Outlook contains some automatic formatting rules to help you manage your Task list. For example, when a task is overdue it turns red. When you mark it as completed it gets crossed through.

But you can do so much more to make your Task list so much easier to view.

In my Outlook view, when a task is overdue it turns bright pink. When a task is due today it turns red. When it is completed it gets crossed through and moved to a separate group at the bottom of the screen. If a task is marked with High Importance it turns bold. If a task has no Due Date it is underlined to remind to set it up properly.

To change your views, go to your Task view (CTRL+4) and right-click on a blank space in the list and choose Customize Current View. Then hit Automatic Formatting and you'll see the five rules that exist in Outlook by default. You cannot easily delete these but you can customise their result by changing the font formatting they invoke. So try changing the overdue task colour from red to pink.

To add a view, hit the Add button, give your new rule a name then customise to your heart's content. Start out by making today's tasks highly visible (red for example). This is a really smart idea, especially if you work to tight deadlines. Once you've done this create another rule for High Importance tasks, say, to make them bold.

The order of your rules is important as each rule supplements the previous rule. So leave everything in the formatting on automatic, except for the one bit you wish to change for that particular rule. That way if you have done everything outlined in the previous paragraph, any task that is due today and marked with high importance will show up as red in bold. Neat!