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If you’ve been using Microsoft Planner, then you will know there’s more to the application than meets the eye. Here are some features, tips, and tricks to help turn you from a Microsoft Planner novice to a Planner master.

Add Emojis to Your Task Titles

Words are great, but sometimes emojis are better. You can add emojis anywhere in a task, but for “at a glance” help, the best place is in the task title.

The title of a task.

Press the Windows key+. (period)  to open the emoji picker (Command+Control+Space on a Mac) and then choose your emoji.

The title of a task with an emoji.

Having the emoji can be really useful for recurring tasks or tasks of a certain type. You can see visually what kind of task it is without having to read the text.

Emojis can also be added to the bucket titles, which is useful for plans that have buckets for specific jobs, such as graphic design, comms, testing, etc. Or, you can add emojis to make it clear what each bucket represents.

Three buckets with emoji in their titles.

No matter what you need them for, add emojis to your titles for better understanding and a more visual approach.

Add Attachments, Checklists, and Notes to the Tiles

Adding emojis helps show what a task is, but it doesn’t help show how the task is progressing or what needs to be done.

A plain task with nothing on the tile.

Any attachment, checklist, or notes text that you’ve added to the task can be shown on the tile to make it easier to see what’s going on.

Open the Planner task and choose “Show On Card” next to the element you want to show on the tile.

The task details with the "Show on card" options highlighted.

You can only choose one of the three, but you can change your choice at any time. Whatever you’ve enabled will be visible on the tile.

A task with a checklist visible on the tile.

Copy a Single Task or a Whole Plan

Do you have a single task that you need to recreate? Don’t bother rewriting the same task multiple times, just copy it.

Open the task you want to copy, click the three-dot menu icon in the top right and then select the “Copy Task” button.

The "Copy task" menu option.

Choose the elements of the task you want to copy and then click “Copy.”

The "Copy Task" panel.

You now have a copy that you can use to create new tasks. This is great for similar tasks you need to assign to different people, whether it’s a task with the same instructions, such as organizing a one-on-one meeting with your boss, or a task that a different person does each day.

If you use a whole bunch of similar tasks repeatedly—like a set of tasks you do for every project or a set number of weekly tasks—you can copy an entire plan.

Click the three-dots menu icon at the top of the plan and then select the “Copy Plan” button.

The "Copy plan" menu option.

The new plan will use the same name as the source plan but prefixed with “Copy Of.” Change it to the name you want, choose whether it will be publicly available to anyone in your organization, and click “Copy Plan.”

The "Copy Plan" panel.

After a few seconds, your new plan will be visible in the “Recent Plans” section of the sidebar.

The copied plan displayed in the sidebar.

Everything will be copied, except:

  • Plan description
  • Plan Members
  • Plan Favorite status
  • Task Attachments
  • Task Assignments
  • Task Progress
  • Task Dates
  • Task Comments and activity

This works really well for template plans where you need a fresh version on a regular basis.

Drag Between Buckets to Edit Tasks

By default, your tasks are grouped in the buckets you use: To-Do, In Progress, Done, or whatever other buckets you’ve created. Planner also gives you the option to group tasks based on properties, such as Due Date, Assignee, Priority, and more.

We’ve covered grouping in different buckets before, but here’s a quick recap.

To change your task groupings, click on the “Group By Bucket” button in the top right of the Microsoft Planner interface.

The "Group by Bucket" option.

Choose a different property to group your tasks by, and they will automatically rearrange. For example, if you choose “Priority,” your tasks will be grouped into new Priority buckets.

Tasks grouped by Priority.

You can drag and drop tasks between these buckets to change the properties. Have you started testing and found some issues? No problem, group by “Progress” and drag the tasks you tested back into the “In Progress” column. Then, group by “Assigned To” and drag tasks into the buckets of the assignee who needs to resolve the issues or into the “Unassigned” bucket if anyone can pick them up.

This process is much quicker and much more intuitive than laboriously opening each task and editing each field.

Add Tasks and Change Dates in the Schedule View.

If you like to see your tasks by Due Date, click the “Schedule” option at the top of the plan.

The Schedule option.

This will open a calendar view of all your tasks. You can add new tasks, drag tasks to different days to give them new due dates, or move tasks off the calendar to remove the due date altogether.

The Schedule shows the current month by default, but you can click the “Week” button to show a week view instead.

The "Week" option in theSchedule view.

The Schedule view is the best way in Microsoft Planner to get a bird’s-eye view of everything you have to do. It’s much easier to understand your workload when you can see it visually.

Whether you view by Week or by Month, you can drag and drop any task to a new date to change the due date.

A task being dragged from one date to another.

You can also drag any task from the “Unscheduled Tasks” list onto the calendar to give it a due date.

An unscheduled task being dragged onto the calendar.

Conversely, you can also drag a task from the calendar into the “Unscheduled Tasks” list to remove its due date.

Add new tasks by clicking the “Add Task” button, or by clicking on the Plus (+) sign on any date, which will automatically set the Due Date of the task to be that date.

The options to create a new task in the Schedule view.

The Schedule view will give you a different perspective on your tasks, as well as providing an intuitive view of how much work is coming up.

See All Attachments in the Planner File Store

Over time, a plan can have lots of attachments, whether they’re images, documents, spreadsheets, or anything else. If you want to find an attachment again, you can look at them in the file store.

Click on the three-dot menu icon at the top of the plan, and select the “Files” option.

The "Files" menu option.

This will open a new tab in your browser, which shows the SharePoint site that stores all of the files from your tasks.

The Documents library for the plan, showing all the attachments.

You add, edit, or delete files, but be warned, if you delete a file from here, it will be deleted from your plan. However, if you have lots of attachments in your tasks and you need to find one quickly, this is how to do it.

With these tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to knowing everything you need to become a Microsoft Planner master.

Profile Photo for Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
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