Such Happiness In Thought Happens

January 9, 2008

Make Outlook Tasks more interesting

Filed under: MS Office, Productivity, Tips & Tricks — Tags: , , , , — Duane @ 7:55 pm

Calendar with TaskPad

As mentioned in yesterday’s post HERE I have detailed a simple but effective way to make Tasks more useful for those of you who use Outlook. These steps are for people who use a version of Outlook pre-2007 (i.e. Outlook 97, 2000, XP or 2003). Plus some images to help understand what I am referring to. 

In Outlook go to the Calendar.

  1. Where to find TaskPadClick on the View menu at the top.

  2. Click on TaskPad (make sure you can see all items in your list. You may need to click on the double arrow at the bottom of the menu to achieve this).
  3. Your TaskPad is now visible on the left-hand side of the Calendar.

Depending upon your settings, you may get one month or more above the TaskPad. Depending upon your screen size, monitor resolution, it is a good idea to have at least two months (preferably three) visible. This allows you to look into the future and see more information below in the TaskPad. The default size of the TaskPad

The next problem we need to resolve is the default TaskPad view. What happens is that you will see tasks in the TaskPad if they are starting or due on today’s current date, or if you have no due date for the task. The problem with this is that when you click on another date to see what tasks you have, you don’t see that day’s worth of tasks, you still see the current date’s worth of tasks. The default view the TaskPad uses

The way to resolve this is to change the TaskPad view. Again this is only for Outlook users pre Outlook 2007.

  1. Make sure you are in the Calendar in Outlook.
  2. Click on the View menu.
  3. Click on TaskPad View (make sure you can see all items in your list. You may need to click on the double arrow at the bottom of the menu to achieve this).
  4. Click on Active Tasks for Selected Days.

The Best TaskPad View to use 

What will now happen is that when you click on any date in the Date Navigator area (the months above the TaskPad) you will see in the TaskPad only those tasks that are starting or due on the selected date. If you have a task due 3 weeks after the Start Date, you will see the task in the TaskPad for all those days.

This is the last bit to be aware for this to work well. You need to have a Start Date AND a Due Date for the TaskPad and Active Tasks for Selected Days to work. If you only have a Due Date (say 31st March 2008) you will see that task on all days from now until the Due Date. Whereas in most productivity systems you only want to be aware of the task on the days that it is to be started or due.


  1. I used to have this in place, but now the Taskpad view Menu is disabled. How do I re-enable it?


    Comment by Joe — February 5, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

  2. Duane – do you know if there is a way to do this in Outlook 2007 or 2010? I am only finding a way to show tasks as of today, but not the day that I am actually clicking on in the calendar. Thank you!

    Comment by Lori — April 12, 2011 @ 7:50 am

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