Outlook To-do list vs Tasks!

Last Updated on June 5, 2023 by Amit Bansal

In today’s fast-paced world, managing tasks efficiently is crucial for personal and professional success.

We often rely on digital tools to help us stay organized and track our progress. Two popular task management solutions offered by Microsoft are Outlook Tasks and Microsoft To-Do.

Both of these tools aim to provide users with a structured and painless experience in managing their tasks.

Knowing their key differences and how they can be tailored to our needs is essential for making the most out of these applications.

Outlook Tasks, a built-in feature in Microsoft Outlook, is designed to help us organize our work and commitments within the same platform that we use for email and calendar management.

On the other hand, Microsoft To-Do is a dedicated task management app that offers a more focused and mobile-friendly experience.

While both have their merits, their suitability depends on our unique requirements and work preferences.

In this article, we will explore the main differences between these two task management solutions and provide insights to help you make an informed decision regarding which one is better suited for your needs.

With the right choice, you can transform your daily routine and achieve a higher level of productivity and organization.

Outlook Tasks Vs To-Do List: Understanding The Difference

In this section, we will provide an overview of Outlook Tasks and To-Do List, and help understand the difference between the two.

Tasks Overview

Outlook Tasks are a built-in feature that allows us to create, organize, and manage tasks within the software.

We can add a subject, due date, and priority, and even set reminders for tasks.

Tasks give us a clear overview of what we need to accomplish and help us stay organized and focused on our priorities.

Tasks can be handy not only for personal projects but also for managing work assignments.

To-Do List Overview

The To-Do List in Outlook is a dynamic list that includes all flagged items in our inbox, calendar, and tasks.

This list shows an aggregate of all the tasks and flagged items we have, making it easy to see everything that needs to be done in one place.

By using the To-Do List, we can easily keep track of not just our tasks but also flagged emails and events that require action.

This feature makes it convenient for us to manage various types of activities without getting overwhelmed or missing anything important.

In summary, Outlook Tasks are a dedicated tool for creating and managing task items, while the To-Do List is an inclusive list that shows all of our flagged items and tasks in one place.

Both serve different purposes in organizing our workload and helping us stay on top of our responsibilities.

Creating And Organizing Tasks And To-Do Lists

New Task Creation

We can easily create new tasks in Outlook to help us stay organized. To create a new task, select the Tasks icon and then click on New Task.

In the subject box, enter a name for the task, and if there is a fixed start or end date, set these accordingly. We can also set task priorities by using the Priority option (Microsoft Support).

Organizing Tasks: Categories And Folders

Organize tasks by using categories and folders to keep our to-do list neat and efficient.

Categorizing our tasks helps us easily prioritize them and distinguish between important and less important tasks.

Folders can be created to further sort tasks based on their specific criteria, such as work, personal, or projects (How to Organize Your To-Do List in Outlook with Categories).

Flagging Emails

Flagging emails is a useful feature that allows us to quickly add items to our to-do list directly from our email inbox.

When we receive an email that requires action, we can flag it, which will then automatically add it to our task list.

This helps us effectively keep track of our tasks and ensures that we don’t overlook important emails that require attention.

Setting Priorities And Due Dates

Setting priorities and due dates is crucial for managing our tasks efficiently.

Assign a priority level (low, normal, or high) to each task, which helps us focus on the most important items first.

Additionally, we can set due dates for tasks that have deadlines, so we know when to allocate our time and effort to complete them on time.

By utilizing these features, we can effectively manage and organize our tasks and to-do lists in Outlook, ensuring we stay on top of our daily responsibilities and goals.

Integration With Microsoft Tools And Features

In this section, we will discuss how Microsoft To Do and Outlook Tasks integrate with various Microsoft tools and features.

Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To-Do is a powerful task management app that allows you to create and organize tasks, set reminders, and add due dates.

It’s designed to improve your productivity by providing features such as My Day, smart lists, and task folders.

You can easily manage your projects and collaborate with team members using Microsoft To Do.

To make the most of this app, we recommend syncing it with your Microsoft Outlook account to view and manage your tasks seamlessly.

