Microsoft To-Do App for MacOS – An Illustrated Guide


In looking at all of the to-do managers out there, one has a very interesting history: Microsoft To-Do. Microsoft had acquired Wunderlist in 2015 and had initially implied that they would expand the app. As time passed, however, Microsoft had a change of heart and instead released a new To-Do manager (Microsoft To-Do) and announced that To-Do would be the eventual successor to Wunderlist. The blog post takes a look at Microsoft To-Do and how it works.

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What is Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft To-Do is a cross-platform to-do manager that is simple to use and integrates well into the Microsoft ecosystem.

Microsoft To-Do Platform Availability

Microsoft To-Do is available on the following platforms:

  • Web
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android

The blog post will focus on the Mac version of the Microsoft To-Do application.

Microsoft To-Do for Mac

Main UI for Microsoft To-Do for MacOS

On June 28th of this year (2019) , Microsoft released the Mac version of the To-Do client.

Key Features

Listed below is a list of some of the key features of Microsoft To-Do:

Sync across Devices

Microsoft To-Do syncs across all of your devices that have the application on it. Sync is consistent and fast. It also supports sync with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook.com. Microsoft leverages it’s Exchange Online services to store the task so all you have to do is log into both Microsoft To-Do and Outlook and your tasks will show up.

Tight integration to the Microsoft Ecosystem

As mentioned in the prior feature, To-Do tasks show up in Outlook. Additionally you can use Microsoft’s automation tool, Microsoft Flow, with To-Do to create workflows that generate tasks.

Subtasks

To-Do supports the ability to create subtasks within a task. Microsoft To-Do refers to these subtasks as Steps. You can add a bunch of steps to a particular task. Each step has a circular checkbox that you can check off as you complete a step. Once you have checked off a step, the circle will show a green checkmark with the text of the step crossed out.

Look and Feel

My initial impressions of the user interface is that it feels familiar. The right-panel contains the following:

  • My Day
  • Important
  • Planned
  • Tasks

My Day refers to all tasks that have a due date of today. Important means exactly you would think it would mean. All of the tasks marked as important. Planned are all the tasks with a due date beyond the current day. Tasks is simply a list of all the tasks you have in To-Do.

The default view of the main panel has a My Day banner with today’s date underneath with an abstract purple and blue image of a desert background . To the left of the banner are two buttons:

  • Show Suggestions
  • Open a Menu with List Options

Show suggestions shows you what the To-Do app believes are the tasks that are most important or relevant to you. Open a menu with list options is an extremely descriptive button that shows you the following configurable options:

Sort

There are several types of sorting you can do on your tasks:

Sort menu
  • Importance
  • Alphabetically
  • Due Date
  • Creation Date
  • Completed
second level of sort menu

All of the sort options are self-explanatory and work exactly how you would expect. When you apply a sort filter, a little bar appears underneath the main banner with the text “Sorted by “ and the sort option you chose with a up/down toggle for most to least or least to most (i.e. A to Z or Z to A).

Underneath the banner is where your task will be. If don’t have any tasks or if you don’t have a task based on one of the filters in the left panel, all you will see in the main area is “+ Add a Task”.

How to Create a Task in Microsoft To-Do for Mac

There are a couple of ways to add a task to Microsoft To-Do. The first is to simply click on the text “Add a Task” and start typing out your task. The second is to use the keyboard shortcut “Command N “.

The Individual Task Panel

When you create a new task or click on an existing task, the individual task panel will show up to the right of the main task area. This panel has several options to configure your task with.

How to Mark Your Task As Complete

To mark your task complete, simply click on the circular checkbox next to the name of the task. Clicking the circle will place a green checkmark inside the circle.

How to delete a Task

Garbage Can

There are two ways to delete a task in To-Do.

To delete a task:

  1. Select the task
  2. Click on the garbage can icon in the lower right corner of the task panel
  3. A confirmation dialog box will appear, click Delete task to delete
Confirmation box

If you want to delete multiple tasks at the same time, do the following:

Delete Tasks Menu
  1. Select the tasks holding down Shift and selecting each task you want to delete
  2. Right-click and select Delete task from the menu
  3. A confirmation dialog box will appear. Click Delete tasks to delete the tasks

How to create Sub Tasks

The next option you can configure are subtasks. As I mentioned earlier, subtasks are called steps in To-Do and they are very easy to add.

Add step button

To add a step in To-Do:

  1. Click on the “Add step” button
  2. Type in your step and hit Enter

Your step will have been added. If you noticed, the “Add step” button has been replaced with a “Next step” button, which makes sense given steps are done in order.

Next Step Button

To Add Another Step to Your Task

  1. Click on the “Next step” button
  2. Type in your step and hit Enter

Continue to add steps in this manner.

How to Delete a Step

Delete button
Confirmation box

To delete a step, click on the “x” on the right side of the step. A dialog box will pop up warning you that your step will be permanently deleted. Press the “Delete step” button to delete the step.

Can I Reorder The Steps In A Task?

