Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

We have all received emails that contain next steps or instructions that really should be added to our daily checklist. Sometimes I add them into my notebook or onto a sticky note, other times I may drag the entire email to my calendar and create a reminder with time blocked out to complete the task. Unless we convert that text into an actionable task, things may get lost. Did you know that you can now generate tasks from these emails while working in context in Outlook?

As part of the broader Task Management strategy across Microsoft 365, there are some nifty task conversion features being added. In this case, you can highlight text in Outlook for the Web and convert it to a task in Outlook – which will then also become visible within Microsoft ToDo. This is not a brand new feature (it was announced July 2020), but most people are still unaware of this capability. So I thought I’d share:

In this example, I have sent myself an email with a list of reminders from my mobile device. (I regularly do this — if I’m out on the road and want to remind myself of tasks, I’ll sometimes send an email with several tasks outlined). But you may have received a list of tasks/asks from a team member.

Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

By highlighting the text on the page, two options appear just above my selected text:

  1. Send an email regarding the highlighted text
  2. Create a task from the selected text

To create a task, simply click on the task icon.

Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

The AI in Outlook for the Web selects anything that appears to be a task, and automatically adds them to a list of tasks. From this view you can forward an individual item via email, highlight it (star), or mark it as completed. Additionally, you can create additional tasks from this view if other steps are required to complete these new tasks.

Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

By clicking on the Tasks icon at the bottom left in Outlook, you will find the new ToDo integration within Outlook for the Web, and can open your Tasks list to see all of these items.

Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

And if you’re a fan of ToDo in the mobile app (As I am), these new tasks are instantly available within ToDo.

Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email

Still missing from these features is an integration with Planner, which would be ideal. There are quite a few feature requests around Task Management in Microsoft’s product roadmaps, so hopefully we’ll see even more of this kind of functionality in the near future. I’ll be sure to keep everyone up to date as I discover them.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a GTM and Alliances leader, a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

1 Response

  1. December 6, 2022

    […] Productivity Tip: Create Tasks from Text within Outlook Email [buckleyPLANET] […]