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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

(note: this is my first time trying to publish a blog entry from Microsoft Word 2007 to WordPress.  Yes, you heard me.  Using a Microsoft product to publish directly to an open source blog.  And I cannot believe how simple it was.  I’ll probably write a blog post on it.  From Word.)

Do you cross through your to-do list? Here’s why I ask.

I really like the To-Do Bar that Outlook 2007 has, especially when working on a laptop with a wide screen:

I’m a “bottom feeder” with email, which means I keep my newest items on the bottom of my inbox. I keep my folders way on the left, my headers and title information just to the right of that. I keep a healthy amount of real estate reserved right there in the middle to view the entire email.

The To-do Bar shows me a quick calendar, my upcoming appointments below that, and my to-do items, with flag and categorization colors. I’m pretty big on colors and formatting – you can see in my inbox, the items in blue were sent directly to me, while the items in black were part of a distro list. I also color emails from my boss(es) differently, and when I win the lottery, the computer actually pops out the CD-ROM drive and throws a disc at my face to make sure I’m paying attention.

However, one thing that always bugs me about the To-Do Bar is that it always defaults to a view that shows all my completed items with strikethroughs:

You see, these tasks being displayed are tasks I did more than a year ago. Some of them are 2 years old. I want them to go away! I completed you, oh vile task list of death!

Ode to a task that still shows up with strikethrough

Lo! Hear me. I thus did spake forcefully upon thee.
For that spaking I am remorseful. I did not see thee there.
Please to wipe my spittle off thy face.
To continue my rant, I speaketh of such divine divinity.
By this, I mean the stupidethness of the strikethrough format.
It has forced itself unto my task list, and displays as such!

Depart, oh Task That Has Completeness!
I have banished you unto the world of DoneDom.
Why do you torment me so?
You are not welcome.

Oh sure, I can right-click on the header, click “Custom” and add an advanced field filter that hides completed items

But it forgets the view sometimes. I don’t know how to make it the default! ARGH!

So, what about you? Do YOU track your tasks and to-do items and then show them with strikethrough font? Do you delete the task? I don’t like deleting things because even though I’ve completed the task, there might be information in the notes field I want to keep.

UPDATE: Wonderful Melissa – commenter below, and Microsoft employee – worked with me on some suggestions, and they worked like a champ!  Thank you Melissa. 

You can see in the comment below that she suggested to reset the to-do bar.  I tried that and no love.  Her next suggestion was to maybe “re-tag” the task as complete, because maybe the task was marked Completed in some offending or non-compliant way.  I tred right-clicking on the task to re-complete it, but it has “Mark Completed” greyed out. 

However, if I multi-selected the tasks and right-clicked, I got a “Mark Completed” option, and when I selected that, those tasks stopped showing up!  Will wonders never cease!?!!?

And lo, the people did comment thus:


  1. Robin says:

    I have too many things to track and no simple way of doing it as of yet. I want to be able to have a desktop program that I can check my gmail, calendar, task list, blogs, Twitter, Plurks and everything else in the damn world. Is that too much to ask?? Oh and I want to be able to use it both at work and at home so they would have to sync with the internet. Pffft.

    Robins last blog post..Top 5 Possible Jobs

  2. Miss Britt says:

    In general (not necessarily with Outlook), I keep a list around with strikethroughs until the entire list is complete.

    I like to see the progress.

    Once it’s no longer a work in progress – I toss it.

    Miss Britts last blog post..Is This What They Mean By “Rediscovering Your Marriage”?

  3. Tug says:

    I use stickies and tear them up and throw them away when I’m done.



    Tugs last blog post..Shoes

  4. Evil Genius says:

    Yep, my to do list looks very similar to yours; strike-throughs and all. The only way I have found to get rid of them is to delete them, but I also hate deleting them because of my notes and because at some point I may want to look back for something to ensure I actually did complete it.

    Evil Geniuss last blog post..Hells Bells!

  5. Absurdist says:

    That’s exactly why I do not use Outlook for the task feature. That drives me nuts. I don’t want to delete them, and I don’t want to hide them necessarily. So I use spreadsheets.

  6. Winter says:

    Motley’s dad keeps lists. His lists are so impossibly long that he never ever completes one. And he always says “I have to much to do!” Well, duh. It’s given me a distaste for lists. So I keep really short ones of immediate things as in stuff I need to get done in the next few hours. I keep a few items in my Outlook calendar, like reminders to reboot my Citrix server. I strike through a paper list. I delete from a computer list. I try to keep stuff simple so I never have the agony of the unfinished lists like Motley’s dad.

    Winters last blog post..Solar Plexus

  7. Avitable says:

    I email tasks to myself and keep my Inbox as a to-do list. Once I’m done, I put it in the right folder, but it’s always there for me to go back to.

    Avitables last blog post..Manliness

  8. sourpuss says:

    We use Outlook at work but we don’t use Tasks. We have a separate internal website to track assigned tasks. However, at the end of the year, I usually archive stuff (emails from certain individuals) by exporting their folder as a .pst file. If I need to refer to one of the emails at a later date, I just import the file and it deposits it back where it was originally so I can go through it. Can you not do something similar with tasks?

  9. martymankins says:

    I’m still on Office 2003 both at work and on my Windows XP partition on my MacBook Pro (running under VMware Fusion).

    I’ve tempted to make the jump to 2007 someday, but have no compelling reasons to do so yet.

    As for task lists, I live and breathe by them to get oft-forgotten things I need to do completed. I currently use Microsoft’s Entourage 2004 to store all of my tasks. It reminds me on my phone wen it’s due. I tend to keep my completed tasks around for a couple of weeks, just to make sure I’ve actually completed them.

    Entourage also shows completed items as strikethoughs, which I think is pretty common with most Microsoft products. Even Outlook 2003 does this as well.

    martymankinss last blog post..Flashback – 1967

  10. Melissa says:

    Try resetting the To-Do Bar view. It shouldn’t show your completed tasks – that is so annoying! To “reset” your To-Do Bar view, click on Arrange by Due Date, select Custom…, and in the dialog that appears, click “Reset Current View.” Your completed tasks should disappear. If you want to see them, click on Tasks, and then on the “Completed Tasks” view button in the Navigation Pane.

  11. whall says:

    Robin, no, that’s not too much to ask. I’m asking for someone to *do* my stuff for me. Forget tracking altogeter!

    Miss Britt, yeah, I agree, especially on paper. Too much work to actually erase.

    Tug, There’s an executive project portfolio thingy that relies on sticky notes. I love sticky notes but I always run out right when I need one.

    Evil Genius, well, read the update above for how I fixed it. It might help you as well!

    Abs, well now that it’s fixed, it no longer is a reason not to use Outlook. My problem with using spreadsheets (or anything other than outlook) is the lack of syncing with blackberry and sharepoint. I want to manage my tasks via bb, cell, computer, web, etc.

    Winter, heard on all counts. Did you reboot that Citrix server yet?

    Avi, my inbox has 12,000 items in it. But I’m getting better at trying to only leave 5-10 emails from yesterday’s inbox – and apply the four “D”‘s to them – Do it, Date it, Delegate it or Dump it.

    sourpuss, I despise deleting if it means I can’t index and search it later. I like google’s way better. Sure, you can delete it, but really it archives it so it’s removed from view, but you can find it if you need it.

    martymankins, Entourage? I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of it. And as I’ve learned (and updated the post), MS didn’t *mean* to display completed items with strikethroughs, at least not on the final release.

    Melissa, once again, THANK YOU for the help! I’ve updated the blog with your suggestions as they worked wonderfully.

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