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Windows 7 : Managing Your Schedule - Tsk, Tsk: No Tasks

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Calendar is a generally full-featured calendaring solution. But it's missing some key functionality that's available in the Web-based Windows Live Calendar service. One of these missing features is tasks. While Calendar offers no way to manage tasks at all, Windows Live Calendar does, through its To-do list functionality. So if you want to manage tasks separately from events, you'll need to use Windows Live Calendar instead.

NOTE

Yes, Vista's Windows Calendar application did offer integrated tasks management.

This may seem inconvenient. (And let's be honest, if you want to use Calendar and tasks, it is inconvenient.) But because Windows Live Calendar and Calendar each utilizes the same Windows Live Alerts notification system, you can at least rest assured that notifications about your tasks will be delivered in a manner consistent with your events notifications.

Anyway, to manage tasks in the Windows Live ecosystem, you'll need to use Windows Live Calendar. So in this section, that's the tool on which we'll have to focus.

It is hoped that a future version of Windows Live Mail will include tasks management capabilities as well.


Like events, to-do's are associated with calendars. This makes sense if you think about it. If you do choose to organize your schedule around various calendars, it's likely you'll want to associate certain to-do's with home, work, or whatever other calendars you may choose to use for other scheduling needs. That said, to-do's are relegated to a separate To-do list tab of the Windows Live Calendar display and are not added to any of the main calendar views. This is actually pretty confusing, as many desktop calendar applications add a task pane at the bottom of certain calendar views.

1. Creating To-do's

To create a new to-do, click the New button in Windows Live Calendar and then select To-do from the drop-down menu that appears. This displays the Add a to-do window, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Creating a new to-do in Windows Live Calendar

In this window, you'll see a number of options for your newly created to-do:

  • What: This is how you identify the task. You can use any title you'd like.

  • Calendar: This specifies the calendar to which the task is attached. Your default calendar will be selected automatically, but if you have other calendars, you can, of course, change it.

  • Due date: Here, you can specify a date using a pop-up calendar control and, optionally, a time.

  • Priority: Tasks can be marked as Normal, High, or Low priority (Normal is the default).

  • More details: If you click the Add more details link, you'll navigate to a full-page version of the Add a to-do interface (see Figure 2), which provides additional options, including Status, Send reminder, and Description fields.

  • Status: To-do items can be marked as not started, in progress, or done.

  • Reminder: As with events, you can configure Windows Live Calendar to remind you when tasks are due. These reminders behave identically to event reminders.

  • Description: This large text entry area enables you to write or paste in large blocks of text that may be pertinent to the task.

Figure 2. The full-screen version of Add a to-do provides more options.

What's the difference between a to-do and an event? Events typically come and go at specific times, but to-do's are often more open-ended and have a completion requirement. In addition, events can involve other people. With a to-do, you're on your own. Then again, when a to-do is completed, you don't have to share the glory. Live by the sword, die by the sword.


Click Save to save the to-do. When you do, Windows Live Calendar displays a Web version of the Windows Live Messenger "toast" alert, noting that the to-do item has been created. This is shown in Figure 3.

2. Configuring To-do's

You can configure exactly two to-do-related features from the Options display for Windows Live Calendar. To access this interface, click the Options link near the top-right corner of the window and then choose More options from the pop-up menu that appears. The Calendar options page appears (see Figure 4).

Two options are specific to to-do items:

  • Select when to delete your completed to-do's: Here, you can determine whether Windows Live Calendar will delete completed to-do's after a set interval, or never delete them.

  • Confirmations: While this option isn't specific to to-do's, enabling it means that you will see the aforementioned Web-based alert anytime you create a to-do item. (It is enabled by default.)

Figure 3. Windows Live Calendar provides Web-based alerts too.

Figure 4. Calendar options provides only a few to-do-related options.
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