Microsoft To-Do – How to manage Tasks

Microsoft To-Do – How to manage Tasks

In another article about Inbox Zero (reducing Inbox anxiety by keeping a clear Inbox) I talked about using a To-Do task manager as an alternative to leaving emails in your Inbox which require action.

Microsoft To-Do is a great task manager with a bunch of features available depending on how much time you have or how particular you want to be with your Tasks.

Available from your Office 365 dashboard, a Windows app, an iPhone/iPad app and AndroidTo-Do enables Tasks to be created, which can have Due Dates, Reminders, Notes and Steps applied to them – or can simply be a List of Tasks which is available across multiple synced devices or Shared with others.

To-Do is the same on all devices, so for this tutorial I’ll use the Windows app on my laptop which I downloaded and installed from the Windows Store.

manage tasks with microsoft to-do

Setting up Microsoft To-Do

Download and open Microsoft To-Do. Sign in with your Microsoft Account. The app starts with default lists called My Day and Tasks. If you don’t plan to organise your tasks into different lists, you can simply add items to these default sections. Or, create your own custom lists.

To do this, click the link for New List. Type a name for your new list. Repeat those steps to create as many lists as you need.

Microsoft To-Do setup

Microsoft To-Do Task List Settings

If you have created a List for specific Tasks there are a number of options available to adjust.

You can Rename, change the Sort order, Share the List with another Staff Member, change the List colour, Hide or Show Completed Tasks, you can even Pin a Tile on your Windows Start menu to open this specific List.

O365 manage Tasks



Microsoft To-Do Task Settings

On any individual Task there are settings you can modify.

You are able to set Reminders and Due dates; set the Task to Repeat; attach a File or add a Note; mark the Task as Important

Task management Office 365


More information on To-Do is available from Microsoft here


Microsoft Teams – How to keep up with what’s new in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams – How to keep up with what’s new in Microsoft Teams

Today I was going through the different features of Microsoft Teams when a staff member asked me “How do you manage to keep up with all these changes in this stuff??”.

Well here’s how I stay fresh and how you can too – it’s really easy and is available in Microsoft Teams from the Search bar.

Open Microsoft Teams and in the Search Bar at the top of the screen type /whatsnew

/whatsnew Teams updates

When you include the forward slash Teams recognises the entry as a Command, not as something you are searching for in a Conversation or Chat.

That /whatsnew Command – will take you directly to the Help Section in Teams and show you the latest features to be added or tweaked in Teams by the Microsoft Developers.

There are other commands you may find helpful – type the forward slash into the Teams Search Bar and hit enter and you’ll see a list appear.

Microsoft also run a Uservoice website for each of their products.  This is well worth contributing to and if you have an idea for a feature or wish a product did something it currently doesn’t – you can search Uservoice to see if someone else has made the same suggestion and Vote for it. If it’s not there suggest it and give others the chance to vote it up.

Uservoice links:

Microsoft Teams



3 Tips for using Microsoft Teams Conversations

3 Tips for using Microsoft Teams Conversations

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool now used in over 500,000 organisations (March 2019).  It supports groups of people working together by providing communications, file sharing and information storing modules. The Conversations area in Teams is a place where you can discus topics formerly sent around using email.

These 3 tips for using Microsoft Teams Conversations will show you how to:

  1. Format Text in a new Conversation Post
  2. Use the @mention to alert a Team Member about a conversation
  3. Use the @mention to alert ALL Team Members about a conversation

3 Tips when using Conversations in Microsoft Teams

1. Format Text in a New Conversation Post

When you create a new conversation thread use the format text button to:

  • add a Subject line to your conversation
  • modify text colours, bold, underline anything appropriate, or mark the conversation as important

teams conversation text format

After opening the text format box youll see that you are able to:

  1. modify font style – Bold, Underline, Italics
  2. highlight text, change font colour and change font size
  3. insert hyperlinks
  4. insert tables and mark the Conversation as Important

Teams format text

This will make you a Conversation pro and help your posts to stand out!


2. Use the @mention to alert a Team Member about a conversation

In a new Conversation or a Reply you can tag or @mention a colleague so they receive a notification about your post.  In your post simply type the @ symbol followed by the members name, then click their card when Teams finds them in the directory. You are able to backspace and delete their surname if you want to keep things more personable.  

@mention team member in teams



3. Use the @mention to alert ALL Team Members about a conversation

In a conversation post or reply, if you @mention the Team name it will generate a notification for each Team member. Depending on their notification settings a banner or Banner and email will appear for them. I’d suggest using this in a Teams Conversation where you are finding members not responding to requests or not interactive when seeking input!  🙂

team mention in converation to create a notification

If you have another Tip for people using Conversations comment below!  I hope those 3 are helpful and you can be more productive by using them.

