Tip 997: Drag to Reorder the To-Do List

Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 include a much-maligned feature: the To-Do List. It seems to be a "love it or hate it" thing, with most of the people I come in contact with on the hate side. Many users ask how to remove the To-Do List and make the Task list default when they switch to the Task navigation pane. (Solution: Always use Tasks, not Outlook’s To-Do List.)

We also get a lot of questions asking how to re-order Tasks, or more accurately, why users can no longer re-order Tasks. This is usually caused by changing the view so my first suggestion is verify you are using the Simple or Detailed view then reset the view.

There are two ways to re-order tasks: change the sort order or drag the tasks up and down the list.

Drag to reorder the Tasks

To use: Select a Task and drag it to a new position. A red bar indicates the position it will be dropped in.

Not all views support dragging to reorder and when using one that supports reordering but not dragging to new groups, you can only rearrange within the group. For example, if you sort by Due date (no grouping), you can rearrange tasks with the same due date, but not drag to change the Due Date.

Drag tasks to reorder

The tasks are reordered within their due dates:

you can change the order within dates

Tip: To move a task to the bottom of the day's list, you don't have to get it exactly in the last position. When you drag it into another date range, it will snap back to the last position in it's date group.

Drag in Tasks Folders

In Tasks folders (verified in Outlook 2003 and up), you need to use a view that does not sort or group in order to re-order tasks by dragging. In the Custom view or View Settings dialog, you need both Group By and Sort set to None.

Use a view that doesn't sort or group

Drag to a new group

If you are using a traditional Group by View (with group headers) you can drag between groups to change the value of that field but you can't drag to change the order within a group, except when you are in the To-Do List.

Dragging only works in a group by view

Dragging between groups changes the group the Tasks belongs to. You can drag from due today to the due tomorrow group, drag to change the category, etc. Note that not all fields support dragging between groups in both the Tasks folder and To-Do List.

Drag to change due date

Published June 13 2012

  • Ed Dablin

    Despite trying everything here and even resetting views I simply cant get this to work. It works on the task list but not the to do lists. It works fine on my work computer.What am I doing wrong! Using office 2013.

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    Are you trying to reorder flagged messages or tasks? Taaks should reorder when you drag but flagged messages aren't reordering.

  • Ed Dablin

    Hi Diane thanks for the response. I can't reorder my tasks or my emails flags on this computer (can do both at work).

    I have tried:

    * Resetting view and clearing sort and groups
    * Running outlook, resetting all views and trying again

    I get the red placement bar but the task just doesn't move!? Half my tasks are flagged emails, the others are tasks.

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    What is the name of the View? This is in the To-Do List folder, correct?

  • Ed Dablin

    Yes its in the todo list folder under my tasks (and the list in the peek acts the same). If I click change view the to-do list is highlighted.

  • Ed Dablin

    I use exchange at work and imap at home btw.

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    Thanks. I will try to repro it.

  • Ed Dablin

    Thank you.

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    You can only re-order tasks within the same Due date. If the due date of the one you are dragging is different than the two you are dropping it between, it won't move.

  • Ed Dablin

    Hmm don't think thats it. It won't rearrange among tasks of the same due date. The set up seems the same as my work computer. Could it be that rearranging doesn't like imap?

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    If you are using the IMAP data file for the tasks/to-do, possibly. I'll see if i can repro.

  • Ed Dablin

    Diane. I have just worked it out on my work machine by subscribing to imap account as well. Only my exchange flagged emails will move up and down using drag and drop.

    The odd behaviour is though that tasks can move up and down on my work one, presumably because I have an Exchange.

    Shame Micorosoft can't get it to work for IMAP too.

  • http://www.outlook-tips.net Diane Poremsky

    I'm surprised it behaves differently for IMAP - I'll check it out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.