Microsoft To-Do – Full Tutorial With My Day and Grouped Lists

Purpose

Microsoft To-Do is a task management app that works on your phone, tablet, and computer. The app takes a simple to-do list, much like the one in Outlook, and adds a few new twists to it. It can be used with Outlook, as the tasks will mostly synchronize, or on its own as a stand alone.

Tasks in Outlook
Tasks in Outlook

Keep in mind that, if you are a heavy task user in Outlook, not everything will synchronize. Flagged e-mails will not show nor will task assignments or file attachments. At this point, To-Do is best used as a stand alone app to get a fresh start if you want to move away from using tasks in Outlook.

Availability

Microsoft To-Do is available for free and it also will pop up now as a new app that’s part of Office 365. If you’re at work and you have a paid subscription, you can use it as part of the Office 365 ecosystem. On a PC, it can be used through a web browser or downloaded from the Windows Store and installed on your PC. The tasks will sync with all other instances of To-Do that you have installed and linked to your Microsoft account.

app in Office 365
Part of Office 365

Even if you are not an Office 365 subscriber, it can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store onto your PC or installed on your phone.

To-Do in Android Play Store
Android Play Store

Basic Use

Video explanation

At the basic level, the tasks in the section called To Do’s are a simple list of your tasks. If you right click on one, you can set a reminder at a specific date or mark it complete.

Right-click options
Right-click options
Double-click menu
Double-click menu

If you double-click on a task, there is a simple field for notes but, keep in mind, you can’t attach files, at least not at the date of this writing which is February of 2018. That’s a little bit different than Outlook, but it does keep it nice and simple. Once you set a due date, you can also set the task to repeat at certain intervals.

The other thing you can’t do is assign these tasks to someone else. To-Do is just for your own use right now.

Taks Lists

In addition to it just being a plain list of tasks like Outlook, one of the big new things you that you can do is create task lists. You can customize the theme of each list and, of course, you can add emojis to each one. Left-click in the text field where the name of your list is. Different choices for emojis pop up as choices. If you don’t see what you want, you can surf the web and copy and paste an emoji from there.

Task lists
Task lists
Emoji for list
Emoji for list

You can also change the color of each of your tasks. If you get all hot when you work out, maybe you want it red. I made the purchases green, right? Because I’m spending money.

Red theme
Red theme
Green theme
Green theme

My Day

In addition to grouping things in lists, the another innovation as far as tasks go is the My Day function. At the beginning of each day, you open up My Day and it’s blank. The thought is you may have all of these tasks that are nicely categorized and they’re dated, but YOU choose what you do that day.

My Day
My Day

Click on the smart suggestion light bulb and it’s going to suggest things that you do today based on what you have in these lists and what the due dates are. I decided that clean my room is due today but there’s no way I’m doing that.

Light bulb
Click on the light bulb
Smart Suggestions
Smart Suggestions

Now choose what you want to do with your day from scratch. This will give you a fresh list totally under your control. You can left-click and you can reorder by holding down your left mouse key or your finger if you’re on mobile and dragging it down. If you get it done, mark it as completed. If you decide you’re not going to do it, remove it from My Day by moving it to another list. If you decide you don’t want to do something on your My Day list at all, just delete it.

Conclusion

That pretty much covers Microsoft To-Do. There’s not too much clutter with it. It’s relatively simple it just lets you organize what you’re doing during the day and you can decide what tasks you see in your day and which ones you don’t.

Cast your Android screen to Windows 10 – No apps, no cables

If you have an Android phone and you have Windows 10 on your computer, you can project your screen from your phone onto your computer’s screen with no extra apps no cables. These steps and the accompanying screen shots are from a Samsung Galaxy S6.

Smart View

First, take your finger and swipe down from the top of your phone. Swipe down again and you’ll see some of these built-in apps. Swipe to the right and what you’re looking for is Smart View. Press Smart View with your finger and it’s going to start projecting your phone.

Smart View
Smart View

 

Now go back to your computer. Type the Windows key and then type connect into box where you cursor is waiting at the bottom of the Start menu. After you type a few letters, the Connect app will be selected. Press enter to start it.

Search for Connect
Search for Connect
Connect app
Connect app

The Connect app will search for your phone’s signal that is being projecting by Smart View. Your phone and your computer will look for each other and then connect. That’s all. Two steps and we’re already pretty much done. You’ve projected your Android phone screen on to a computer running Windows 10.

Connect on the desktop
Connect on the desktop

Google Sheets – Count cells with text only – not numbers

If you’re using Google sheets and you want to count the number of cells in a range that have text in them, as in text and not a number value, there’s a relatively easy way to do it. But, there are some hiccups with it and so we’re going to go through the easy way and a way which is a little bit more complicated but is more accurate. This tutorial will show you why each one works and which to use.

