Microsoft To-Do

#1

I know - strange to have a thread in MAC Power Users that starts with ‘Microsoft’. I work in a Windows corporate environment, with a Dell 14in work laptop, usually docked via a single USB C cable, a 2018 Mac Mini at home, and all the Microsoft Apps running great on my iPad when I’m away from my work laptop but need to get some work done. I was trying Omnifocus and Things, but sending tasks from email to one of those services raised some concerns with the corporate IT due to security policies. I don’t want to have to manually enter tasks, so I started researching options. I tried to overthink it with a Microsoft Flow script, but realized that Microsoft already has a ready made solution for it’s ecosystem - Microsoft To Do. It’s much better than iOS reminders - it automatically pulls flagged emails from Outlook into my todo list, tasks assigned to me in Planner. The flagged email feature is nice because it includes links in iOS or the desktop to go straight from task manager to email in Outlook app. It also has a smart assistant that suggests tasks to add to a section called My Day - a way to do daily review of tasks in the morning to narrow down the list so you can actually accomplish something. I’ve moved my larger recurring tasks to To-Do and bigger projects to Microsoft Planner to manage and ditched OmniFocus. Thought I’d recommend it for anyone else like me who is straddling the Microsoft and Mac/iOS ecosystems.

3 Likes
#2

That’s a new feature made available just a day ago to consumers; it was rolled out to work/school accounts in March. Microsoft Planner integration lets tasks assigned to you in Planner show up in the Assigned to Me list in To-Do, and you can enable it in To-Do today. You can also flag emails in personal inboxes hosted by Microsoft and they’ll turn up in your Flagged Email list in To-Do when logged into that same account, and it can also be enabled in To-Do.

Microsoft is really iterating on this app. If you’re in the Outlook/MS ecosystem it’s becoming a compelling option.

1 Like
#3

I’m using OmniFocus currently, but like many people use Windows at work.

I’m very open to changing to something that is properly cross platform, so will check this out.

Also I recently discovered MS Flow which has a poor UI, but does some wonderful things (e.g. create a OneNote entry just before a meeting starts so I can take notes).

2 Likes
#4

Woah…thanks both of you for this tip. I’ve wanted this for so long.
MS is really back in the game big time these days (I know they never really left it, but still…)

1 Like
#5

This is interesting. It is very annoying having a reminder that doesn’t link back to the email.

David Sparks did post a script (somewhere) to paste a link back to the selected email in OmniFocus. But you have to type in the entry, then run the link in the notes field.

One thing that holds me back from trying Outlook is I use Mailhub with Mail.app. It allows me to auto file sent emails in the appropriate project related mailbox and file incoming emails by clicking a button. Is there something similar for Outlook?

#6

I’ve found Outlook’s rules on the Mac/Windows desktop and their “Quick Steps” shortcuts which allow you to automate using a keyboard shortcut to solve both of these issues for me. Rules sort incoming email automatically, and Quick Steps let me start an email, move an email, or flag/create task with just a quick keyboard shortcut.

#7

At work, we use Office 365. I’ve set up my email rules server-side in Outlook Web. It works great, plus I don’t have to install Outlook on my Mac.

1 Like
#8

Thanks, I’ll look into them.

#9

No Mac app yet - currently being worked on. Might be a deal breaker for many on here, but their web app seems OK at first look.

#10

Thanks for the MS To-Do tip. Regarding Outlook for Mac and OmniFocus, I had been using an AppleScript routine which would take an Outlook message and send it to the OmniFocus inbox, just like the old Mail.app “Clip-O-Tron.” I have been happily using that script in Outlook 2016, with the only caveat being that it needs to be triggered via 3rd party utilities like Alfred or BetterTouchTool as Outlook 2016 is not scriptable any longer (why, Microsoft? Why?). Works like a charm and it even stamps the OmniFocus task with a URL to the Outlook email.

Links are below (first link is the script itself, second link gets you the URL handler that performs the Outlook message URL bit).

http://nxhelp.com/2015/08/19/custom-url-handler-for-outlook-2016-on-mac/

#11

And by running it as a PWA you can have it like a desktop app on the Mac too.

#12

Thank you for this - will have a close look at it! Just want to confirm - this creates a link in OF back to the specific email in Outlook? As opposed to having the email ‘reside inside’ OF?

#13

Great tip! I’ve moved around from OmniFocus, Things and more recently Reminders / Good Task but a large part of my tasks are work related and annoyingly the root of the task if often an email - I’ve just revisited Microsoft To-Do and the integration they now have with Planner and Flagged Emails is very interesting.
We use Planner a lot for larger projects.

I think I have a compelling case to switch to this for work related tasks.

All To-Do needs now on iOS is the ability to assign tasks to people and / or shared lists specifically with other people in the organisation.

#14

Correct! The routine described in the second link I posted will create an outlook:// URL in the Notes section of the OmniFocus task.

Give this a try and let me know if you get stuck. The authors of these scripts haven’t kept things updated but they still work in my setup (Mojave, OF3, Outlook 365 latest version, Alfred or BetterTouchTool for triggering scripts).

#15

Oh for goodness sake. Works fine on Windows, but iOS app doesn’t work for me.

#16

I had this recently after it had previously worked when I tried the app out around a year ago. I raised a ticket to our IT help desk asking them to enable it… which they did. Might be worth a shot.

1 Like