How to Use Microsoft To Do on Windows 11

Microsoft To do

Set up and use the Microsoft To Do app to efficiently manage your tasks.

Microsoft To-Do, formerly known as ‘Wunderlist’ is a free task management application that comes built into Windows 11. Microsoft To-Do can be accessed through the Windows application, iOS and Andriod mobile apps, and web browser.

To-Do helps you organize, schedule, manage, and coordinate tasks for your work, school, and home. It allows you to make to-do lists, set reminders, take notes, make grocery lists, plan events, record collections, and more. Don’t confuse Microsoft To-Do with Microsoft’s another task management tool called Microsoft Planner which is a project management tool part of Microsoft 365.

In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to set up and use Microsoft To-Do in Windows 11.

Set up Microsoft To-Do on Windows 11

You can start working on Microsoft To-Do on any platform such as Windows desktop app, iPhone or iPad, Android device, as well as on the to-do.live.com/tasks website. In Windows 11, Microsoft To-Do comes pre-installed on your computer. All you have to do is open the To-Do app and sign in with your Microsoft Account.

To do that, click the Start menu and select ‘To Do’ from the Pinned apps. If you don’t find it there, you can search for the app and open it from the search result.

If you are using another platform, first, download the app, install it, and sign in with your Microsoft account. The To-Do app must be signed in with the same Microsoft account across all devices to synchronize the tasks and schedules.

If you are opening the app for the first time, click the ‘Sign in’ button and enter your Microsoft account login credentials.

The app will ask you if you want to pin the app to the taskbar for easy access, click ‘Yes’ if you want to pin the Microsoft To-Do app to the taskbar.

When the To-Do app opens, you will a list of categories such as My Day, Planned, Important, Assigned to you, and Tasks on the left-hand side where you can add and manage tasks.

Smart lists in Microsoft’s To-Do

Microsoft To-Do allows you to organize information and tasks in different ways using the Smart lists on the left sidebar.

  • My Day – My Day is where you add the tasks that are due today. The tasks that are added here will automatically disappear after midnight. You can directly add a task in the My Day list or move an already created task from another list to My Day by right-clicking on it and selecting the ‘Add to My Day’ option.
  • Important – The task that you mark as important (starred tasks) will be listed here. You can also create directly here.
  • Planned – Any tasks that have a due date (whether it is today, tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.) will appear here.
  • Assigned – All your assigned tasks from Planner and To-Do will show up in this tab.
  • Tasks – This tab contains all your created tasks that are not part of any list (e.g. My Day or Important).
  • Groceries – This section helps you create and manage a list of groceries.

How to Create a Task in Microsoft’s To-Do

If you have some random tasks on your mind and a project, you can add them to your list. These tasks don’t need to be done today, you can add task that needs to be carried out daily, next week, next month, and so on. If you have tasks you can note them down in the To-Do app before you forget.

You can go to any category on the left panel and add tasks there or you can just go to the ‘Tasks’ tab, create tasks and move them to desired category, list, or group.

In the Task tab, simply click on the ‘Add a task’ field below and start typing your task. After typing the task press Enter. For instance, I want to remind myself to take out trash tomorrow. So I typed – ‘Take out the trash tomorrow’. You can add as many tasks as you want here.

But before pressing Enter, you can also specify due dates, set reminders, or set repeat using the icons in the text field. Or you can add all the tasks you want before you forget them and add details later.

If you click the Remind me icon, you will see three preset options. You can use one of those or set your own time and date for a reminder by selecting the ‘Pick a date and time’ option.

After adding the task, you can add more details to the task about how it should be performed or when it should be performed.

For instance, let’s set a reminder for the ‘Remember to take vitamins’ task we added earlier. Click on the respective task in the list to modify it. Here, you can break down a task into sub-tasks or steps, set up a reminder, due date, a repeat cycle, attach a file, or note for the task.

Adding Steps or Sub-tasks for Task

To add a step, click on the ‘Add step’ option and enter your step. Then press Enter to add another step and so on. You can keep adding as many steps as you want.

After that fill in the other details. You can move the task to the ‘My day’ category in case you want the task done today. You can add the task to My Day by clicking on the ‘Add to My Day’ option.

Setting a Reminder for Task

Next, click the ‘Remind me’ option to remind you about the task when it’s time. When you click the ‘Remind me’ button, you will get three preset times and dates – Today, Tomorrow, Next week. If you want to set a different date and time, click the ‘Pick a date & time’ option.

