Let the To-Do Bar organize your day in Outlook 2007

In previous versions of Microsoft Outlook, keeping track of your action items— tasks, appointments, and flagged e-mail messages—required switching among views and keeping good track of your commitments. Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 display all your action items in a column along the right edge of the Outlook window. The To-Do Bar is available in all Office Outlook 2007 views, so you have access to the information whether you’re working in the Calendar, Tasks, Mail, or one of the other views.

Tip: The To-Do Bar integrates everything you need from not only Office Outlook 2007 but also from Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, Microsoft Office Project 2007, and workspaces created with Windows SharePoint Services (version 3).

The To-Do Bar

The new To-Do Bar is the tool that orchestrates the various tasks you need to act on, displaying tasks from the Tasks list, messages flagged for follow-up, upcoming appointments, and more. Figure 1 shows the different areas of the To-Do Bar. Notice that it displays several types of information to help you prioritize and complete specific tasks.

to-do bar with callouts

Figure 1: The To-Do Bar displays the items you need to remember and act on today.

You can add e-mail items to the To-Do Bar several ways:

  • Add a flag to an e-mail message (or contact)

  • Drag an e-mail message to the To-Do Bar

Tip: If you don’t see the To-Do Bar, open the View menu in the Office Outlook 2007 window, point to To-Do Bar, and click. If the To-Do Bar is minimized in your display (displayed as a narrow strip along the right edge of the Office Outlook 2007 window), click the double-arrow (<<) to maximize the To-Do Bar.

Completing items in the To-Do Bar

When you have finished one of the tasks or follow-up items in the To-Do Bar, you mark them complete by following these steps:

  • If the item is an appointment, it will be automatically removed from the To-Do Bar when the scheduled end-time is reached. If the appointment is completed early, and you wish to remove the appointment from the To-Do Bar, you can right click the item on the To-Do Bar, and then select Delete. However, this will also delete the appointment from the Calendar.

  • If the item is an e-mail message or contact you flagged for followup, or a task, right-click it and choose Mark Complete (see Figure 2). This remove the item from the To-Do Bar, but leave the item in the Mail, Contacts, or Tasks list.

    the to-do bar right-click menu
    Figure 2: Right-click a task in the To-Do Bar and choose Mark Complete when you’ve finished it.
  • If the item is an e-mail message or contact you flagged for follow-up or a task, right-click it and choose Delete. However, this will not only remove the item from the To-Do Bar, but will also remove the item from the Mail, Contacts, or Tasks list.

Tip: To customize the display of the To-Do Bar, right-click anywhere in the title and choose Options. The To-Do Bar Options dialog box appears. Type the number of months you want to display in the Date Navigator, the number of appointments you want to see, and whether you want to see the Task List. Click OK to save your changes the To-Do Bar display changes to reflect your choices.

The Tasks work area

The Tasks work area includes the Tasks panel, the To-Do List, the pane for the selected task, and the To-Do Bar, as you can see in Figure 3.

the tasks work area
Figure 3: The Tasks work area.

Create a new task by clicking New on the toolbar (or press Ctrl+N). This action opens the Task window, where you can fill in details about your task.

In the Task window, you can type notes about the task, indicate the start and due dates, select the status, set the priority, and set a reminder (see Figure 4). Additionally, you can attach files you need, assign the task to people on your team, or mark the task as complete.

the task window
Figure 4: Use the Task window to create, schedule, and attach items to tasks.
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