Outlook Tips: How to Create Repeating Tasks & Reminders

How to Create a Task in Microsoft Outlook

In Microsoft Outlook it’s easy to create appointments and tasks that repeat or recur. To create a task that repeats, first choose one of these ways to add a task in Outlook:

  • Outlook tasks, Outlook tips, Outlook tips and tricksFrom other views such as Mail or Calendar, pick New Items from the Home tab and then Task -OR-
  • From any view, press [Ctrl] + [Shift] + K -OR-
  • Move to the Tasks view and click once on the New Task button -OR-
  • From the Tasks view, press [Ctrl] + N.

Tasks can also be created from the To-Do Bar and by dragging an email message to the Tasks folder.

How to Repeat Outlook Tasks

To repeat a task created in Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Set a reminder for the first occurrence of the task.
  2. Pick Recurrence from the Task tab.
  3. Define the Task Recurrence pattern such as the 1st day of the month or every Wednesday.
  4. Choose OK and Save & Close to complete the task.

create Outlook task, repeating tasks in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook tipsWhy Reminders for Repeating Tasks Don’t Work

When you create a recurring task with a reminder, you may notice the first reminder works but it doesn’t repeat again for future tasks even when you enable the task recurrence. During an Outlook email productivity training session with an executive team, one of the participants shared that she no longer creates recurring tasks because the reminders stop working. The solution isn’t obvious due to a “flaw” in the display of reminders but there is a way to continue seeing reminders for repeating tasks in Outlook.  Here’s the trick: Don’t Dismiss Tasks!

The design of Outlook’s Reminder window makes it easy task reminders in Outlook, repeating tasks in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook tipsto “break” recurring Tasks when you press the Dismiss button which disables the reminder for the recurrence of the task. You can still use Dismiss for repeating appointments and the reminders will remain “attached” to future appointments.

To get the reminder for the task to repeat, you’ll first have to mark the previous task as completed. Outlook will then automatically create a new task based on your recurrence pattern.

To mark a task as complete, don’t pick Dismiss from the Outlook Reminder window. Instead, right click on the task and choose Mark Complete. This would certainly be easier and more intuitive if the Reminder window had a Mark Complete button or even a more generic Actions button.

Tip: Tasks have a checklist icon at the front while appointments have a mini calendar icon. You can still use Dismiss for appointment reminders.

How to Reset Reminders for Repeating Tasks

To restore reminders for tasks you have already created, move to the Tasks folders from the button in the Mail/Navigation Pane or press [Ctrl] + 4. Select the recurring task and mark the recent occurrences with Mark Complete on the Ribbon or by right-clicking the task and choosing Mark Complete or by clicking the check box next to the task. You may also want to open the current task to make sure the Reminder option is still selected.

Save time and leverage the power of Outlook by creating tasks with repeating reminders.

Discover more Outlook shortcuts, tips, and techniques here.

By Dawn Bjork, MCT, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Productivity Speaker, Software Consultant

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