Multiple Questions re: Outlook for Office 365 tasks

Occasional Contributor

I have a bunch of questions regarding Outlook for Office 365 tasks. I would appreciate any help anyone can give me.


First you should know that I want to use tasks primarily to make my emails into tasks and the app I am talking about is the one who's icon is a checkmark on a clipboard and not the one with the big blue check. Unfortunately, I tried to use this app last year and the default folder is filled with tasks. I am not sure how they were added but they all have a flag. Anyway, my questions are as follows.


Thank you.


  1. How can you remove all tasks made from emails in a list ie without losing the emails?
  2. How can you emails that you into tasks get filed to a specific list? Especially if the list does not show up in the outlook folder list.
  3. Why are all tasks flagged? I think removing the flag will remove the task from the list.
  4. How can you remove all flags in a list?
  5. How can you make a field into a dropdown list?
  6. Why don’t columns you add show up as fields in the “add task” window?
  7. Why does every task show up in two lists: the one where you add it and also in the My Tasks/To-Do list? How can you turn this off?
  8. How can I revise the standeard outlook priority list?
  9. Is it possible to hide a folder?
  10. How does one “start over”?


Than you.


11 Replies
best response confirmed by Norton_Townsley (Occasional Contributor)


As an independent advisor for Outlook, I have some recommendations on how to manage tasks in Outlook 365, specifically for Outlook web and New Outlook versions. Here are some tips:

  1. Removing All Email Tasks: To remove tasks, refer to bullet #4. When you drag an email to the ToDo task, it creates a copy of the email. It's recommended to file the original email in an Outlook folder to avoid confusion. If you need to respond to the person after completing the task, you can open the email from the ToDo task.

  2. Assigning a Task to a Custom List: First, create a custom list. Then, click on the MyDay icon from the top menu and select ToDo. In the bottom panel, select "Manage all tasks". In the left pane of the ToDo App, choose "New List". Now you can drag your email to MyDay, right click, and select "Move Task" to your custom list. You may need to refresh your screen for the list to appear.

  3. Why Are All Tasks Flagged?: Only the emails you clicked on with the flag icon are grouped in the Flagged Email task list.

    • Unassigned tasks are saved in the Tasks list.

    • If you assign a date to a task, it is also shown under the Planned list, which can result in duplicate entries. The tasks are filtered for convenience.

    • Tasks saved in "Assigned to Me" are pulled from the Planner Apps.

  4. Removing All Flagged Items:

    • Option 1: From Outlook, filter on Flagged items. Once the flagged items appear, select all and click on the Flag/Unflag icon, then select "Clear flag".

    • Option 2: From the ToDo App, right click on each task separately and choose "Delete Task". Note that this method does not delete the original email.

  5. Field Dropdown List: This feature is not available in the Web and New Outlook versions.

  6. Custom Columns: This feature is not available in the Web and New Outlook versions.

  7. Duplicate Tasks Lists: If you are creating tasks in the desktop version, it's recommended to keep MyTask/To-Do list active as it is the future task management process. Users have the option to begin using New Outlook, which has adopted Outlook for the web version functionality.

  8. Revising Standard Outlook Priority List: If you are referring to MyDay, Important, Planned, All, Completed, Assigned to Me, Flagged email, and Task lists, note that these lists cannot be changed.

  9. Hiding a Folder: If you are referring to the system Task Lists, you cannot hide the system or custom task lists.

  10. How to "Start Over": This is a loaded question. =) Depending on the number of tasks you have, here are some suggestions:

    • Start with your Flagged items and organize them in New Lists or clear them.

    • Remember to file the original email in an Outlook folder once you assign an email to a task. You can also assign it to a Category for cross-referencing until you get used to your new workflow.

    • You can create as many lists as you want, but too many lists may become difficult to manage.

    • If you want to delete a custom list, do so with caution as it will permanently delete the list and all its active and completed tasks. However, if you created a project task list and want to delete the details after 3 to 6 months, it's safe to do so.

    • You can also add tasks to the Calendar by dragging them as a calendar event if you want to focus on completing a task on a particular date for a specific time period. Click on the MyDay icon, drag the email to "Add as an Event".

I hope these suggestions help you get started with managing your tasks in Outlook 365. It's great to see users who are interested in maximizing the features to minimize their work efforts. Kudos to you for completing your due diligence!


