Outlook has powerful features for creating custom views into your task list. To show you how to do this (and to support special TRO views) we will customize the built-in Simple List. Then we will create your All Categories list, which is your main, auto-prioritized list of tasks.

Customizing a View

Example: customizing the Simple List:

  1. Press Ctrl+4 to open the Tasks view.
  2. Select the Tasks folder in the Folders pane at the left. (You may need to click the arrow to open the pane.) Do NOT select the To-Do folder.
  3. Go to the View ribbon (Alt+V), then click Change View. A list pops out. Choose Simple List. This changes your view to the Simple List.
  4. Still in the View ribbon, click Change View and then Manage Views  (Alt+V, C, V, M).
  5. Highlight Simple List, and click Modify.
  6. Click the Columns button at the top of the new screen.
  7. Select All Task fields under Select available fields from. (This just helps you choose the fields you want.)
  8. In the box that says Show these columns in this order, add and remove fields until only the following are listed below Show these columns in this order:
    • Complete
    • Priority
    • Subject
    • Due Date
    • Reminder
    • Reminder Time
    • Categories
  9. Click OK to save your changes and go back to the Advanced View Settings screen.
  10. In Group By change it to (none) (don’t group anything). You may need to scroll the list up to see that option. Uncheck Automatically group according to arrangement (don’t group by arrangement), then click OK.
  11. Click the Sort button.
    1. Choose to Sort items by Priority (and Descending).
    2. Choose to sort Then by Due Date (and Ascending).
    3. Finally, choose the third sort option as (none).
    4. Click OK to save your changes and go back.
  12. Click the Filter button.
    1. For your own views, you can select criteria using the Advanced tab. However, for this advanced TRO view, go to the SQL tab instead.
    2. Go to the SQL tab.
    3. Check the box next to Edit these criteria directly.
    4. Highlight the following text (be careful to highlight everything, including the parentheses). Then copy it (right-click, then choose Copy):
      ("https://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/id/{00062003-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}/811c000b" = 0 AND ("https://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/id/{00062003-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}/81040040" <= 'today' OR "https://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/id/{00062003-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}/81040040" IS NULL) AND NOT (("urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office#Keywords" IS NULL OR ("https://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/id/{00062003-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}/81050040" IS NULL AND "https://schemas.microsoft.com/mapi/id/{00062008-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}/8503000b" = 0)) AND "urn:schemas:httpmail:importance" <> 2) AND NOT "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office#Keywords" LIKE '%S/M%' AND NOT "urn:schemas:httpmail:importance" = 0 AND NOT "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office#Keywords" LIKE '%Templates%')
    5. Be careful to highlight everything, including the parentheses.
    6. Paste (Ctrl+V) the text into the SQL tab, replacing all existing text. (EACH TIME YOU DO THIS, VERIFY that the correct text was pasted. For some reason, copy/paste does not always work reliably at this point, and some users paste the text from prior custom views, which makes them work improperly.)
    7. Click OK to save your changes.
    8. If you get an error message when exiting the filter, you probably entered something incorrectly. Repeat the steps and try again. Make sure you copy ALL of the SQL text, including quotes and parentheses.
  13. Standardize the Other Settings.
  14. Turn off red highlights.
  15. Click OK twice to save your changes.
  16. Add a Group By box.
  17. Resize the columns as needed.

Your Simple List is now fully customized for TRO (but keep reading below). You can use steps like this to customize any view in Outlook.

Create a Custom View from Another View

We will use the Simple List to Create a permanent, All categories view:

  1. Go back to the Task view manager.
  2. Click on Simple List and click Copy.
  3. Name the new list “All Categories”.
  4. Select This folder, visible only to me (or This folder, visible to everyone if you are using Exchange Server).
  5. Click OK. You will see the Advanced View Settings screen. Click OK to exit it.
  6. Click Apply View.

If you have a lot of tasks, and if you Group By Categories, it should look something like the following picture.

Use steps like this to create new custom views from any view you want.