Creating Recurring Tasks in Microsoft Outlook

By | Mar 27, 2008

In my last post, I showed you how to create tasks in Microsoft Outlook to provide reminders and help you track your tasks. Today, I’ll cover creating recurring tasks in Outlook.

We all have those tasks that we do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. However, if you have a short attention span like me, you’ll think about doing it, but as soon as the phone rings, it completely slips your mind, and you don’t think about it again until the next day. For folks like me with a short attention span, not to mention the short term memory loss that comes as we get older, the recurring task function in Outlook is a big help.

You begin to create your task as you would any other by opening a new task window. In that window, click on the recurrence button.

recurringtaskbutton.gif

This will bring up the Task Recurrence window. You have 4 choices for the type of recurrence you want.

  1. Daily Recurrence
    recurrenttaskdaily.gif

    You have several choices for how you want the daily recurrence to happen:

    • Every day
    • Every weekday
    • Regenerate each task however many days after the first one is completed

    Most of the time, I use the Every weekday option, since I use this mostly at work. It will generate a task for every weekday. Every day works the same way. The 3rd option, though, will only generate one task, and won’t generate the next until you mark the first one complete. Essentially, you can snooze the task for a week, and won’t get another one until you mark it complete. With the first two options, if you snooze the task for more than 24 hours, when you mark it complete, it will generate the next task for the day after the creation of the first one. If you choose the third option, it will generate the next task 1 day after the completion of the first one. If you will be snoozing these tasks for more than 24 hours, it is best to use the 3rd option. Otherwise the first two work.

    Remember, though, if you use the first two options, and you let it get more than 24 hours behind, once you mark it complete, you will stop getting reminders, since the reminder date/time of the newly originated task will already be past. You’ll need to go to your task list and either mark the new one complete or open it and reset the reminder time. If you miss several days, you’ll need to keep marking the new ones complete until you get it current. This applies to Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly options as well.

  2. Weekly Tasks
    recurrenttaskweekly.gif

    Weekly tasks can be set to recur every week on the same day of the week or to regenerate every a number of weeks after the first is marked complete.

  3. Monthly Tasks
    recurrenttaskmonthly.gif

    Monthly tasks can be set to recur on a specific day of the month, or on a specific weekday of the month. For instance, if you send out the agenda for a meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, you would want to use this option to generate the task. As usual, you can also set it to recur one month after the completion of the first.

  4. Yearly Tasks
    recurrenttaskyearly.gif

    Yearly tasks can also be set for a specific date (a reminder of the boss’s birthday, for instance), or for a specific weekday each year. And, of course, set for one year after the completion of the first date.

Once you have your recurrence options set, you need to set how many times you want the task to recur.

recurrenttasknumber.gif

Set the date you want the first task to begin, and then set how long you want it to recur:

  • No end date
  • End after a specific number of occurences
  • End on a specific date

I usually use no end date, since most of my tasks are things I do as part of my job duties. However, if you are taking on a task for a limited amount of time such as when someone is on vacation, you can use one of the other two options to limit how long the tasks recur.

You may also want to note that this is the same window that is used when you create a recurrent meeting on your calendar.

Once you have all of your recurring task options set, click OK. This sends you back to your Task window to finish putting in the rest of the data for your task. Don’t forget to set the reminder time or you won’t get reminders!

If you have any questions about any of this, just ask. My e-mail address is linked in the right sidebar or you can just use the handy comment function.

Abbey Hill Sept 2007

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14 Comments so far
  1. small business idea (1 comments) March 28, 2008 11:07 am

    thanks for the info

  2. Barbara Swafford (8 comments) March 29, 2008 12:25 am

    Jodith,This is awesome.  I installed it yesterday, listed a few tasks, and like magic I got my reminders.  I absolutely love it.  Now I will try the recurring tasks features…that will be so handy for me.  Thank you for sharing such a fantastic, time saving find. 

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..If One Is Good, Two Is Better

  3. Barbara Swafford (8 comments) March 29, 2008 12:27 am

    Hi Jodith,I forget to say, I LOVE the “snooze” feature. 

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..If One Is Good, Two Is Better

  4. Jodith (189 comments) March 29, 2008 7:40 am

    I *love* the snooze feature.  I use it all the time at work.  I set up tasks for everything I need to do that day, and then hit the snooze until I get it done and can mark it complete.  I just love marking things complete.  It gives me a little thrill every time I do it.

