar together to arrange appointments for them from their task list.

    This was a major workgroup advantage, and Microsoft have butchered this in 2007.

  34. Margie

    Having same problem as others – no able to see appointments on To-Do Bar. Found no answer, can you help?

  35. Cal

    I flag e-mails that require follow-up and wondered if is it possible to sort the to do bar by e-mail sender(from)?

  36. jab

    As far as DailyTaskList being “grayed out” under the view> menu; switch calendar to week or day view first. Then try View> Daily Task List>, should be active then. I believe it’s just grayed out on MONTH view only, because that apparently would be a difficult option to display. Hope that helps.

  37. Tim

    in Outlook 2007, in the To-Do Bar, how do you get it to just show your tasks? Mine shows not only tasks, but also any emails that have flags marked on them for followup. I only want to see my tasks.

  38. nn

    I want it do dock at the bottom as I have my screen ‘portrait’ orientation. How can I do this?

  39. CM

    In Outlook 2003 I could print the calendar in trifold style it would print 3 views the current day, task listing and the week’s calendar.

    Since upgrading to 2007 I have not been able to figure out how to add the task listing. It continues to only give the option to print the notes instead of the task list.

    Has anyone conquered this issue?

  40. MSHater

    I’m with the rest of these people. I think this sucks. I came here to find out how to make this mess work like 2007, but it can’t. Screw this. I’m reloading 2003.

  41. Jill

    Removing the BackUp file was the answer….thanks for the help!!

  42. Aaron

    For those that have left a post asking why their appointments arent appearing in the To-Do Bar any longer here is a solutions that worked for me. With outlook open go to the Start Icon in the bottom left corner select the Run Icon and type Outlook /resettodobar

    This should solve your problem instantly.

  43. Carl

    Hi guys,
    For those of you asking about getting personal folder Follow-Up items to show up on the To Do bar (like JM Scheider), I eventually found it.
    Right-click on your PST file in Outlook 2007 Mail Folders section on the left, then go down to “Properties for [PST name]” and in the Properties window that pops up tick ‘Display Reminders and Tasks from this folder in the To Do bar’, you’ll need to close and re-open Outlook after that change.
    Cheers,
    Carl

  44. Lara

    Please Please help! My To DO Bar has defaulted to completed tasks instead of to do list and i can filter it to show up active tasks but it doesnt function like normal. How can i set it back to the default so that it shows active to do items?

    Thanks

  45. Devon

    This is somewhat petty, but I would like to arrange the tasks in my To-Do bar so that the “No Date” tasks are at the bottom, and the tasks for today at the top. The two options that preserve the due date categories appear to be to have No Date at the top or to have the tasks with the due date furthest in the future at the top. Is there a way to customize?

  46. Allen

    I just found this on another site applied and it worked:

    Tasks show up multiple times
    When I add a task to my Tasks folder, it is added twise. When I delete one, it delete the other as well?
    How can I get rid of these duplicates?

    If this happens within your To-Do List, it usually is a corruption of the To-Do List.
    If this happens within your Tasks folder, it usually is a view setting.

    Duplicates in the To-Do List
    With Outlook 2007 a new method of showing Tasks and flagged items got introduced; the To-Do List.
    The To-Do List can be shown in the To-Do Bar, in your Tasks folder and under your Calendar.

    When you see duplicates in one of those sections, you’ll probably see them in others as well. If this happens, you’ll have to reset the To-Do Bar. To do this start Outlook with the /resettodobar switch;

    Windows XP
    Start-> Run; outlook.exe /resettodobar
    Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Start-> type; outlook.exe /resettodobar
    Duplicates created in Tasks list
    When duplicate entries are created in the Tasks folder, it is most likely caused by a view setting. For instance, when you have a single task assigned to two categories, e.g. Blue and Red, and you sort your tasks grouped by category, that single item will show up in both the Blue category group and the Red category group.

    If you would sort your tasks on the Subject field, they should show up only once.

    Note: If you were really to have duplicates (deleting one does not delete the other), than you can automate cleaning up the duplicate entries via a “duplicate remover” add-in.

