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To-do! Assigning due dates based on e-mail importance

I recently read this blog post from Luis Freese about Microsoft To-do - 11 reasons why I fell in love with Microsoft To-Do and I couldn't agree more. In-fact, I can add 10 more to that list! Smiley Happy

One of the reasons mentioned was around moving flagged e-mails to To-Do using Microsoft Flow . To take this a step further, I wanted a way to assign due dates and reminders for the e-mails based on some priority level. Below is a step-by-step approach to achieve this -

Note: This applies only for desktop Outlook


  • Step 1: Create Outlook shortcuts to flag an e-mail and assign an importance level.

2019-02-04 09_31_45-Inbox - - OutlookOpen Quick Steps in Microsoft Outlook



2019-02-04 09_34_20-Manage Quick StepsClick on 'New' or if you already have a configured quick step, click on 'Edit'



2019-02-04 09_35_07-Edit Quick StepClick on "Add Action" and choose "Set Importance" action and then select the Importance level from the drop down. Also, select the shortcut key so that you can assign the quick step from your keyboard.



2019-02-04 09_36_55-Edit Quick StepSimilarly, set up shortcuts for the 3 different levels of Importance. Choose the shortcut keys wisely! For the High Importance I chose the "Ctrl+Shift+1", for Medium Importance - "Ctrl+Shift+2" and for Low Importance - "Ctrl+Shift+3".



So now you can use these shortcuts to quickly assign an importance level and flag the e-mails.



  • Step 2 - Set up the Flow in Microsoft Flow to assign the flagged e-mail as a task in To-Do with a due date based on the Importance. (Download the Flow files from here)

2019-02-04 10_01_44-Edit your flow _ Microsoft FlowStart with the trigger "When an email is flagged" and  then initialize a variable to store the number of days before due date.



2019-02-04 10_02_34-Edit your flow _ Microsoft FlowBased on the 'Importance' value from the e-mail, set the DueDays variable value. Personally, I wanted to set High Importance - 1 day, Medium Importance to 3 days and Low Importance to 5 days. For e-mails where I don't set the importance level, I set the value to 7 days.



2019-02-04 11_57_37-Edit your flow _ Microsoft FlowNow, add the "Add a to-do" action and set the values as defined above. You can customize it based on your liking. Remember to set the body content type to HTML to have a nice looking e-mail in the note of the to-do. For due date and reminder, use the expressions as defined below.



2019-02-04 11_55_33-Edit your flow _ Microsoft Flow

2019-02-04 11_56_20-Edit your flow _ Microsoft Flow

Due date expression - addDays(utcNow(),variables('DueDays'))

The expression above adds the number of days before the task is due to the current time.

Reminder date time expression - addDays(utcNow(),sub(variables('DueDays'),1))


The expression above reduces the number of due days by 1 day and adds it to the current time, so you can get the reminder 1 day before the task is due. Of-course, you can customize this as well to your liking.


  • Step 3 - Sit back and enjoy!


Bonus tip -

When you try adding emojis to be used as an icon for a List category, you get very limited options. If you want to use some other emoji, try out the method described below. To get the emoji menu in Windows 10 press "Windows key + ;" . You can also search for emojis from this menu. In my case, I searched for 'target" and got the emoji I wanted.

Have fun using To-Do!


Download the Flow files from here



Vivek Bavishi / That API Guy

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About the Author
  • Experienced Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Office 365, Azure, SharePoint Online, PowerShell, Nintex, K2, SharePoint Designer workflow automation, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, PowerShell, Active Directory, Operating Systems, Networking, and JavaScript. Strong consulting professional with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) focused in Information Technology from Mumbai University.
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