  5. TripTheLady (1 comments) March 31, 2008 5:38 pm

    I rely on Outlook on a daily basis!  The reminders tell me which reports are due on which days.  I have the reminders set to remind me a few days ahead of time so I can complete by my deadlines.  Outlook keeps me on schedule and helps me meet my deadlines – couldn’t get through the day without it!  Great article.

    TripTheLady’s last blog post..Sunscreen

  6. Sharon (2 comments) April 2, 2008 5:23 am

    You give instructions the same was I do, I love it.  Screenshots are the best.  After working in a not so tech savvy office for 5 years I learned that visual instruction is the best.  Sometimes even showing users on their own computers didn’t get the job done.  I had a manual of “How-To’s” all with step-by-step screenshots that anyone could look up and follow even when I wasn’t there.  I had to create a read only NETWORK folder on our office network too, because 90% of the time people were too lazy to get our of their chairs to come find the manual.  Oh, well.  Don’t have to mess with that anymore. 
    Must say, very nicely done. Kudos.

  7. Jodith (189 comments) April 2, 2008 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Sharon!  Yes, I spend a lot of time showing people I work with how to use Office programs.  Most of them are social science types (case managers and therapists) and have only minimal exposure to Word and even less to Outlook and Excel.  We won’t even discuss Access *laughs*.

  8. Ian Denny (2 comments) April 9, 2008 11:40 am

    Jodith,
    I’m really sorry that I haven’t been back as often as I’d liked since you were new blogger of the week on Barbara’s site!
    Sorry!
    If you are looking for guest post slots, and have any services you believe you could offer to small businesses in the UK, then I would love to feature you, email our clients to read the post, and point people in your direction.
    Your content is great, and our clients would love it.
    We tend to just put in the infrastructure (Outlook in a Microsoft Exchange environment) and while I do a tips subscription for our clients, I have no objection at all to pointing people your way.
    I’ve published this comment with my office link. I’d rather not publish my email email address, but I think you should be able to pick it up from the WordPress comments section behind the scenes.
    I take no offence if you don’t think it would help you, but I’d love to feature some of your content in a guest post and point people your way.
    Let me know either way.
    Cheers
    Ian

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Web Filtering: Is It Big Brother Or Concerned Mother?

  9. Microsoft Hosted Exchange (1 comments) August 13, 2010 11:57 am

    I use tasks all the time but never did a recurring task. This will come in handy for when I need a quick refresher on how to set one up. Thanks

  10. helen (3 comments) August 30, 2010 6:58 pm

    I’ve done recurring tasks,several diff ones, some weekly, monthly, etc. but it only shows 1st 2 dates, sometimes even just the very 1st date. I’ve been on diff blogs and others have same problem, with no solutions. Any suggestions??

  11. Jodith (189 comments) September 1, 2010 8:29 am

    You may have checked the box to set up the next task a certain amount of time after the first one was finished. That will only ever show one of the recurring tasks. However, in the task list, Outlook never shows more that two of the same recurring tasks at a time, so you have the current one and the next one. It’s just the way the software works. Otherwise, it would try and spawn an infinite number of tasks, and explode your exchange server space.

  12. helen (3 comments) September 2, 2010 1:52 am

    Judith,
    thank you for the info. Guess it does make sense it would show only a limited amt of recurring tasks, though wish it showed at least 6 mos out. I assume when 1 month is completed, another month will be shown for that recurring task. thanks again!!! you’re the 1st person to answer this on line that I’ve seen.
    Helen
    p.s-I did open-ended, not a set amt of recurring tasks, though i did try it that way too, like 12 recurrences- which did not work either.

  13. Jack (1 comments) April 11, 2012 12:41 pm

    helen makes an excellent point about not being able to view more recurring tasks in the furture than just 1 or 2. This is a problem that I wish was not “just the way the software works.” I wish Outlook WOULD show more than just 1 or 2 recurring tasks. Since it isn’t able to do this, I may not use the featrue. For example, let’s say I have a recurring task the 3rd week of every month to review a certain spreadsheet. I’m going on vacation in a couple months and pull up that week. There’s no task listed! (Remember, the software doesn’t work that way.) So, I’m not prompted to make some other arrangements to review the spreadsheet…. I think this is a serious limitation on managing tasks.

  14. Kathy (1 comments) November 23, 2016 9:02 am

    Why do my tasks up in the No Date section even though I’ve set it up as a recurring task?

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