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10 Microsoft To Do Tips and Tricks to Manage Tasks Better

by Pratik

With the declaration that Wunderlist will shut down by the end of this year, Microsoft To Do becomes the supreme to-do app in the market. I have been using Microsoft To Do for about a year now. Initially, from being an app that could only sync tasks between Windows 10 and Android, it has come a long way now. The app in itself is a whole reminder-cum-to-do-cum-collaborative platform. Moreover, it has integrated a lot of Wunderlist features as well. So, here are some Microsoft To Do tips and tricks to use the app better.

Microsoft To Do Tips and Tricks to Manage Tasks Better

1. Planning Reminders

I have the habit of planning my day in advance. I usually write down my pending work and tasks in hand a day before. This ensures that I start my day early according to the work. Microsoft To Do has an option to remind yourself about entering daily tasks. It’s turned off by default and can be modified under the “Plan your day reminders” section under the Settings. I have set daily reminders at 09:30 pm so I can jot down the tasks for tomorrow.


2. Drag-and-Drop Tasks

In the recent update of Microsoft To Do, you have the drag-and-drop gesture. However, this gesture is only available when the app is open in split mode. Let me explain. Normally, you would copy a piece of text and then open the To Do app and paste it under a New Task. But now, you can open Microsoft To Do and the other app in split mode. For instance, if you have a Chrome browser or Gmail opened on one half of the screen and To Do opened in another half. You can quickly select and drag-and-drop the text onto the To Do app to create a new Task.

Drag-and-drop gesture works with every app that allows selection of text.


3. Quick add Tasks

Microsoft To Do works with the Google Assistant. However, it’s not seamless and the assistant adds the note to its native n4ote manager. Hence, I figured out a workaround. You can enable “Quick add notification” in the To Do app settings. This leaves a Silent Notification on the notification drawer and you can tap on it to quickly add a task. Moreover, if you have a big screen and you don’t like reaching the notification drawer every single time, you can also create a quick shortcut on your home screen which functions in a similar way.


4. Swipe Gestures

The swipe gestures have existed for a while in the app but I haven’t heard enough people talk about it. You can swipe left on a Task to delete it and swipe the other way to add it to your day. These swipe gestures work in an identical way for the desktop app as well. Unfortunately, these swipe gestures are not customizable.


5. Collaborative Features

Microsoft To Do lets you collaborate with other people within the app. You can share a list with your colleagues and all of them can work on the tasks together. However, until now, you need to have a Microsoft account for using the To Do app. But, after the new update, it works with a Gmail account as well. I can easily share To Do lists with my colleagues and anyone with a Gmail account can collaborate. Having said that, it still doesn’t support assigning individual tasks to users and it would be a nice addition.


6. Use Hashtags

Hashtags or labels is an old Wunderlist feature and you have it in Microsoft To Do as well. When a whole lot of people collaborate in the app, it gets chaotic to find important tasks. Hence, you can enter hashtags with the task name which makes it easier to find them. If you tap on the hashtag you can quickly see all the tasks with the same hashtag. For instance, I hashtag office related work as “#TechWiser” so I can see all the YouTube tasks at a glance.


7. Slack Integration

There’s no direct way to link your Slack with Microsoft To Do. So, I resorted back to using Zapier. I have created a Zap that converts Slack messages to Microsoft To Do tasks as soon as you have starred them. You will have to connect both your Microsoft To Do and Slack account with Zapier. Zapier ensures that your messages are encrypted while being sent to Microsoft To Do. This Zap is a handy tool, however, there is no option to add sub-tasks or due time.

In the new desktop version of Slack, you can save a DM and not star it. However, the Zap works the same way for saved DMs as well.

In case you “star” a conversation or channel, the chat link will appear in the To Do notes with your workspace name as the Task name.

Get Slack-Microsoft To Do Zap


8. Add Emails from Gmail

Now, there’s no official way to do this. However, you could use an open-source extension called “Add to Microsoft To Do”.  All you have to do is open an email in Gmail and click on the “Add to Microsoft To Do” extension. It automatically takes the subject of the email as the name of the Task and Email link as the description. You can additionally choose the List, Due Date, Reminder time, etc. I use it frequently for quickly adding my bills to Microsoft To Do without having to open the app separately.

This also comes in handy when you want to read an article on your way back home. Just add it to Microsoft To Do with the help of the extension and it is automatically synced to the Android device.

Download Add to Microsoft To Do


9. Live Tiles in Windows

Since Microsoft To Do is a Windows product, there are a whole lot of ways to integrate it in Windows 10. One such addition is the live tiles in the Windows 10 start menu. You can pin as many To Do lists you want on your Windows Start menu. The tasks from these lists would appear every time when you hit the Start button. This ensures that the tasks are always in front of your eyes even when the app window is minimized.


Like the start menu live tiles, you can do somewhat similar in Android as well. You can use the Microsoft To Do Android widget. It displays your current tasks on the home screen.


10. Cortana support

Another Windows 10 integration with Microsoft To Do is Cortana. In case you use Cortana, you can either type or ask Cortana to quickly add a task to your To Do list. You can be specific and provide the task name and list name. For instance, you can ask “Add Milk to Grocery List”. In the following command, milk is the task name and Grocery is the list name. You can also ask Cortana about your tasks for the day.


Closing Words

Microsoft To Do has come a long way in terms of being a shoddy Android app. But having said that, I look forward to having some integrations with Google products like Chrome browser, Google Assistant, etc. For more issues or queries regarding the Microsoft To Do app, let me know in the comments below.

Also Read: Slack vs. Teams: Which Communication and Collaboration Tool to Use

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