Outlook Calendar

Outlook Calendar is an essential tool for scheduling and tracking your tasks.

By integrating your Microsoft To-Do task list with your Outlook Calendar, you can easily create follow-ups, set start dates, and view your tasks on the calendar.

To use this integration, simply create an event in your calendar and add the relevant tasks as reminders.

This way, you can stay organized and ensure that you never miss an important deadline.


OneNote is a note-taking app that can help you with project management and productivity.

You can use OneNote to create tasks, attach files, and manage your projects alongside your task list.

The integration between OneNote and Microsoft To-Do allows you to streamline your workflow and keep your tasks and notes organized in one place.

To connect these tools, visit your OneNote settings and enable the integration with Microsoft To Do.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that offers many useful features for teamwork, including chats, video calls, file sharing, and more.

By integrating Microsoft To Do with Teams, you can manage and track tasks directly within the Teams interface.

This integration enhances team productivity by providing a centralized platform for communication and task management.

For example, tasks assigned to team members in Microsoft Planner now show up in To Do’s “Assigned to you” list, as mentioned in this Microsoft365 blog post.

Overall, the integration of Microsoft To-Do and Outlook Tasks with various Microsoft Tools and Features enables users to enhance their productivity and manage tasks with ease.

Managing And Sharing Tasks For Enhanced Collaboration

Individual Tasks And Assignments

Managing individual tasks and assignments is crucial for staying organized and enhancing productivity.

With Outlook Tasks, we can easily add a task, schedule tasks, and set reminders using the “remind me” feature. This allows us to stay on top of our personal and professional commitments.

By categorizing and prioritizing our tasks, we can ensure that we’re focusing on the most important items first and staying organized.

Sharing Task Lists And Projects

Collaboration is key in any team setting, and sharing task lists and projects can help us achieve that.

Both Outlook Tasks and Microsoft To-Do offer the option to share lists with team members, allowing them to view, edit, and assign tasks.

This feature streamlines the process of working collaboratively on a project and keeps everyone aligned on the progress being made.

Using Smart Lists And Teams

Smart Lists and Teams make it even easier to successfully manage and share tasks.

In Microsoft To-Do, we can make use of Smart Lists, which automatically organize tasks based on criteria such as due date, priority, or completion status.

This simplifies task management and ensures that we’re always working on the most important tasks first.

Additionally, we can use Microsoft Teams to communicate with team members about tasks in Outlook or Microsoft To Do, making it easier to keep everyone informed about task progress and any changes that occur.

What is the Difference Between Task and To-Do list in Outlook?

In my early days when I personally started using Microsoft Outlook, I am confused about the differences between the Outlook to-do list vs tasks.

The only difference I recognize is to-do list is the list of events that I have planned for execution in the future, and a task is an event.

& I am right!

Task icon is available in the Outlook navigation section, which helps to enter the platform to create Regular Tasks & Recurring Tasks, now the questions are where tasks are saved.

Here To-do List comes into play:

To-Do is any Outlook item that is flagged for follow-up, usually flagged email, as well as all of the tasks in the Task folders in the profile.

The list contains follow-up emails and tasks which can check in each task folder later whenever required, Todo list is not designed to save flagged emails and Tasks, reviewing all tasks would take longer than it should be available in the To-Do List.

Once you create a new task using, the task is stored in the To-Do folder as well as the default Tasks folder.

Basically, there is no comparison between Tasks and to-do lists in Outlook, To-do list on the tagboard consists of tasks.

One of the major differences between Outlook to-do list & Tasks is Clicking on the Task icon in the navigation section is Task folder only consist of active tasks only, but the case of To-do list consists of all the events like flagged email, calendars as well as task.

Todo list consists of:

  • Categories
  • Start Date
  • Due date
  • Type
  • Importance
  • Assignment
  • Modified Date
What is the difference between Task and To-Do list in Outlook

You can arrange and sort the list according to your convenience.

NOTE: Since Microsoft To-Do is a web-based application, the desktop Outlook task experience is still the same and did not change.