While you can reorder the steps in a task on the iOS client, you currently cannot reorder them in the MacOS client. There is a feature request for this functionality at:

Link to Reorder Steps on MacOS client Feature Request

If this is a feature that is important to you and you feel it belongs in the MacOS client, go to the link and vote for it.

Adding a Task to the My Day view

Microsoft To-Do makes it really easy to add your task to add a task to the My Day view.

Add to My Day button

To add a single task to the My Day view:

  1. Select the task
  2. Click on the “Add to My Day” button

Alternately you can select the task and use the Command T keyboard shortcut.

To Add Multiple Tasks to the My Day view:

  1. Hold down the Shift key and click on each task you want to add to My Day
  2. Use the Command T keyboard shortcut to add the tasks to My Day

The steps referenced above also work to remove tasks from the My Day view.

How to Set a Reminder for a Task

To set a reminder for a task:

Remind me button
  1. Select the task
  2. Click the “Remind me” button

You will be presented with 3 options:

Options for remind me
  • Later Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Next Week
  • Pick a Date and Time

Each of these are exactly what you would think they are. Later today is just that, a time later in the day. Tomorrow is tomorrow and next week is next week.

Calendar popup with time

Pick a Date and Time brings up a calendar pop-up where you can choose the date and time for your reminder.

There are no keyboard shortcuts to the remind me functionality.

How to Set a Due Date for your Task

To set a due date for your task within the individual task panel:

Add Due Date
  1. Select the task
  2. Click on the “Add due date” button

Just like with the remind me button, you will be presented with three options:

  • Later Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Next Week
  • Pick a Date
calendar picker without time

They all work the same as remind me with the notable exception of Pick a Date which only lets you pick a date for a task, not the time.

Alternately, you can right click on a task or tasks by doing the following:

Due Date options from main menu
  1. Select the task(s) you want to add/change a due date to (remember to hold down Shift and select each task when you want to select multiple tasks)
  2. Right Click and Select the option you want

A third way of configuring the due date for a task or set of tasks is the following:

  1. Select the task(s) you want to add/change a due date to (remember to hold down Shift and select each task when you want to select multiple tasks)
  2. Go to Note in the top menu and select either Due today or Due tomorrow

The Pick a Date option is not available in the main menu.

How to Setup a Repeating Task

Some tasks repeatedly occur on a set interval. To setup a repeating task in Microsoft To-Do:

Repeat button
  • Select your task
  • Click the Repeat button

A context menu should pop-up with the following options:

Repeat menu
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Weekdays
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • Custom

Daily will make the task repeat every day. Weekly will make the task repeat every week. Weekdays repeat daily Monday thru Friday. Monthly repeats every month and yearly repeat once every year.

Custom Repeat Interval

Custom allows you to create a custom interval. You can setup bi or tri-weekly or every other day for example. You cannot invoke the repeat functionality via keyboard shortcut, the main menu or by right-clicking on the task.

How to Add a File to a Task

To-Do allows you to add a file to a task. To add a file to a task:

  1. Select the task
  2. In the task panel, click on the “Add a file” button
  3. Select the file you want to add and click Open

Your file will now appear in the task. This is the only way to add a file to a task. You can’t add a file to multiple tasks at the same, use a keyboard shortcut, right-click or the main menu to add a file.

How to Add a Note to a Task

You can add a note to a task.

To add a note to a task:

Add a file button
  1. Select a note
  2. Click on the “Add a Note” button
  3. Type in your note
Selecting a file to add to task

Like the Add a File function, this is the only way you can add a note to a task.

Added file in task

How to Create a List in Microsoft To-Do for Mac

A list is a way to essential group a bunch of tasks in Microsoft To-Do. To create a list, do the following:

New List button
  1. In the left panel of the To-Do window, click on the “New list” button
  2. A new list will appear
  3. Click on the current name of the list in the main banner and type in the name of the list
Changing name of list
Renamed List

Adding a task or tasks is easy to do. For new tasks simply click the “Add a task button” and start typing in your task . To add an existing task(s) to a list, do the following:

Right clicking to move a task to a new list
  1. Select the task(s)
  2. Right-Click and select “Move task to… and select your list

Your task(s) will now appear on your list.

You can also create a list from a task by doing the following:

  1. Select the task
  2. Right-click on the task and select “Create a new list from this task”

A new list will be created with your task inside the list. Alternatively, you can do the same thing by selecting the task and in the main menu selecting “Create a new list from this task”. You can also just select the task and using the following keyboard shortcut:

Shift-Command-N

How to Share a List

To-Do supports sharing lists with other users. To share a list:

Shared List
List Sharing
List sharing options
  1. Select the list
  2. In the Main Menu, select List -> Share List
  3. A List sharing dialog box will appear, select the application you want to use to send the link to the list
  4. Add your recipient(s) and press Send
Pick your recipients to share list
Sharing Options

Alternately, you can invoke the sharing function by right-clicking on the list and selecting “Sharing options”

Summary

Microsoft To-Do is a solid, basic To-Do manager for MacOS. It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles like some other applications (or even the iOS version of To-Do) but if you are looking for a basic to-do manager that is cross-platform and works with with Outlook and Microsoft’s Flow automation solution, To-Do is worth taking a look at.


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Helpful Links

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