Then, choose a time and date from the calendar and click ‘Save’.

Adding a Due Date for Task

Next, you can also add a due date for the task that you want to be done before a particular date. To add a due date for the task, click the ‘Add due date’ option and choose one of the preset dates – Today, Tomorrow, One week from now, or your own date. Click the ‘Pick a date’ option to select the date from the calendar.

Adding a due date to the task will automatically add that task to the ‘Planned list’.

Setting up a Repeat Schedule for Task

You can also set up a repeat schedule for tasks that you want to repeat daily, weekly, yearly, etc. Simply click on ‘Repeat’ and select an option:

  • Daily
  • Weekdays
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • Custom

Select the ‘Custom’ option if you want to set up a differnt recurrence.

In the Repeat every… prompt box, choose days, weeks, months, years from the drop-down. Then, enter the number of days, weeks, months, or years in the text box and select ‘Save’.

If you select ‘Weeks’ in the drop-down, you need to choose what day you want the task to repeat every week.

Add Attachments to Tasks

You can also add an attachment file to help with the task. For instance, if you are adding a task to take medication every day, you can add a prescription document to know which medication to take that day. Click the ‘Add file’ button to add an attachment.

Then, select the file from your computer and click ‘Open’.

You can add notes to the task in the ‘Add note’ box at the bottom. If you don’t want the task anymore, you can delete it by clicking the trash icon (Delete Task) at the bottom right corner.

Once you are done simply close the task by clicking away.

Create Tasks with Cortana

Microsoft To-Do is integrated with Cortana in Windows 11 which makes it possible for you to easily create tasks or set reminders through your digital assistant, Cortana using just your voice. For this, both Cortana and Microsoft To-Do have to be signed in with the same Microsoft account and Microphone access should be enabled for the Cortana app.

By default, the Cortana app is blocked from accessing your Computer’s microphone. To allow Cortana to use Microphone, follow these steps:

Open Windows Settings, click ‘Privacy and security’ on the left, and then scroll down and select ‘Microphone’ under App permissions.

On the Microphone settings page, make sure to enable ‘Microphone access’ and ‘Let apps access your microphone’ options. After that, turn on the ‘Cortana’ toggle from the list.

You can now create your to-do lists with a simple voice command without opening any app.

You can launch the Cortana conversation box by just saying “Hey Cortana.” and a small Cortana box will appear just above your taskbar. It will only appear for a few seconds and wait for your voice command and disappear if you don’t give any. So give your voice command as soon as you see the box.

Once you see the box, say something like “Add make Presentation for tomorrow meeting” or “Add Archery session for Monday at 5 P.M” or “Hey Cortana. Remind me to punch Dylan in the face tomorrow”.

Cortana is a smart tool, it will automatically recognize these commands as tasks and add them to your To-Do list.

Alternatively, you can launch Cortana from the Windows search and give your voice command to add a task. Or you can also type your command in the Cortana app to add tasks.

Create a List on To-Do

In addition to the default list on the app, you can also create different lists as many as you want. Creating a list can help you manage tasks easily. The same kind of tasks can be grouped into a list to organize information and tasks.

To add a new list, click the ‘New list’ button or press Ctrl+L at the bottom left corner.

The list will be created on the left sidebar with the name ‘Untitled list’. You can now rename the list with a suitable name and press Enter.

After creating the list, you can start adding tasks to the list.

Create Groups on To-Do app

If you are trying to organize multiple lists or projects, you can set up groups in the To-Do app. You can create new lists directly inside the group as well as move the existing lists to the group.

To create a new group, click the ‘Create a new group’ button at the left corner of the left-sidebar (next to the New list button).

Then rename the untitled group with a suitable name and press Enter.

You can create a list within the group by right-clicking the group and selecting ‘New list’ from the pop-up menu or dragging and dropping an existing list into the group.

Managing Tasks, Lists, and Groups

Managing Tasks, Lists, and Groups is just as easy as creating them. You can sort your tasks, mark them as important or completed, set up due dates, move tasks, and more.

Managing Tasks

You can sort your tasks by the due date, add to My day, alphabetically, importance, and creation date. Open a list (Tasks, Important, or custom list) and click the three dots button on the top left corner and consequently select the ‘Sort by’ sub-menu and choose a sorting order.

Existing Tasks can be added to My Day by right-clicking the task you want to add and selecting ‘Add to My Day’ or pressing Ctrl+T.

To mark a task as important, simply click the star icon next to the task or right-click on the task and choose the ‘Mark as important’ option. Started items will move up to the top of the list. To remove importance, simply click the star icon again.

