Outlook Today

Last reviewed on January 3, 2014

The Outlook Today feature in Microsoft Outlook is a Web-like view of your upcoming appointments and current tasks, plus the status of key e-mail folders. You can also use it to search for someone in your Contacts folder.

Outlook Today's Winter themeWhat’s really nice about Outlook Today is the way it organizes all this information in one location, with just enough color coding to make it easy to view.

While you are limited to displaying appointments and tasks from your default calendar, you can add message folders from any data file in your profile to display in the Messages list.

Note that Outlook Today is a deprecated feature and may be removed from future versions of Outlook. The To-Do Bar was created to replace Outlook Today (and display upcoming appointments and task while viewing any folder).

Setup | Usage | Customization | Limitations | Known Problems | More Information

Outlook 2010

In Outlook 2010, the Outlook Today Icon is not on the ribbon. You can add it to the Quick Access Toolbar to make it easier to access. It can also be accessed by clicking on the top-level folder of the default data file, however the icon no longer indicates which folder is the Outlook Today folder, as seen in these screen shots from Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010:
Click on the default data file to view Outlook Today in Outlook 2010Click on the Outlook Today icon to view Outlook today

For specific instructions to customize the Quick Access Tool Bar, see Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The Outlook Today command is under ‘All Commands’.

Setup

Outlook Today is included in Outlook 98 and later versions. There is no special setup procedure. In early versions of Outlook, Outlook Today was the default start-up folder; in new versions the Inbox is the default start-up folder so you’ll need to change this if you want Outlook to display Outlook Today first.

To display Outlook Today when you start Outlook:

  1. Choose Tools | Options | Advanced Options. In Outlook 2010, You’ll go to File, Options, Advanced.
  2. Under Startup in this folder, choose Outlook Today.

Set startup folder in Outlook 2010

To change various display options:

  1. Click Outlook Today in the Outlook Bar
  2. On the Outlook Today page, click Customize Outlook Today or Options.
  3. Make your changes and then Save.

Note that the Winter theme places the Customize button on the bottom, not at the top as it is in other themes.

To point Outlook Today in Outlook to a specific web page:

  1. Make a backup of your system registry.
  2. Run the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  3. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook\Today subkey. (Where xx = your version of Outlook.)
  4. Create a new STRING value, named URL.
  5. For the value of URL, enter the address of the web page you want to view when you click Outlook Today.

Usage

To see more information about any appointment, task or mail folder:

  • Click that item.

To search in your Contacts folder:

  • Type a name in the Find a Contact box, then click go. Outlook searches the Full Name field for the name you entered.

To mark a task as completed:

  • Click the checkbox next to it. Note that completed tasks will show for the rest of “today” unless you set the completed date to “yesterday”.


Customization

The Outlook Today page can be customized. Simple customization through the user interface:

Advanced customization requiring HTML and other programming skills:

Sample Outlook Today pages:

Limitations

Without customization, Outlook Today cannot display a list of the items in your Inbox, Outbox or Drafts folder — only the number of items awaiting action. Only information from your main Calendar, Tasks, Inbox, Drafts and Outbox folders is displayed. You cannot add links to other folders or to Web pages to Outlook Today (see note on customization above).

You can search for contacts only in your main Contacts folder.

Known Problems

Outlook 2002

Outlook 2000

Outlook 98

  • If you are using the Simple List task filter and check off a task as completed, Outlook needs to refilter and display the entire task list. This can take rather a lot of time and is especially annoying if you want to check off yet another item. Workaround: If you need to mark more than one task as completed, use the Calendar or Tasks, not Outlook Today. Or use the Today’s Tasks filter, not Simple List.

If you have applied any themed skins to Windows (via Window Blinds, etc.), when attempting to customize the Outlook Today folder view in Outlook 2002, it is necessary to turn off skins (reset to standard Windows theme) before doing so. Otherwise, the dialog box that allows you to select the folders you would like to view on the Today page will not be viewable. (Thanks to Christopher Paris for this tip.)

Also see:

More Information

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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