Quick Start – Setting up Microsoft To Do

Luxurious rollerball pen and empty to do list

Overview of Microsoft To Do

This article will provide a brief overview of the key parts of To Do and then show you how to integrate with Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Outlook, and how to dictate tasks into your list from your devices or computer.

Microsoft To Do comes with a primary list called Task where you would enter any items you want to get done.  You can create multiple lists or groups of lists to track other items or types of action items.

Smart Lists

There are several optional Smart Lists that are special filters used to display a subset of all your tasks so you can quickly find what you are looking for based on context.  This becomes a key feature as you build out additional lists for tracking all your action items or check lists or anything else you need to keep in lists.

Microsoft To Do is a beautifully done task management system
with lots of power. 

The built in integration
with  Microsoft Planner
and Outlook is seamless.

The Main screen of To Do:

My Day – A temporary filter that shows any items you have added to My Day for that day – they remain in their original list as well.  My day only keeps the tasks you add to My Day for that day, the next day they are cleared and you will have to add the items back and/or add new tasks you want to focus on.  The light bulb icon will provide recommendations for your day based on due date and priority.  If you enter a task from My Day list – it is automatically added to the ‘Task’ List.

Important – Filter that shows items you have flagged as Important – they remain in their original list.  If you enter a task from the Important list – it is automatically added to the ‘Task’ List

Planned – Filter that shows any tasks that have a due date – they remain in their original list.   Task that are in your Assigned to you list that have due dates will also show up your Planned list here too.   If you add a task from the Planned list – it is automatically added to the ‘Task’ List

Assigned to you – This is not a Smart list – it is an Integrated list (see below).

All – As the name indicates, this filter shows all items from all lists.  This list is not active by default but you can list it from settings.

Completed – Shows all completed tasks and will group by the list they were completed from.

Flagged email – This is not a Smart list – it is an Integrated list (see below).

If you don’t see all these Smart lists, you can turn them on from the Settings.  From the To Do Application, click on your profile picture – from your PC select settings or from your mobile device, scroll down to Smart lists.

Example of Planned Smart List

Connecting to Microsoft To Do

Although To Do is a great standalone task manager, the real productivity boost comes in to play by activating the built-in integration with Microsoft Planner and Outlook.

Microsoft Planner tasks that are assigned to you will automatically show up in the ‘Assigned to you’ list.

Outlook task will automatically show up in your Task list.

Outlook emails that are flagged for follow up will show up in the Flagged email list. 

Setup To Do for Integration

Setup Microsoft To Do to automatically receive feeds from Outlook tasks, flagged emails, and Planner tasks that are assigned to you for projects: 

Go to settings from To Do and under Connected apps, turn on Planner and Flagged email.  

Integrated Lists

There are two list that are used to bring in task from Planner and Outlook.

Assigned to you – This is a list of any Microsoft Planner tasks that are assigned to you.  The name of the plan the task came from will be listed below the task itself. 

Flagged email – This is a list of any emails that were flagged in Outlook.  If you want an email to show up in To Do, simply right click on the email in Outlook and set a Follow Up flag.  Note the date that you pick for the follow up flag will become the date assigned for the task when it appears in the flagged email flag.

The email will also show up in the Planned Smart List. If you do not set a date, it will only be listed in the Flagged email list.

You will have the option to open the email in Outlook for the web simply by clicking on the Open in Outlook option when viewing the task.

Outlook Tasks – Task you enter in Outlook will appear in the Task list in To Do.  If you have a due date or reminder date set on the task it will also show up in the Planned Smart List.

Talking to your list

You can dictate action items to your To Do list – see the links in the call out box for instructions.  For example using iPhone reminders are a great way to dictate an action item or reminder to yourself from your iPhone or iPad.  By adding your Exchange or Outlook account to your phone or iPad you can now tie reminders to your Microsoft To Do list instead of the built in reminder list that is on the phone.

Getting Things Done - GTD*

Microsoft To Do is a great tool for implementing Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done*.  Highly recommended approach to organizing your world.

We will be publishing a Quick Start Guide for GTD soon.

Dictate action items directly into your To Do Task List.

Here are Microsoft instructions for setting up:

Siri with Microsoft To Do
on iOS devices.

OK Google with Microsoft To Do

Cortana for Windows 10



* GTD, GETTING THINGS DONE & Weekly Review, are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.