If a task is completed, you can mark them as completed by ticking the circle before the task title or right-click on the task and selecting ‘Mark as completed’. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+D. And the task will disappear from the tasks list.

When you mark a task as completed, it will be struck out as shown below and listed under the ‘Completed’ section.

In case you mistakenly, marked a task as completed, you can toggle the task as incomplete and get them back. However, the ‘Completed’ smart list is disabled from the left sidebar.

To unhide the Completed smart list, click the account profile picture or the account name from the top of the app, and select ‘Settings’.

In the Settings page, scroll down to the Smart list section and enable the ‘Completed’ toggle.

Now, the ‘Completed’ list will be visible on the left-side panel.

To remove a task from the Completed list, simply uncheck that task or right-click the task and select ‘Mark as not completed’. And the task will be moved back to the previous list.

To move a task to a custom list or other list, right-click on the task, hover over ‘Move task to..’ sub-menu, and then choose a list from the submenu.

Due dates can also be assigned anytime after creating the task. This can be done by opening the task and adding the due date or right-clicking the task and choosing one of the three options to set up due dates – ‘Due today’, ‘Due Tomorrow’, ‘Pick a date’.

Managing Lists

If you have many lists on your To-Do app, organizing them can help you be more productive. You can rename, share, email, print, pin to Start, and duplicate lists as well as move list to groups. However, you can not share, rename, or move the default smart list.

To rename a custom list, right-click on one of the created lists and select ‘Rename’ or press F2.

You can include an emoji before or after naming the list.

To add an Icon or an emoji to a List name, right-click on the list and select ‘Rename’. Then, simply click on the list icon before the list name and choose an emoji from the overflow menu. If you don’t like the icon, click the ‘Clear’ button.

To move a list, right-click on one of the created lists and select the ‘Move list to…’ sub-menu, and choose a group to move the list.

To print a list, right-click the list and select the ‘Print list’ option. Then, choose a printer and configure the printing options to print the list in a physical copy.

To email your list to others, select the ‘Email list’ option from the overflow menu.

Then, select an account to send the email from.

The list will be added to the new mail in the Mail app. After that, enter the recipient’s email address and send the mail.

You can also pin the list of tasks to the Start for easy access. To do that, right-click the list and select the ‘Pin to Start’ option.

Then, click ‘Yes’ to the prompt box.

You can remove the unwanted lists by selecting ‘Delete list’ from the right-click menu.

Unlike lists, there won’t be many options for you to manage groups. Right-click on the group name and select Rename or press F2 to rename the group.

To create a list under a group, right-click the group name and select ‘New list’, and then rename the group.

Alternatively, you can drag and drop the list to the group to add a list to the group. If you want to ungroup all lists from the group, select the ‘Ungroup’ option.

Sharing Tasks on To-Do App

Microsoft To-Do is also designed for teamwork which makes it easy to share your lists with other people and it can only be shared within an organization or between personal Microsoft accounts. If you share your list with another person, you will be giving them access to view and edit the to-do lists you have created. To access the shared list, they will need to log in to the To-Do app or service with their Microsoft account. Follow these steps to share the task list in To-Do:

Open the list you want to share, click the person icon with a + in the top right-hand corner of the list or right-click the list and select the ‘Share list’ option.

Next, click the ‘Create invitation link’ button in the Share list window. 

In the next screen, click the ‘Invite via email’ button to send an invite to someone to join and edit the list (through email). You can also click the ‘share’ button to share the list via email or other system apps (like Microsoft Teams).

Here, you can select a contact to email the list or select an app to share the list through it.

When people receive the link, they will have to open the link and log in to the To-Do app with their Microsoft account credentials. Then, they will have to accept the list to join the list of members. That being said, anyone can become a member of the list as long as they have a valid share link.

Once the invited people accept and join the list, they will be listed here in the Share lists dialog box. You can click the ‘Copy link’ button to copy the generated link which be can be pasted into other apps (Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, Whatsapp, etc.) or email.

You can also assign tasks to the members that are a part of the list.

Under Manages access, you can limit access to the current list members or stop sharing the list entirely. To manage access to the list, click the ‘Manage access’ button in the Share list pop-up box.

Under More options, turn on the toggle to limit access to the current list members and prevent new users from joining. If you turn on the ‘Limit access’ toggle, a new sharing link is created and sent to the current members.

Then, click the ‘Limit access’ button in another pop-up.