In our exploration of Outlook To Do List and Tasks, we found that both features play a vital role in helping us manage our daily activities and prioritize work efficiently.

By understanding the differences and capabilities of these features, we can make better use of them in our everyday lives.

Outlook Tasks is an effective tool for organizing and tracking tasks within the Outlook platform.

With its robust features, such as setting priorities, adding reminders, and creating subtasks, it serves as a versatile option for managing our personal and work responsibilities.

On the other hand, Microsoft To-Do offers a simpler, more user-friendly interface and focuses mainly on creating and organizing to-do lists.

It also seamlessly integrates with Outlook Tasks, allowing us to access our tasks from various devices and platforms.

Choosing between the two mainly comes down to personal preferences and specific requirements.

If we require a more advanced task management system with additional features, Outlook Tasks might be the better option.

However, if all we need is a straightforward way to create and manage our daily to-do lists, Microsoft To-Do would be an excellent choice.

By effectively using either of these tools, we can improve our productivity, keep track of our commitments, and achieve better work-life balance.

It’s essential that we explore both of them and determine which one suits our needs the best to get the most out of our task management efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the Outlook to-do list include besides tasks?

The To-Do List is a folder that contains all of the items that need to be done, allowing users to see an aggregate list of all tasks that need to be done, apart from that flagged emails also hold a position in the to-do list.

What is the Key Difference Between Flagging and Creating a Task?

Task and Email flagged are different, flagging an email set a reminder to deal with that email, a To-do list, and list out all the emails which you flag in your respective folders as the task.

Similarly, that email is also visible on the Tasks peeks, in case you delete that email message, naturally the email is also removed from the task (to-do list).

But, if you create a task from the email message, the new separate task is independent of the message. If the original message from your folder is deleted, the task remains available on the to-do list, including the copied contents of the message.

Difference between a to-do list and a task?

A task is an individual item in Outlook that is stored in a Tasks folder, whereas a to-do item can be any Outlook item flagged for follow-up, such as flagged emails and tasks.

Both serve the purpose of organizing and tracking the progress of your work, but tasks in Outlook are dedicated to managing tasks alone, while the to-do list can include other elements like emails marked for follow-up.

You can find more information on Understanding Tasks and To-Do List.

Are Outlook tasks the same as To-Do?

Outlook tasks are similar to Microsoft To-Do, but they are not the same thing.

While both tools help you manage your tasks, Microsoft To-Do is a separate app that syncs with Outlook tasks.

The primary difference is that Microsoft To-Do offers a more comprehensive interface and additional features when compared to Outlook tasks.

Discover more about Outlook Tasks vs. Microsoft To-Do.

Using tasks and to-do lists effectively?

To use Outlook tasks and to-do lists effectively, you can create reminders, set due dates and priority levels, and track the progress of your projects by updating completion percentages.

Ensure that you keep your tasks and to-do items organized and up-to-date, and regularly review your priorities to stay on top of your workload. Learn more about creating tasks and a to-do list in Outlook.

Outlook task tips and tricks?

To make the most of Outlook tasks, you can:

  1. Attach relevant files and emails to your tasks to keep all supporting information in one place.
  2. Use custom categories to group tasks based on projects, priority levels, or other relevant factors.
  3. Use flags and colors to highlight the most important tasks.
  4. Create recurring tasks for regular activities.
  5. Collaborate by assigning tasks to others or sharing task lists.

To-do list on Outlook 365?

In Outlook 365, you can access your to-do list by hovering over the Tasks icon in the navigation pane.

From here, you can view, create, and edit tasks and flagged emails stored in your to-do list.

Microsoft 365 also integrates with Microsoft To-Do, allowing you to sync your tasks across devices and platforms. Find more on Using Outlook tasks with Microsoft To-Do.

Outlook tasks not showing in To-Do?

If your Outlook tasks are not showing up in Microsoft To-Do, you might need to check your sync settings.

Ensure that you have the correct account added to Microsoft To-Do, and your tasks are stored in the default tasks folder in Outlook.

If you still face issues, consult Microsoft Support for further troubleshooting.

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Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of MailSmartly.com. Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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