Converting Outlook Emails into Tasks

Converting Outlook Emails to Tasks

There is a quick and easy way to change an Email Message into a Task in Microsoft Outlook with Drag and Drop!

In a recent blog Post, I provided an overview of the powerful Task feature that is part of Microsoft Outlook.

As we discussed, Tasks are anything that you would want to put onto a “To Do” list.

It can be either a “one-time” action item that you need to complete by a specific due-date. Or it can be a “recurring” item that you need to remember to complete on an ongoing, periodic basis.

An Email processing and triage best practice is to avoid using your Inbox as as “To Do” list.  So, instead of keeping an Email sitting in your Inbox to remind you of something you need to do, turn it into a Task instead!

Very often, Emails are better managed as Tasks.  

For example, it can be an Email telling you of the need to complete an online training module by a certain due date. This is much more appropriate to manage as a TASK.

It is a very specific activity, is clearly defined, and has a due-date by which it must be completed.

The message already contains all the information you need to create a Task, such as as due date, instructions and the link to the module.

Luckily, this is easy to do in programs such as Microsoft Outlook.

You can turn that Email right into an Outlook Task!

Instead of creating a new task from scratch and retyping all the information from the Email, there is a faster and easier alternative.

Here is how it all works…

Turning an Outlook Email into a Task

A great feature in Microsoft Outlook is the ability to turn an Email message into a Task.

  • All you need to do is to drag the Email message from your Inbox to the Task Icon at the bottom our your Inbox:

Outlook Email Convert Tasks Screenshot1
  • This creates a Task with the Email subject as the Title of the Task.

  • The dates, status, and other task specific fields are not initially populated.

  • The Email text becomes the Task details.

Outlook Email Convert Tasks Screenshot2

Now, all you need to do is to a bit of quick clean-up of this newly created task:

  • Revise the Subject line.

  • Add a Start Date and/or Due Date.

  • Add in a Category if you use them for your Tasks.

  • Just hit "Save and Close".

And Vooom..  Your Task is created without needing to retype everything.

Quick, easy, and (almost) automatic!

But, what if you want to create a task, but also keep easy access to the original Email message?
This is helpful in case you want to ever reply to it or forward it to someone else.

Luckily, there is another easy option to do this as well..

Turn an Email into a Task with the Email as an Attachment

  • If you right-click the Email before you drag it down to the Task icon, you given some extra options:

Outlook Email Convert Tasks Screenshot3
  • Choose the option “Create Here as Task with Attachment”.

Outlook Email Convert Tasks Screenshot4

This creates a Task from an Email, but with the Email as an embedded attachment into the Task itself.

And you can still update the rest of the information in the Task however you need.

But if you double-click the Email attachment, you are right back in the original Email that you started with!

This makes it very easy if you ever want to reply-to or forward the original Email.  And you don't need to keep that Email hanging-around and clogging-up your Inbox.

These types of features are one reason I remain a big Microsoft Outlook user and fan. You can quickly convert different components of your Email system, such as turning Emails into Appointments or Tasks (and vice-versa).
— Michael Einstein

There are even more advanced ways to assign Tasks to individuals that I will cover in a future post.

Do you turn Emails into Tasks?

Do you have any other helpful Outlook Task tips or tricks?