To stop sharing the list entirely, click the ‘Stop sharing’ button.

This will revoke access to all users (current members or otherwise) and change the list back to the normal one. Then, click the ‘Stop sharing’ button again in another pop-up box.

Microsoft To Do Keyboard Shortcuts

Action Keyboard Shortcuts
Add a task Ctrl+N
Create a new list Ctrl+L
Add a task to My Day Ctrl+T
Complete a task Ctrl+D
Search Ctrl+F
Sync Ctrl+R
Print Ctrl+P
Open/Close sidebar when in minimized mode Ctrl+1
Paste files in the task details view Ctrl+V

Switch Accounts in To-Do

You can add multiple accounts to the To-Do app and switch between them with ease. For instance, if you want to manage your to-do list on your work and personal Microsoft accounts separately, follow these steps to add another account:

First, click on your profile picture or the user name in the top left-hand corner, select ‘Manage Accounts’.

Next, select ‘Add account’ in the pop-up window.

Then, select account type – ‘Work or school account’ or ‘Microsoft account (Personal account)’ and click ‘Continue’.

In the next screen enter your Microsoft account login credentials to add a new account to the app. After adding the account, you can click on your profile picture, and select the ‘Manage Accounts’. On the Manage Account dialog box, click on the account to switch.

Change Theme for Microsoft’s To-Do

In Microsoft’s To-Do app, you can change the theme for the entire app and the theme for individual smart list screens.

Change Theme for the To-Do app

In Windows 11, Microsoft’s To-Do app gives you a choice of three styles of interface:

  • Light Theme
  • Dark Theme
  • Use my Windows Theme

To switch theme mode in the app, click the profile picture in the app and select ‘Settings’.

On the Settings page, select one of the themes under the ‘Theme’ section. By default, the app uses whatever theme that Windows currently using.

Change Theme for Lists

Each Smart list in the Microsoft To-Do app has a different theme. The To-Do also allows you to change different themes for each smart and custom list in the app.

Go to a smart list or custom list you created for which you want to change the theme and click the three dots (ellipsis) on the top right corner.

Follow the same instructions to change the theme for any of the to-do lists.

See Suggestions to Manage your Day

The My Day smart list helps you carry out the day-to-day tasks which also includes a Suggestions list. The Suggestion list identifies the important tasks and suggests them for the day. It also helps you focus on the tasks that due dates are expired, recently added, and due for today.

On the To-Do app, go to the ‘My Day list’ and click the ‘Suggestion’ (bulb icon) button in the upper right-hand corner.

The app will show you suggestions based on your tasks and your working pattern.

Enable or Disable Smart Lists

By default, the Microsoft To-Do app shows My Day, Important, Planned, Assigned to me, and Tasks smart lists on the lefthand sidebar. You can also enable Completed, All, Flagged email lists as well as enable/disable other smart lists on the app.

To enable/disable the smart list, click on your profile picture or the user name in the top left-hand corner, select ‘Settings’.

In the Settings screen, scroll down to the Smart lists section and turn On or Off toggle to show/hide the respective smart list on the left panel. Under Connected apps, you have two options ‘Planner’ and ‘Flagged email’. Planner shows the tasks assigned to you through the Microsoft Planner and Flagged email lists the task that you flagged in the email.

For instance, if you don’t want to see the ‘Assigned to me’ list on the app, you can turn off the toggle.

The ‘All’ smart list shows all the tasks in the app in one place which is split into Tasks, Getting Started, Groceries, and custom lists.

If you want to automatically hide an empty smart list in the app, turn On the toggle for ‘Auto-hide empty smart lists’.

Flagged Emails in To-Do

Microsoft To-Do integrates with the messages or emails you have flagged on the Outlook (app or the web) and Microsoft Teams. So any message or email you flag on the Outlook or Teams will show up in the Flagged email category (smart list) in Microsoft To-Do. You can create tasks from email using these steps:

For this to work, you need to sign into To-Do and Outlook with the same Microsoft account. Then, open the Outlook app or your Outlook account on the web.

To flag an item as a to-do item, open an email you want to appear in the To-Do list and click the ‘Follow up’ drop-down button in the ribbon. From the drop-down menu, select an option to set a due date for this item:

  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • This Week
  • Next Week
  • No Date
  • Custom

In case you want to flag this email as a task without a due date, select ‘No Date’. And if you want to set a custom due date, select the ‘Custom’ option, and then select the start and end date for the due date.

If you want to set a reminder to follow up on this item later, select the ‘Add Reminder..’ option from the Follow up menu.