If you find this information useful, please mark it as the best answer or like it, which will help others with the same questions. 




Thank you so much. I will definiitely use these suggestions. As I work through them, I will give you feedback.

I have had another thought, however, about dropdown boxes. Perhaps you could work "backwards"? By that I mean create a new task template and add fields that you want. Perhaps then you will be able to define the field as a dropdown? I have never designed templates before but I know I can do it with the proper instructions. I will give this a try one of these days.

I marked yours as the best answer but I, for some reason, the app won't let me.

Thanks again,

Feedback, items 1 and 4.
I made a mistake and did this in Outlook desktop. I had over 700 flagged tasks, so I had to do this in bulk and selected all. There was no option to just clear the flag. The only option was to "clear flag/delete task", which is what I wanted. so I clicked on it. All the flags disappeared, then all the emails. I cannot find them anywhere so I presume they have been permanetly deleted.

On the plus side, this only happened in My Tasks, the folders of tasks I had created the other day were still there. I have good backups, what file do I need to restore to get back to what I had before?



Keep me up to date on the task template and dropdown fields. It is available in the classic desktop version, but I don't think it is available in New Outlook and Web versions. I am afraid you may spend time creating them, and MS does not support this feature. 


For example, I was a heavy user of Quick Parts in the desktop version, and it is not available on Web or New Outlook.  





These steps were completed in the Desktop Version. 


Clearing Bulk Flagged Items: When you clicked on Clear Flag/Delete Task, the flags and emails were removed from the filtered list (followflag:followup flag). Refresh your screen to remove the Filter search request. The emails will reappear in the original location - in my case - the Inbox. Since you cleared 700 items, give the emails time to show. 


clear flag techcommunity.png

Results: Cleared items were reclassified as unflagged items.

clear flag techcommunity 3.png


Deleted items will go to the Delete Folder or the Recovery location. You will get a prompt when an item is permanently deleted. 

clear flag techcommunity 2.png

Overall, you should be fine. In the future, respectively, test one or two items, especially when the deletion is involved. :smile:


New subject: Once you get your tasks organized, try the Calendar Board. It is one of my favorite features. Check out this short video:




I'll keep you posted.

Good news. Thanks. I never got a message that the emails would be permanently deleted and there are not 700+ emails in my deleted folder. I found what I think are the flagged emails (at any rate there are 790 emails in the folder) in another account. (Don't ask. It's a long sad story.) And they date from 2013 to 2018 so I would not be too upset if I lost them.

I have this love/hate relationship with Windows and MS programs. They have the most features but then they are missing the simplest and most useful ones that many other clients have - like allowing you to change the priorities list, or alphabetizing the frequently used email folders list.

I'll take a look at Boards.

Thanks again.
I am glad to hear you have found your tasks. You have inspired me to prepare a video around this topic. I am sure others have the same question as users begin to migrate to New Outlook or Outlook Web version.

Take care.

FYI you cannot create dropdown boxes or any other format for user defined fields in a modified Outlook form. All MS allows for user-defined fields is text. Why:question_mark::question_mark: This would be a very useful feature.

I don't want to migrate to web Outlook. My experience with MS and other products is that they lack important features that I need when they migrate. They better not shut down desktop Outlook. >:(

Some additional info for you.
I have found that any item you add to tasks (the one with the clipboard and check mark logo not the other one) it is automatically flagged. Why:question_mark::question_mark: Why can't the user control this:question_mark::question_mark::question_mark:

Also, if you have created your own task lists where you add your personal items, duplicates are added to the default My Tasks/To-Do List. Why:question_mark::question_mark:

Then, if your task is made from an email, if you remove the flag from the item in the default folder, it deletes not only the task but the email. That's helpfull:question_mark::question_mark: I do not think this is true if the items are in your personal folder(s) but I need to test it again.

I did a search for New Outlook. The comments I found were not complementary and confirmed my experiences.
I had not quite finished editing this post, but this page was acting funny and I did not want to lose it.
I wanted to add, the Outlook tasks module is really what I want to use. I just want them to stop duplicating the tasks and allow us users more control over what is posted.

Oh, one other thing: Why can you only make forms from an existing one?? And, why can't you modify the first page of most of them?? Furthermore, why can't you design your form from scratch???
And another thing -why cannot you get to the to-do module (the clipboard logo) from the web? Instead you can only access the other one (big blue check logo), which is far inferior to the one with the clipboard logo.