Creating and Managing Tasks in Outlook - dummies

By Peter Weverka

You can use the Tasks window in Outlook to see what you need to do, when you need to do it, and whether you should have done it awhile ago. On the Tasks window list, due dates clearly show how smartly the whip is being cracked and how close you are to meeting or missing deadlines. A gray line appears across tasks that you complete. Tasks that are overdue appear in red.

Entering a task in the Tasks window

Outlook offers two ways to enter a task in the Tasks window:

The fast way: Follow these steps to enter a task quickly:

1. Click at the top of the window where it says “Click here to add a new Task.”

2. Type a few words to describe the task.

3. Enter the due date in the Due Date box.

To enter the date, type it yourself or open the drop-down calendar and select a date there.

The slower but thorough way: If you want to get your task set up just right, follow these steps:

1. Click the New button, press Ctrl+N, or choose Action –> New Task.

You see the Task form. This form has places where you can enter all kinds of information about your task.

2. In the Task form, describe the task.

3. Enter start and due dates.

4. Describe the task’s status.

5. Prioritize the task.

6. Jot down notes about the task.

7. Click the Save and Close button when you finish describing the task.

By clicking the Recurrence button in the Task form, you can enter a task that gets repeated over and over again. In the Task Recurrence dialog box, describe how often the task recurs. Outlook marks recurring tasks in the Task window with an unusual icon. It looks kind of like a clipboard with a piece of toilet paper stuck to it.

Use the Details tab of the Task form to track the hours that you work on a project, the companies you work for, and how many miles you log going to a fro in your work.

Handling and managing tasks

When the time comes to manage the tasks in the Tasks window, you should be a stern taskmaster. Here are some tips for handling and managing tasks:

  • Marking a task as complete: Click the check box beside the task name in the Task window. Outlook draws a line through completed tasks.
  • Deleting a task: Select the task and click the Delete button or press Ctrl+D.
  • Editing a task: Double-click a task in the Task window to open the Task form and change the particulars there.

Outlook offers a number of techniques for locating tasks in a crowded Task window:

  • Change views in the Task window: Open the Current View drop-down menu and choose the view that can most likely turn up the task you’re looking for.
  • Categorize tasks: Assign tasks to categories and choose By Category in the Current View drop-down menu to arrange tasks by category.
  • Use the Find command: If worse comes to worst, you can always resort to the Find command to find a stray task.