For many years, Wunderlist has been one of the most popular and well-known online apps. It was founded by Christian Reber in 2011 and the Pro version was released in April 2013.
In June 2015, Microsoft acquired Wunderlist, a direct competitor to Microsoft’s own To Do app, known simply as Microsoft To Do.
At the time, Wunderlist had an impressive user base of 13 million users. This author was one of them.
Microsoft’s old to do
When Microsoft first acquired Wunderlist, Microsoft’s (To Do) offer looked bad in comparison. Most of the more advanced features offered in Wunderlist Pro were missing from Microsoft To Do.
Since then, Microsoft has been gradually working to integrate these advanced features into Microsoft To Do, in the hope that by the time they shut down Wunderlist, all of its users will happily switch to it.
Today, Microsoft To Do is everything Wunderlist has ever been and more. In this Microsoft To Do overview, you will learn about all the features of the application and how to use them.
Microsoft To Do review
When you first open a Microsoft To Do account, the app won’t look special, but once you start using it, you’ll find features hidden all over the place.
Let’s explore the left navigation bar, one section at a time.
- My day: This is where you assign the most important tasks from your lists that you need to complete today.
- Important: to mark important items, regardless of when they are due.
- Scheduled: All of your tasks sorted by due date.
- Assigned to You: View tasks that other Microsoft To Do users have assigned to you using your email address.
- Tasks: Any tasks you’ve added using the Microsoft Tasks app.
- Lists: The entire bottom of the left navigation pane includes all the lists you’ve created to organize your tasks.
The center pane will list tasks whenever you select any view in the left navigation pane. The right side may also contain some items. For example, in the My Day view, you can select Today in the upper-right corner of the window to see all tasks that are either due or you have set a reminder, grouped by date.
The planned section
If you select “Scheduled” in the left navigation bar, you will see all the tasks that need to be done for today, as well as the ones that are coming up. This is where you’ll likely be spending most of your time in Microsoft To Do, so it’s worth exploring it first.
By organizing tasks into separate lists (which we’ll talk about below), you set due dates and reminders. Anything with a due date or a reminder of today will be displayed here in the Today section.
What’s interesting about Microsoft’s To Do approach is that the order doesn’t change strictly from day to day. It’s actually a bit like the Now, Next, Later Getting Things Done (GTD) model.
The sections are not specifically named that way, but you can see that the concept is the same. In your daily work, you will be focused on the present day. If you can handle everything, you can start with Tomorrow or choose one of the later assignments in the other two sections.
My Day section
At this point, you might think that you will always use the Planned section and work from top to bottom.
But it doesn’t work in the real world. Especially if in a month you have tasks that you need to work on a little over time. These are the type of tasks that you could mark as important by selecting the asterisk to the right of the task.
The point is, on a schedule that suits you, maybe every morning at coffee or every evening before heading home from work, you go through the following list of tasks you really want to solve and add them to the list. Section “My Day”.
This can be done by right-clicking the task and choosing Add to My Day.
Then, when you’re ready to get started, simply select “My Day” and start working on your list.
You can be sure that you are working on the most important tasks that you wanted to accomplish.
Create new lists and tasks
How do I add all these lists and tasks to Microsoft ToDo? Lists are a collection of organized tasks. This is a great way to group your tasks by project, company, topic, or any other way you want to organize them.
To create a new list, simply scroll down to the bottom of the left navigation pane and select the + New list box. Enter a name for the list and press Enter.
This list appears in the left navigation bar with a blue list icon to the left of it. For example, three lists are shown below: Health, Family, and Home.
To create a new task in the list, simply select the + Add task link and start typing. Press Enter when finished.
To change the details of a task, simply select the task and a new panel will open on the right.
You can add all of the following information to any task in Microsoft To Do.
- Add individual subtasks (steps) involved in the task.
- Add a task to the My Day section.
- Create a reminder for the task.
- Set a due date.
- Place the task on a recurring schedule.
- Apply the category to the task.
- Attach a file.
- Add a note or comments.
Depending on when you did it or set reminders, Microsoft To Do will automatically assign the task to one of the appropriate scheduling folders at the top of the navigation bar.
Create task groups
One of the most powerful features of Microsoft To Do is a feature that any good to-do app should include. This is a folder or group for task lists.
Consider a scenario in which you open a new side business by buying, renovating, and reselling old homes. For this type of business, you will need a property purchase task list, another renovation task list, and so on.
To group all of these lists, you first need to create at least two of these task lists.
Then select the little icon with a box and a + to the right of the New List box. This is the Create Group icon.
Enter a group name and press Enter. Then, simply click and drag the two task lists you created to the task lists group. You’ll know you’ve dragged it far enough when you see a blue dotted box inside the group.
When you’re done, you will see a group with both task lists included in it. You can collapse or open this group at any time by clicking the arrow to the right of the group name.
Now, every time you add a new task list, simply drag and drop it into any of the existing groups to add to that group.
Groups are not only a great way to organize all of your to-do lists, but they are also a great way to keep your left navigation bar clean. Even if you have hundreds of lists, you can collapse them all into organized groups so the left navigation bar doesn’t get out of hand.
Should you use Microsoft to Do?
There are many applications on the web today that you can use to manage your day to day tasks. Some people choose any of the popular to-do list apps. Other people may take an unconventional approach, using something like Trello or Evernote to manage their time.
In all fairness, it can take years to try out several systems before you find one that suits you perfectly.
Having tested almost every available to-do app, we can confidently say that Microsoft To Do has all the important features you might need to manage your time as productively and efficiently as possible.