What is Microsoft Teams?

What is Microsoft Teams?

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool which provides an online space for a group of people working together. The Team provides communication tools, file storage, information storage and a place for video/text/audio messaging and meetings.

You would create a Microsoft Team for a group of people working together – on a project or together in the long term as a group of staff like – Finance, HR, Science Teachers, Leadership Team, Directors, etc etc.

The Microsoft Teams the core features which support collaboration are:

  • Chat – connect to anyone in your organisation, not just those you are Team members with
  • Teams – different Teams for different groups of people. Contains Conversations, Files, OneNote, links)
  • Meetings – host or join online meetings (audio or video) which can be recorded and saved in Teams

Here’s what the Teams interface looks like:

Microsoft teams interface 2019 June

You can see in the layout that once you have selected the Teams module within the Teams window you have sections titled: Conversations, Files and PLC Notebook.


The conversations area is where Team members can post new conversations (like posts in a discussion board). Post a New Conversation and team members can reply. Use text, images, emojis, GIFs, and @mention a colleague to alert them that they have been mentioned/tagged in a post.


This is the file storage location for members of this team. Office documents can be edited from within Teams, using the online versions of Office apps, or opened on your computer using installed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. This Files section can also be synced to your laptop just like your OneDrive by opening the Files section in SharePoint and clicking the Sync button. Typically the files stored here would be considered working documents – documents which require input from multiple team members. A SharePoint portal would be used to share finalised documents

PLC Notebook

Every Team includes a OneNote notebook. This is a great tool on it’s own and within Teams it provides a shared notebook to store information the team needs. For example the notebook could have sections in it to: store team meeting agendas and minutes; “How to” information for shared or team tasks; project notes; reference information on venues and travel; notes from professional development workshops members have attended;

Microsoft Videos for getting started and using Teams

Follow this link to see a whole swag of helpful videos:



Campbell Smythe

Campbell Smythe

Learning and Collaboration Technologies advisor

I am a Learning and Collaboration technologies advisor living in Cairns, Australia. An educational technology leadership background and experience managing a globally located information technology team, has given me wide experience in the application of digital technologies to a variety of educational and workplace contexts.

  • Certified Microsoft Service Adoption Specialist
  • Microsoft Innovative Educator
  • Apple Teacher
  • Certified Google Educator
  • Mountain Biker and Triathlete
  • Former Asia Pacific IS Manager MAFINT
  • Former Director of eLearning and ICT
How to – Create in OneNote and Send to Sway

How to – Create in OneNote and Send to Sway

OneNote Send to Sway addin

So a couple of great tools put out by Microsoft have the ability to connect and create together – doing something which will make users of both these productivity tools very happy! OneNote Send to Sway addin makes it easy to create a Sway presentation straight from your OneNote notebook.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote app - vis cdsmythe.comOneNote – is Microsoft’s app in Office 2016 which stores your notes, details, web clippings, audio, files – everything – in a NoteBook format organisable using Sections and Pages.  If you arent using it and you use Office – then you should really take a look at it.  If you are an Evernote Premium user – then you should most definitely take a good look at OneNote and save yourself some money.

Sway - Onenote send to sway addinMicrosoft Sway

Sway – is Microsoft’s quickest content-to-presentation creator.  It can import content from other Office apps and create beautiful looking and working multimedia presentations with ease, combining fonts, transitions and images with your content.  Students in every subject are being asked by their teachers to create “multimodal presentations” or websites to present their learning – Sway makes that deadset easy as.

So good news now is that Microsoft have created a “OneNote Send to Sway” addin which once installed in OneNote makes it easy to send content from OneNote to Sway.  Big win for students is that so many teachers now are using OneNote with their classes.  So the publishing stage doesnt become enormous.

How to Send Content from OneNote to Sway

First of all you will need to check which version of OneNote you have installed.  Open OneNote, on the menu bar click – File > Account – then click the “About OneNote” button

send to sway onenote

The OneNote version that I am using is the 32bit version (see below)

onenote send to sway


Next step you’ll need to download the OneNote Send to Sway Addin.

Go to – and click the download button, then choose the correct version of the Onenote Send to Sway addin for your install of OneNote – for me it is the 32 bit version (also referred to as x86).

send to sway from onenote

Download and then install the addin.  Restart OneNote and you will see the “Send to Sway” button on the OneNote Ribbon.

OneNote send to sway installed

Ready to Send to Sway?

So now youve installed the OneNote addin to Send to Sway, select a Page in OneNote and click the Send to Sway button.

You will need to login to your Sway account, then Sway will start…well,….Swaying……

Once it has finished you can view your sway and make any design changes to the look and feel you like.