COUNTIF any text
COUNTIF any text

The COUNTIF may be all you need

Column B has, we’re not going to count the header, two cells with text in it and we got that by using the formula COUNTIF. The syntax is =COUNTIF(B3:B8,"*") which counts any cells with characters in it. That’s what this wildcard character * means. You use the quotes to let Google Sheets know that it’s a character and the asterisks is a special character that means anything. So, this is counting cells if there’s anything. However, if you take a looked at the next column in the live spreadsheet or in the next image, you can see the value is 3 and not 2.

Watch the video

This site has a companion YouTube channel that has pretty much, well almost exactly, the same content. If you like this, you'll like that.

Dealing with empty spaces

COUNTIF unless empty space
COUNTIF unless empty space

If you’re using the simple COUNTIF formula and you’re getting a number that’s higher than it should be, you may have some cells that have an empty space in them. They have a value, but you can’t see it. In the image above, C8 has one empty space in it. If you want to count that then you’re done here. The COUNTIF function with the asterisk is all you need. But, if you don’t want to count empty spaces, then you can use the function that we have in C10, =COUNTIFS(C3:C8,"*",C3:C8,"<> "). COUNTIFS means count if but plural so there are multiple criteria to consider. The first part is the same COUNTIF if there’s any character. But, we are saying also if it’s not just a blank space. When you put these two together in this compound COUNTIFS function, it doesn’t count the blank space that’s in cell C8.

So, column B is the easy way if you don’t have blank spaces. But, if you do have spaces, you want to use COUNTIFS. Keep in mind though, that the COUNTIFS above is just skipping cells with one space, you will have to extend the function if you have cells with multiple spaces.

Last minute reminders

A few things to remember are if the cell has a true/false value that’s not going to count. If the cell starts with a single quote, no matter what it has, that is going to count. Numbers are not counted by this function unless they’re entered as text. So another way to enter a number as text is to do the single quote then type 333. That’s going to be counted because it’s not really a number, it’s the word if you will 333. I hope that’s helpful, thanks!

Follow image below for the live Google Sheet with this data

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Google Sheets – Count cells containing specific text

If you’re using Google Sheets and you want to count the occurrences of a certain letter or word, there’s a pretty easy function that you can use.

Looking for a word and only that word

In this first set of data in the image above, we will be counting any cells that contain the word “Yellow” and only that word. To count the occurance of the word yellow in the range B2 to B9 you can use the count COUNTIF function as such: =COUNTIF(B2:B9,"yellow"). It performs a conditional count. In this case, only if the cell or ranges of cells is equal to Yellow. Yellow is not case-sensitive so this is going to pick up three instances even though B7 is not capitalized. If the COUNTIF technique is doing everything you need, then you’re done and there is no need to try anything more involved.

Watch the video

This site has a companion YouTube channel that has pretty much, well almost exactly, the same content. If you like this, you'll like that.

Looking for a word occurring anywhere a cell

COUNTIF with wildcard
COUNTIF with wildcard

In this second set of data, things will get a little bit more complicated. We are looking for a certain word that occurs anywhere in any of these cells. First, you want to use COUNTIF again and give it a range =COUNTIF(C2:C9, "*Yellow*"). For this example, the range will be C2 to C9. If it has the word yellow and anything before which is what asterisk means, and anything after it which is the second asterisk, then it should be counted. It just has to have yellow in some part of it. Anything can be nothing so it can start or end with yellow too. This function is also counting 3 because of the yellow plane, the yellow car, and the little yellow boat.

I hope that was helpful and now you know the formula for counting any occurrences of any word that you’re looking for.

Follow image below for the live Google Sheet with this data

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Google Sheets – Count cells that are not blank

If you’re using Google sheets and you want to count the number of cells if they’re not blank, there are a couple different ways to do it and some complications that you might run into.

COUNTA ussualy works

I’m going to show you the easy way and a little bit harder way if you run into trouble. Let’s use COUNTA with the range from B3 to B9. The syntax, as also shown in the image above and the linked Google Sheet, is =COUNTA(B3:B9). This is the easy, straightforward way that’ll probably work most of the time. COUNTA is a built-in function. It will count any cell with a value and within the specified range. If that works for you, then you’re done. Don’t worry about it.

Video explanation

Longer formula
Longer formula

But, if we go to column C, things can get a little bit more complicated. This column looks like it has the same number of values, right? However, the COUNTA has the same range but is picking up seven instead of six. That’s happening because I snuck a blank space in C5. You may want to count this blank space since it is technically a value even though you cannot see it. If that’s the case, then then you’re done. COUNTA will work and the result is seven.

Longer function to not count white space

But, you may not want to count this blank cell. Accordingly, you may want to count what appears to have data in it, and you don’t really consider an empty space to be data. If this is the case, you have to use a more complicated formula. The function in cell C12, =SUMPRODUCT(--(LEN(C3:C9)>0)) is adding everything when the LEN function returns something greater than zero. LEN is counting the number of characters. The LEN function will not count the spaces that don’t really have any characters and, if that’s what you want, then that’s the way to get it done.

Now you have two different choices to count the number of cells that are not blank. A simple COUNTA for cells with no values at all, and the longer alternative, LEN, to excude the empty spaces from the count.

Follow image below for the live Google Sheet with this data

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