How do you use Outlook’s To-Do Bar?

As we continue to work on our Dashboard redesign, we have a couple of questions:

How often do you use the Outlook To-Do Bar?

  • Daily (51%, 52 Votes)
  • Rarely/Never (42%, 43 Votes)
  • Weekly (7%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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Do you usually leave the Outlook To-Do Bar open or minimized?

  • Open (51%, 51 Votes)
  • Minimized/Closed (49%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 100

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We’d also like to hear any comments you have about what you find most useful about the To Do Bar, what other information you wish you could see in the To Do Bar, and what other tasks you wish you could accomplish from the To Do Bar.  Please post any thoughts you have in the comments section below, thanks!


  1. I think the ToDo bar is good. The only thing that has gottem me now a few times is that it shows the next appointments even into next week. As a result, when I am in a hurry, I look down and see I have a 9:00 (for example) and then get to where I need to be and find out it is not until 9:00 the next day.

  2. A configurable list of next actions (GTD you know) that will keep me moving.

  3. Outlook provides 2 mechanisms for displaying tasks in the calendar view:

    * To-do Bar
    * Daily task list

    Through configuration I have set the to-bar to show unscheduled tasks and the daily task list to show me what’s due or overdue. I tend to spend most time working on scheduled work, so favour the daily task list.

    The lack of task hierarchy (i.e. sub-tasks) makes outlook very restrictive when using a large number of tasks. Any method of allowing tasks to be replaced by something better would be very welcome, either as an extension to outlook/CC or by allowing the CC task button to run a macro/script instead of directly manipulating outlook tasks. This would allow integration with other task tools/websites whilst still retaining the extremely useful CC feature.

  4. I voted minimised for the to-do bar but this is due to it taking screen space when I’m processing emails. I’ve configured mine to show 3 next appointments and tasks by a bespoke priority ordering (using a prefix to the subject – then order by subject) – I’ve also got categories displays so I can easily see which are web actions / call actions / whilst on hold actions etc. An easy method of quickly filter to only view these so that I can process them appropriately.

    What I don’t have and what CC gives me is filter by project. I’m hoping the new dashboards and whatever you bring help me with this still.

  5. I relate with Theo on minimizing the to-do bar to acheive ample screen space. However, I do not display the appointments on the t-do bar as I like to look at the calendar for this.

    What I don’t like about the task bar in the to-do bar is that I am unable to only show those tasks that are due for that day. I would like this option to be available on the task bar in the to-do bar. Also, there is no way to prioritized the tasks on the to-do bar. This would be very beneficial since if I have many high priority or normal priority tasks for that day I would be able to filter them.

  6. I use the To-Do bar within the Calendar with a customized view Grouped by Category and only showing the items due within the next 7 days.

    So I see all @Calls that I have to make within the next days etc.


  7. I have the to-do-bar always shown to make sure I see what’s coming.
    It’s filtered to show only the uncompleted tasks (including old ones) and up to the next 10 coming days.
    On the other hand, I type in my new to do tasks directly in the weekly calendar view so I don’t need to specify the dates

  8. I use the ToDo bar as a quick reference point. I rarely use it to edit items. I have not customized it but this is because I didnt know I could! I’ll certainly try to make it more useful for my purposes. Perhaps users would benefit from advice on how they can use it. Love CC by the way. Phil

  9. I’m using Outlook 2010 64-bit in Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ve tried turning off the To-Do Bar by changing the To-Do Bar setting to Off in the View tab. However, when I change from ‘Normal’ view to ‘Reading’ view (in the lower right corner of Outlook), or vice-versa, the To-Do Bar re-appears. The setting then reverts back to ‘Norma’ or ‘Minimized’ under the View tab. This happens consistently without fail. I have re-installed Office 2010 both 32-bit and 64-bit and I get the same results. I have even tried Windows 7 32-bit and still I cannot get rid of the To-Do Bar permanently. It always comes back when I change views from ‘Normal’ to ‘Reading’ or vice-versa. I haven’t seen this issue discussed since most users think the To-Do bar is the best thing since sliced bread. I disagree, it’s more trouble than help, since it takes up reading space! Also, why would toggeling between the ‘Normal’ view and ‘Reading’ view have any effect on the To-Do bar whatsoever??? I never want to see the To-Do bar at all! Any suggestions?