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Convert an email into a calendar event or task just by dragging

Outlook has this nifty trick where you can drag an email right into the task pane and create either an appointment or task based on that email, or both!
Published on
August 12, 2020

Don't waste time managing your time

Here's a quick tip for making more of Outlook than you might already be. Using Outlook on the Web (the browser version of Outlook), you can quickly make an Outlook appointment (with invitees or not) or a To Do task. All you've got to do is open the calendar/task pane—which, incidentally, is an incredibly useful way to look at a combined view into your upcoming tasks and appointments—and drag your email into the area you prefer.

Open the calendar/task pane and drag your email!

For some in-depth video demos of this feature, watch the video below. Or keep reading for a more text-based overview. :)

Create an Outlook event

If you drop the email in the Add as an event box, Outlook pops a new event open with the email subject as the event title and the email sender as a meeting invitee. If you want to make a meeting out of the email, add any other invitees. You can even add a Teams meeting to the appointment.

Now, if you want this to be an appointment just for you, remove the invitees. Now you can set the event as some focus time for you to do work.

Create a To Do task

If you drop the email in the Add as a task box, Outlook creates a new To Do task with the email subject as the task title. The task gets stored in the un-organized (and very general-sounding) "Tasks" list in To Do.

Now, you probably want to toy around with the task's metadata, like the due date, which lists it's in, and maybe update the title. To do that, open To Do by clicking the waffle in the top-left corner of Outlook and selecting To Do. To find the task, open the Tasks list and you should see your task listed there. From here you can manage all the aspects of the task, including: adding steps, adding to the My Day list, setting a reminder, setting a due date, enabling the task to repeat, adding a category, uploading a file, or adding notes. ANd if you want to add the task to an existing list, just drag task to that list and it automatically gets added.

Wrap up

This is a pretty quick tip, but I find it to be incredibly useful and a great "Integration" (if you can call it that) between your message, calendar, and tasks. It's also a great showcase of the features in Outlook for the web which, if you ask me, is actually better than the desktop version of Outlook. And I pretty much never so that about any Office apps. So if you're not a regular user of the Outlook browser experience, you'e got that much more reason to try it out and get hooked.

Matt Wade
Matt is an engineer-turned-IT nerd and Microsoft MVP. His career began in the nuclear power design field and ended up in SharePoint adoption, pretty much by mistake. He’s best known for his SharePoint and Microsoft 365 infographics—especially the Periodic Table of Office 365—and advocating Microsoft Teams as the modern workplace.

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