Which to use when: To-Do & Planner

Let me start by saying, there is no infographic here. This is a super quick and concise post to explain when to use To-Do or Planner in simple terms.

Why is this needed? Because this week Microsoft To-Do released two new features that overlap with Planner functionality: List Sharing and Steps.

List Sharing

This is as simple as it sounds; you can now share lists with other people. Microsoft says this is for colleagues, friends or family.

I genuinely don’t know why you would be using To-Do for friends or family, given there are a plethora of significantly more advanced task management systems that integrate with others (eg. Any.do, Todoist, and even Wunderlist which is slowly dying under Microsoft’s ownership). To give it some context; I use Office 365 in my personal life (as in full E5 suite) but use Todoist as the task management system for my wife and I as it integrates with Alexa. Anyway, I digress. (Sorry To-Do product team, but this is the reality of killing Wunderlist.)


This is another name for subtasks. Or as they are called in Planner; checklist items.

Sounds like To-Do can do some of the things Planner can. Why should I use it?

I’ll make this as simple as possible: To-Do is to OneDrive as Planner is to SharePoint.

In OneDrive we can share files with other people and collaborate with them while the content resides in our OneDrive location.

However, in SharePoint we collaborate with team members, with all of them has access to everything in the site.

The same goes with To-Do and Planner:

If I want to share a list of tasks with one or more individuals – I’ll do it with To-Do.

But if I want to work with colleagues on a project or activities in a collaborative fashion – I’ll use Planner. Not to mention that a Planner is generally tied to an Office 365 Groups group and/or Microsoft Teams team, so brings with it a lot of other functionality we can use to work together on.

For those who want a graphic, here you go:

Also published on Medium.


  1. This is a great article. What has been the experience talking to people about differentiating “To do” and “Tasks”

    1. Thanks Sam!
      Realistically it comes down to front end experience. If you like the task management features of Outlook – use that. If you want the app with the ability to have things like “My Day” – use To-Do. I actually guide people towards using To-Do anyway, as many that I speak to don’t even know of or use the Tasks feature in Outlook so this presents a new opportunity for them. Me personally I use the To-Do app pinned to the front screen of my phone, and have also pinned it to my Start menu and tray bars in Windows.

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