Understanding Microsoft To Do Task Manager

Microsoft To Do is Microsoft’s entry point into task management. More than just a to-do list, it’s a collaborative tool that blends information from the Office 365 ecosystem and keeps your tasked sync’d across cloud and mobile platforms ensuring that you have the information that you need when and where you need it.

Screenshot of Microsoft To Do to help explain what is Microsoft To Do and know the different features along with where it fits into the broader Microsoft Productivity App ecosystem

The power of Microsoft To Do is in its simplicity. The interface is clean and approachable. Users can have multiple lists at one time that are consolidate into what they need to do today.

To-Do can be used stand alone or as a complimentary product to Microsoft Planner.

Let’s look at the Features of Microsoft To-Do and how it fits into the Microsoft Productivity and Planning App ecosystem.

What is Microsoft To Do?

Microsoft To-Do is a task management app designed to help you stay organized and get more out of your day. Built by the team behind Wunderlist, which Microsoft acquired in 2015,

To-Do combines a simple interface with powerful features. It’s available as a cloud website that you can view on desktop, or you can download an app to keep your to do list with you on your phone. Tasks can quickly be added to a list, re-organized, assigned a due date and prioritized into your most important projects.

It’s Microsoft’s solution for keeping track of everything you have to do throughout your day or week.

Key Features of Microsoft To Do

The core component of Microsoft planner is adding a completing tasks. Tasks are added with the Add a Task button which places it into your queue of items to complete. You can click on each task to setup additional detail such as Category, Attach Files, Add Due Dates, Reminders or set it to Repeat on a regular interval.

Screenshot of adding detail to each task in Microsoft To Do. Features such as reminder, repeat, categories, notes and file attachments

When working throughout your day and completing tasks, you can click on the circle to the left of a project to mark its completion. The list automatically updates and shows you the next item to do on your list keeping you on track throughout your day.

Support for Multiple To Do Lists

The reality of work these days, especially if you work remotely or from home is the blending of personal life and work life. The two are becoming intertwined and people are working less traditional hours.

You can add as many lists as you would like, but as an example we’ll imagine a to do list for work, and a separate one for your home life to keep things separate while allowing you to easily comingle them into your day.

Consolidating and Prioritizing Tasks into My Day

Once tasks are added to lists, they can be added to a section called My Day to keep the most important and most immediate tasks available at a glance. Tasks can be tagged as important if you want to keep an even shorter list when everything you have to do in a single day goes beyond the number of hours in a day.

Example of multiple to do lists consolidated into a single my day of tasks to highlight the most important ones and prioritize the most immediate need on desktop or mobile

As you can see, between sorting tasks by due date, categorizing them by color and setting reminders you can get through your day more easily.

Reminders, Due Dates, and Cross-Platform Accessibility

A task management tool is only as effective as its ability to ensure you never miss a task. Microsoft To-Do’s robust reminders and due date functionalities can be customized to your needs. These features sync across all your devices across multiple platforms, Windows, Mac, Android and iOS smartphones. This cross-platform accessibility guarantees that you’re always in touch with your to-dos, no matter where you are.

Deep Integration with Microsoft 365 and Teams

One of the most important features of using Microsoft To Do is the ability to integrate it with other products within the Microsoft Ecosystem. Microsoft To Do can connect to Outlook, Microsoft Planner, and Microsoft Teams to keep you on track throughout your day and manage meetings.

Screenshot of the Microsoft Tasks and Planner app available for integration with Microsoft Teams

Most people are familiar with Microsoft Teams as a video conferencing tool when it replaced Skype several years ago. Since then, Microsoft has added a number of features to Teams making it a work hub that brings together a number of different communication methods, reporting, and daily task planning.

The synchronization with other Microsoft 365 apps allows you to manage emails, tasks, and even notes from platforms like OneNote, all in one place. While there is some setup available to get Teams exactly the way you want it, there is some value in having a central hub to your digital life in one place.

Seamless Collaboration with Microsoft Planner

Business and Enterprise users that utilize Microsoft Team for simple project management and team collaboration will find that Microsoft To Do is a great addition to their productivity toolkit. The two systems sync data together allowing business teams to build out longer term projects, and assign sub-tasks to individual team members.

With Microsoft To Do, the tasks that are assigned to you in planner are automatically sync’d into your daily list of things to accomplish.

How does Microsoft To Do fit into the Microsoft Ecosystem?

Microsoft offers 3 different task management solutions targeted at different user groups, and different stages of project planning. To-Do is the simplest task manager and focuses on creating quick simple to-do lists suited for a daily or weekly view. Microsoft Planner is targeted at business enterprise teams for multi-step projects, while Microsoft Project offers advanced features for Professional Project Managers working on large scale long term projects.

Microsoft To-Do – Personal Task Management

Microsoft To-Do is aimed at individuals and small teams, offering a straightforward platform for daily tasks and personal to-dos. It’s particularly useful for simple task management needs and integrates well with other Microsoft productivity tools.

Microsoft Planner – Team Project Management

Microsoft Planner is designed for small to medium sized teams that require more complex project management functionalities. From creating plans and assigning tasks to tracking project progress, Planner provides a comprehensive toolset that also links with Microsoft To-Do for seamless task management.

Microsoft Project – Advanced Project Planning

Microsoft Project is the go-to solution for intricate project planning needs. Equipped with advanced features like Gantt charts and complex scheduling, it’s ideal for project managers needing a detailed level of control over large projects. Tasks from Project can also be funneled into Microsoft To-Do, ensuring individual task management remains streamlined.

Who Is Microsoft To-Do Best For?

Microsoft To-Do has broad appeal for business users and non-business users. It’s well suited for individuals looking for a low-cost or free task manager that won’t overwhelm them with a complex interface. There’s some added comfort in knowing that the app is backed by Microsoft, one of the leaders in business software and cloud security.

Business Users and people working on a team utilizing the Microsoft 365 platform will appreciate the ability to Sync tasks between Outlook, Teams, Planner and To Do.

While To Do is a great product on its own, it becomes even more useful when combined with other pieces of Microsoft’s productivity and task management suite.

Pricing and How to Download

Microsoft To-Do is free to download and use with a Microsoft account, which many users will already have. Apple iPhone and Google Android users can download the mobile app for free. The system is accessible through mobile, or a web browser at to-do.office.com

To Do Alternative for Those Outside the Microsoft Ecosystem

One drawback of Microsoft To Do is that many of the benefits of using it only come to life when integrated across other applications in the Microsoft Productivity Ecosystem. While Microsoft Planner is an incredibly useful tool it often goes unutilized and probably isn’t worth the price of an Office 365 business or enterprise license on its own.

For people who don’t already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, we recommend checking out Notion. It’s gained a lot of popularity over the recent years due to its simple interface and ability to integrate AI features to help prioritize tasks and re-organize notes. New users can sign up for a free account to try it out. After the trial period the monthly costs is very reasonable for the amount of value provided.

Some of the standout features of Notion include

  • Daily task tracking
  • Collaborative and customizable workspaces
  • Searchable Data and Notes
  • Automated Note Summaries and Task Prioritization with AI

The AI features are clearly a big differentiator and the ability to quickly convert from notes into an organized plan and tasks is a real game changer. It enables users to spend less time thinking about a plan and gives them time back to complete tasks.

If you’re looking for a task tracking and planning tool that’s not overwhelming and embraces AI technology, check out Notion as a Microsoft To Do alternative.


Whether you’re an individual trying to sort out daily tasks or a business user looking to streamline project management, Microsoft To-Do offers a versatile, integrated solution. Its robust features and integration with Microsoft 365 make it a valuable addition to your productivity toolkit.

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