Also, if you want to mark this item as a completed task, select ‘Mark Complete’.

In the Custom dialog box, give a title to the Flag, set start date and due date, set reminder date and time, and then click ‘OK’

To play a sound when a reminder comes, click the Speaker icon in the Custom box.

When the Reminder Sound dialog box appears, make sure the ‘Play this sound’ option is selected. If you want to set your custom sound for the reminder, click the ‘Browse’ button and choose a sound from the local computer and click ‘OK’.

Alternatively, you can hover over an email in the Inbox of the Outlook app. As you do, you will see a flag icon on the mail. Simply, click the ‘Flag’ icon to flag it as a to-do item as shown below.

As you can see flagged items will appear in the Flagged email section of the app.

You can also flag an item from the Mail app as well as Outlook on the web.

Create Tasks from Email in To-Do

Another way you can add tasks from Outlook to To-Do is by dragging and dropping the email to the Tasks in the Outlook desktop app. Here’s how you do this:

First, makes sure to sign into To-Do and Outlook with the same Microsoft account. Then open the Outlook desktop app and select the mail you want to add as a task in the To-Do app.

Then, click and drag the selected mail to the ‘Tasks’ icon in the bottom left corner.

This will open up the task edit window in the Outlook app, where you can edit tasks and add various attributes to the task such as start and due date, reminder, priority, and more.

Here, you can set the start and end date of the task, status of the task (Not Started, In Progress, Completed, Waiting for someone else, Deferred), priority (Low, Normal, High), percentage of the completion, and reminder using the given option. You can also edit the content of the mail. Then, select the ‘Save & Close’ button from the ribbon.

If you want to assign this task to one of your co-workers, click the ‘Assign Task’ button in the Ribbon.

Then, enter the email address of the person you want to assign the task to in the ‘To’ field and click the ‘Send’ button next to it.

After saving the task go back to the To-Do and check out the Tasks smart list and you will see the task you added in the Outlook will appear here.

You can then right-click that task or open it and add it to My Day, mark it as Important, mark it as completed, or add a due date to it if you haven’t already.

When you open that task, you will notice that the content of the email is added to the Note section of the task, which you can edit here. You can also add subtasks or steps on the task page.

Add Hashtags to Your Tasks in To-Do

Adding hashtags to your task makes it easy to find specific tasks in the To-Do app. Here’s how you do this:

Open a task from any list, then, type in the ‘hashtag’ followed by the keyword in the note section and click away from the task. For instance, we want to use the hashtag ‘#work’ in the below example. The hashtag you added will become a clickable link that you can click to view all the tasks with that hashtag.

Now you can simply search for the hashtag in the search field and you will find all the tasks with that hashtag.

Plan Your Week Ahead with the Planned list

The planned list shows all the task that has a due date. As you can see below, the Planned smart list is divided into different sections such as Earlier, Today, Later, and other scheduled dates.

The Earlier section shows the tasks with expired due dates that you should have already completed but hasn’t yet. And the Later section shows the upcoming tasks for the next 4–5 days.

Configure Advanced Settings in To-Do

Microsoft’s To-Do allows you to configure various settings such as general, theme, notifications, smart lists, and more.

To open Microsoft’s To-Do settings, click the profile picture or profile name and select ‘Settings’.

Under the General section of the Settings page, you can change the following settings:

  • Add new tasks to top – Turn On this option if you want to the newly added tasks to appear at the top of the list.
  • Move starred tasks to top – This option moves the starred (Important) tasks to the top of the custom list.
  • Play completion sound – Keep this toggle On if you want a completion sound to play when you mark a task as completed.
  • Confirm before deleting – If you want the app to show you a confirmation before deleting a task, make sure this option is enabled.
  • Auto-start To Do with Windows startup – To automatically start the To-Do app with every Windows startup, turn On this toggle.

From the ‘App Badge’ drop-down, you enable turn app badges for today and overdue tasks or tasks added to My Day list and uncompleted tasks, or completely turn off the App badge for the app.

You can pin the To-Do app to the taskbar for easy access by clicking the ‘Pin to taskbar’ button.

If you want the To-Do app to show you notifications for the task reminders, turn On the ‘Reminders’ toggle.

If you wish to get notifications for changes in your shared lists, make sure the ‘Shared list activity’ option is turned on.

To switch between the light and dark mode of the app, use options under the ‘Theme’ section. You can show or hide smart lists on the app using toggles under the Smart list section of the settings.

That’s it.