How to plan your work using Microsoft Planner

A guide to using the Office 365 Planner

This is a fairly new addition to Office 365 and one that is very easy to use and learn in a short space of time. I am going to list the planner features and describe some of the other add-ons in passing.

If you have ever seen one of those whiteboards with the magnets for planning your office tasks then you will get the level this is aimed at. It’s great for organising projects at a high level but if you are getting into hundreds of tasks then use Project.


The Planner links in with other areas of Office 365 and is tied with the Office Groups feature this means that the new plan is equipped with access to many information sources.

  • Group E-mail
  • Calendar
  • OneNote
  • File Storage
  • Connectors for external information sources such as Twitter, RSS, Chatra….many more

 To get the most out of these new features you need to be using the latest version of Outlook (2016) which supports the Groups Features. Your Group email will show what’s available.


Access the Planner from the Office 365 Portal

Notice the new navigation pane shown on the right. You can move back to other Office 365 apps simply by clicking on the square in the top left corner.

Switch between plans or use the planner hub for an overview of your projects.

This shows any plan that is visible to you, you can make a plan a favourite to promote it within the view.

Create a new plan

 You can see the number of tasks that you have assigned and you have links to all the plans and a summary called the “Planner Hub”

Notice that an email address is created, this has to be unique and is auto-generated based on the plan name but can be edited. (You don’t need to type the full address if you try it will show an error)

Note: A Public plan can be viewed by everyone in your Office 365 Organisation whilst if its private its just those assigned membership. Be careful with this setting if you are going to put anything that needs to be restricted or confidential.


Board view

The Board shows the task list.  There are a few really nice features, you can drag members of the group from the top right down on to the tasks to assign them or open the task and assign users.

You will see the number of tasks assigned to you next to your name in the menu. 

You can make each Plan a favourite or a selection of plan to promote them from the “All plans” list to a prominent position on the menu bar.


Chart view

The Chart shows the status of the tasks and the assigned users.

If you set a due date the “Chart” will show those tasks  that become out of data as a red bar so you know what to concentrate on.


Add Buckets to store tasks by types

Here we have created a simple set of task buckets that form a process. Create buckets to form the process with the tasks then moving between the buckets or just using the buckets to keep them organised by type or process.


Add task Information

You can Click on a Task and add additional information.

You can Label the task with one or more labels.

You can create many subtasks and drag and drop tasks between buckets.

You can only display tasks or the description on the task card NOT both.

Add files to the task and leave comments for colleagues.


The Planner hub

You can view a summary of the tasks for each plan in the planner hub.

You can have multiple Plans in the image below we have three.


Outlook view

You can create Outlook Groups in the Office 365 Portal. The Planner will automatically do this for you when you create a new plan.

Notice that the Outlook navigation bar for Outlook 2016 now has a new Groups section.

You can be a member of multiple groups and plans so don’t be surprised if there is more than one visible.

The Group will show a set of links that will take you into the Office 365.

You will also see a new Outlook Toolbar to complete common tasks


Welcome e-mail within the group

You will receive a welcome email once you subscribe to the group or start adding actions into the planner.

The conversation view is useful as it groups emails together rather than sending each user a copy of the email.

 The SharePoint view helps collate files and data for the Plan.

 Connect Apps such as Twitter so collect information within the Group that may be related to the plan.

You will see a prompt to download apps for iOS , Android and Windows mobile devices.


Hopefully this got you started there are many more aspects to the Planner so please contact us for more information.