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Daily Task List Planner

While I love the completeness of Outlook, it does make some small things in the real world rather cumbersome in the digital world.

For instance, I have a paper daily planner on my desk which only lists the days of the week in columns. For each day, I simply write down a few words or lines to remind me what I want to do today or what I should do that day; this process takes only a few minutes to clear my head of things to do without getting distracted.

If I were to do this with Outlook Tasks, I need a whole bunch of clicks and open new windows, carefully clicking the correct day and basically lose my train of thoughts.

Is there an easy way in Outlook to emulate the ease of use my beloved “Daily Task List Planner”?

Entering new Tasks via the “New Task” button and directly plan them on the correct day is indeed quite cumbersome in Outlook if you quickly want to create a few task items with only a couple of words in the subject.

Luckily, there are a few other ways in Outlook which allow you to achieve the same a lot quicker.

Daily Task List

Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 actually have a “Daily Task List” as well in the Calendar when you have that set in the Day or (Work) Week view. Instead of using the Tasks folder, you can then also create Task items directly in the Calendar folder by clicking in the “Daily Task List” pane below the Calendar. Simply click under the day that you want to plan the task on and start typing.

If you currently have the Daily Task List disabled, you can enable it via;
View-> Daily Task List-> Normal

You can drag the top of the Daily Task List up and down to increase or decrease the amount of tasks that will be visible for that day.


New Tasks can be created directly in the Daily Task List and the area can be expanded too.

Full screen Daily Task List in Tasks folder

If you need more space, want a monthly planner, are using Outlook 2003 or earlier or have any other reason why you do not want to plan your tasks via the Calendar folder, you can also customize the view of the Tasks folder to show it as a full calendar planner.

  1. Select your Tasks folder (not the To-Do List folder!).
  2. Define a new view;
    • Outlook 2003
      View-> Arrange By-> Current View-> Define Views…
    • Outlook 2007
      View-> Current View-> Define Views…
    • Outlook 2010
      tab View-> button Change View-> Manage Views…
  3. Click: New…
  4. Name the view. For instance; Daily Task List Planner
  5. Select for the type of view: Day/Week/Month
  6. Click OK to close the “Create a New View” dialog.
  7. Click OK to close the “Advanced View Settings” dialog.
  8. Click: Apply View
  9. Click on “Month” to show the entire month.

You can now simply click on a day and start typing to start a new task for that day. Press ENTER to create the tem. If you need to create an additional task for that day, simply start typing again.

When multiple tasks exist for a day and cannot be shown on that day, there will be a small down arrow on that day. Click on it to expand the day and switch to a week view which uses the entire calendar area.

Click on the down arrow to expand the monthly view and show all tasks. (click on image for a full screen view)
Click on the down arrow to expand the monthly view and show all tasks.
(click on image for full screen view)

After expanding the list, you'll see an entire week view without a time scale. (click on image for full screen view)
After expanding the list, you’ll see an entire week view without a time scale.
(click on image for full screen view)



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