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Setting tasks - Outlook 2010

In Outlook there is a Task list view, this facility allows you to create tasks for yourself and/or other people (they must also be using Outlook) and see what tasks have been sent to you. In addition, any emails that you have added a flag to, will also appear here.

1. Click on Tasks (lower left of screen)

Depending on your view it may appear as a button or as a small icon (see screenshots below for examples).

Tasks button in Outlook Tasks icon in Outlook

The Task view ribbon:

Tasks ribbon

You will find under My Tasks (just under the ribbon, in left navigation) two options.

  • To-Do List - this will show all the email items that have been flagged as well as all your tasks.
  • Tasks - this will show only your tasks.

All the task/email entries are listed automatically shown in Due date order (unless you change this).

As you can see right on the left of the ribbon, as well as being able to set flags on received emails, you can set flags on outgoing emails too.

2. Click on New Task (top left of ribbon)

New Task window

You can now see there are lots of options to choose.

  • You can set the usual Start and Due dates.
  • You can keep track of the status of the work (in progress, waiting for someone, deferred, completed)
  • Add priority to this task.
  • The person whose task this is can alter the % of how much has been completed at regular intervals.
  • Add a date and time for a reminder for this task.
  • Looking across the ribbon options:
    • You can also add more details (treating it as a timesheet) on specifically how much time has been spent on the task - see these options by clicking on Details.
    • You can set a recurring task (e.g. every 6 months update department document.)
    • You can also use the Follow Up facility to add a reminder.
    • Mark the task as Private.

3. Set the task for yourself or for others.

  • For yourself - click Save & Close.
  • For another person - click on Assign Task, which will bring up a To..: field so it can be emailed out to the person. (They also must be using Outlook.) The resulting email will give the recipient the option to accept or decline the task and any updates they make will be emailed back to the owner (you - the person who created the task). When you open the update emails, Outlook will update your copy of the task.
  • For multiple people - click on Assign Task and add more than one person into the To...: field. However the option to 'keep an updated copy of this task on my task list' will not be possible.

Because there are a multitude of options, the best thing to do is to experiment with setting tasks for yourself to see how they work in practice to get a feel for whether it is a useful tool for you when it comes to managing your workload and emails.

See also the web page on setting reminders if you are just after some reminders and do not want to go to this detail.

When you have finished viewing your tasks you can get back to your Inbox of emails by clicking on the Mail button (or envelope icon) in left navigation (see very top screenshot).