Creating a Task

Tasks can help you organize your busy lifebusiness and personal especially in our upcoming example, in which your family is soon to be enlarged.

The following few pages follow a working parent-to-be. Over the next few months a lot must be done to prepare for the new arrival. For you to get everything done without waiting until the last minute, a task list will really be handy.

To create a task list, you can activate the New Task window (also called the Task tool) in several ways. When in the Tasks view

  • Click the New Task button on the far-left end of the Standard toolbar.

  • Use the shortcut keys Ctrl+N.

  • Choose Actions, New Task.

  • Double-click the Click Here to Add a New Task in the Task Entry Row button.

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+K from anywhere within Outlook (this is my favorite method).

  • Double-click an empty line in the Task list, or right-click and choose New Task.

After you employ any one of these methods , the New Task screen is displayed, as shown in Figure 19.2.

Figure 19.2. The New Task screen is used to enter more detailed data than can be entered from the simple view.


The Subject line should be simple and to the point. Extra information can be added in the Note box at the bottom of the Task tool as needed.

The next information group is the Due Date field. The default is None. By clicking the drop-down arrow, you see the Date Navigator box. The current date is highlighted. Select the date by which you want to complete the task, or leave it at None. For the current date, either click the Today button or click the current day's date on the Date Navigator. To choose another date, click the appropriate date in the Date Navigator. Also, you can just type the correct date directly over None.

The Start Date field works in much the same way as the Due Date field. It is used to establish the date on which the task will begin. This date can be immediately or some time in the near future. If the task is already in progress, the start date might be in the past.

The next field is the Status field. How is the project going? Has it begun? This is what Outlook means by Status. In the Status field, there are five choices: Not Started, In Progress, Completed, Waiting on Someone Else, and Deferred. After the task is underway, depending on how you use Tasks, you might need to open the task and change the status from time to time.

Another drop-down list box lists three Priority choices: High, Normal, and Low.

The next field, % Complete, is another way to think about statuslike most of the Task fields, it too is optional. In certain situations pinning down a percentage value is tricky.

When the task is more segmented or can be easily measured, however, it's helpful to use this field. For instance, when writing a specific number of chapters in a book, an author could change the percentage of chapters completed and submitted to the editor by either directly entering the percentage or using the spin buttons to the right of the field to increase or decrease the percentage. You might also think in terms of budget. When you're executing a project, you might think of % Complete as % Spent.

In the following steps, you practice entering several tasks that are of concern to the expectant parents.

  1. By using any method, open an Untitled Task window.

  2. Type Purchase baby crib in the subject line.

  3. Insert the date three months from now as the due date. You can just type 3 months and press Tab.

  4. Enter today as the start date.

  5. Choose the In Progress option for the Status field.

  6. Leave Normal as the priority for now. (Normal is the default priority.)

  7. Click Save and Close.

  8. You might need to drag the column headings so that the widths are similar to those shown in Figure 19.3. Position the mouse pointer between adjacent column headings such that a two-headed sizing arrow appears, and drag to the left or right to change the relative widths of the adjacent columns .

    Figure 19.3. A single task has been entered and the column widths have been adjusted.


  9. Over the course of the next few months, a lot of other tasks will need to get done before the baby arrives home. Take the next few minutes and enter the tasks noted in Table 19.1.


You can enter and edit tasks from the TaskPad rather than opening an Untitled Task window for each entry. Clicking the entries for Due Date and Status brings up drop-down arrow lists to facilitate selection of possible choices.

Table 19.1. Data For Task Entry




Due Date

% Complete


Arrange for diaper service

Not Started

3 mo.


Decorate baby room

In Progress

3 mo.



Time offwork, HR paperwork

In Progress

1 mo.



Choose a pediatrician

Waiting on Someone Else

1 mo.



Select a baby name

In Progress

3 mo.


Your tasks should look similar to the ones shown in Figure 19.4.

Figure 19.4. The tasks in Table 19.1 have all been entered.


Creating a Task Automatically

You may get a lot of email that contains urgent matters that require efficient processing to keep your world from collapsing. You knowthings such as, "Could you get me a copy of that song?" or "Can you finish three more chapters by Friday?" Messages such as these can be converted to a task quite easily.

  1. Click Inbox and select the appropriate message. Using the left mouse button, drag-and-drop the message onto the Task icon (or into the Task folder).

  2. When the New Task tool appears, fill in the appropriate information (priority, due date, and so on).

  3. Click Save and Close.

Finishing a Task

There's no greater satisfaction than a job well done, but how do you tell Tasks you're done? There are four ways:

  • When the Complete column is in view, as in the Simple List view, click the check box next to the finished task to mark that task as completed (clicking the check box toggles the check on and off).

  • In Detailed List view, click the Status field and choose Completed, or enter 100% into the % Complete field.

  • In the Task tool, choose Completed in the Status field or enter 100% in the % Complete field.

  • In the Task tool, click the Mark Complete button on the toolbar.

After you have marked a task complete, it does not disappear from the Simple List view. Rather, it changes to a lighter, strikethrough text. This helps you keep track of the recent things you've accomplished.

In the Active Tasks view, however, tasks disappear when they are marked complete. Although the tasks are still in the folder, to see them you must switch to the Simple List view. Later you will learn to completely delete a task.

Editing a Task

Editing a task is not difficult. If the item you want to edit is visible in the Information Viewer, you can edit it directly without opening the Task tool. In the next exercise, you'll learn to add a reminder date.

When you want to do more detailed editing, double-click on any task in the Information Viewer. This opens that task's Task tool. Editing any of the fields on the Task tab is the same as creating the task.

Deleting a Task

As I've mentioned, when tasks are completed, they do not just vanish into the air. They stick around, reminding you of all the good work you've accomplished.

You can keep tasks around until they are auto-archived, but you might want to clean house and sweep out these old tasks sooner than that. You might even need to delete a current task if someone else has taken it over and you are no longer responsible for its completion. In any case, to delete a task, highlight the task in question and then click the Delete button on the Standard toolbar in Tasks or on the Task tool toolbar if the Task Detail screen is open.

Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One (Sams Teach Yourself All in One)
ISBN: 0672325349
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 474
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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