  47. paul

    Carl’s fix on getting To-Dos from the personal folders to show up in the todo bar worked perfectly. Thank you very much!

  48. Vladimir

    Carl, Carl, you are the savior Man…

    Many, Many thanks for “make to do bar work for personal folders”.. in case other lost souls google such a string

  49. Machelle

    I am on an Exchange Server and manage multiple calendars for other people, including my own. Currently my to-do bar shows my appointments (not the calendar), which I like. However, I would like to have it show the appointments of other people as well, so that I do not have to frequently switch screens to check their calendars to find out where they are supposed to be at that very minute. Can this be done?

  50. Claire

    I use Outlook 2007. In my inbox I can flag a message that requires follow up. I used to be able to then change that flag to a tick to mark it as done. Someone has been fiddling with the settings and now I can only mark it with a flag – the tick has disappeared. Can you tell me where it went and more importantly, how I can get it back?

  51. MarkL

    Outlook 2007 double task entries solved. I was tearing my hair out ( what is left of it ) until I came across the answer from one of the posts above labelled STEVE Feb 16 2008 where John C provided the answer… If there is a process to thank him.. then please thank him on my behalf.

    After using Outlook 2007 for quite a while it dawned on me that perhaps i should back up my work. I dutifully downloaded the back utility from the microsoft site as described in Outlook help. Ran the program and then after restarting outlook not only was i getting double task entries but if I tried to select the tasks pane from the LHS of the screen the program would freeze requiring intervention via task manager to kill the program.
    The fix was so simple and im a happy camper… thank you thank you..:)

  52. Line

    Outlook 7 on Window 7 – I can’t see my To Do List (tasks). How do I fix this?
    thank you.

  53. Michael

    Carl,
    Thanx A LOT on making to-do-bar work for personal folders!!!

  54. Jodi

    Allen’s “resettodobar” did the trick for me. THANK YOU, I spent way too much time trying to figure out where those duplicates were coming from!

  55. Flo

    @TIM: regarding your question:

    in Outlook 2007, in the To-Do Bar, how do you get it to just show your tasks? Mine shows not only tasks, but also any emails that have flags marked on them for followup. I only want to see my tasks

    I head the same problem, but I found a solution/workaround, if you don’t use follow up flags also for your tasks:

    Click on the task’s header (normally titled “Arrange by…”, choose Custom->Filter->Advanced and then add the email field “Follow up flag” with the condition “is empty”. After that, only your tasks (usually without follow up flag) will show up, the emails with follow up flags will disappear.

  56. Clam

    Ok…PLEASE help. I just got outlook 2007. Initially I could see the to do bar on the right side of the screen, as soon as I set a message for FOLLOW UP. Now, it disappeared and I can’t turn it back on. I tried Alt F2, and turning it on in the View tab. But it is GREYED OUT in the view tab…I can’t turn it back on. Tried the reset command too…nothing worked. I liked that bar a lot…any ideas?

  57. Harry

    Is there any way I can move the To-Do Bar to the space underneath the Mail Folders? I hate having to take up space on both sides of the email window.

  58. Liohn

    Thanks @Carl for the procedure for gettin personal folders to show in the To-Do list.

  59. Elizabeth

    I need help with printing my calendar… I’m using MS Outlook 2007, and I want to print the weekly view. I can easily get the schedule to print, but I can NOT seem to get it to print the appointments of the entire day… nothing after 7:00 pm shows up when I print. Do you know how to fix this? It would help me so much!

  60. sonu

    very thankz……………………

  61. Mel

    My tasks no longer show up in my to-do-bar (and I do have Task List selected to be show in this bar). It says there are no items to show in this view. However, on the task bar below the calendar you can see there are tasks listed. I need them back in my to-do-bar…it’s how I function. Help please!

  62. Eric P

    Another thanks to @Carl. Some more SEO for that tip: Messages flagged for follow up are not displayed in to-do list.

  63. KPage

    Is there a way to keep your flagged items in the inbox from showing up on the To-Do List? I really don’t like them together.

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