Microsoft Planner is a task-management application designed to help users better manage team projects. It has applications for making plans, delegating tasks, sharing files, and collaborating on projects, as well as receiving regular updates on team members’ progress.

Planner uses task cards within a Kanban board interface, which aids Project Managers and other users with task management. This platform includes various visual task-management tools, such as charts to help users track progress, as well as a chat feature so that Planner users can collaborate in real-time. Every time a new plan is created in Planner, a corresponding group in Office 365 is created as well. 

Each plan created in Planner is given its own board in which tasks can be sorted into buckets. Tasks can be organized based on their completion status or who is working on them. When assignments change or progress on a project is updated, simply drag and drop a task into a different column. 

In addition to small businesses, many large organizations currently use Microsoft Planner to help them manage projects, such as Mediterranean Shipping Company and NASCAR. This application can be used on desktop computers as well as mobile devices.

Main Features of Microsoft Planner

Those working on a project rely on the following features of Planner to ensure that all work is assigned, completed, and documented:

  • Schedule view provides users with a way to see all of the tasks on their calendars. This feature is especially helpful for those who wish to have a more complete understanding of the project as a whole so that they can plan ahead. In addition, drag-and-drop scheduling can be used when seeing tasks in weekly or monthly views.
  • Assign a task to several team members enables users to assign a task to multiple team members. 
  • Group & filter tasks helps to sort tasks by their due date and see upcoming deadlines. Tasks can also be filtered based on when they are due to provide an overview of looming deadlines so that work can be completed accordingly.
  • Get email notifications provides users with reminders of looming deadlines. Each email notification contains a brief summary of which tasks must be completed in the upcoming week.
  • My tasks presents an overview of all user tasks. It also provides a way for team members to provide comments or attach files to a task using Teams, Outlook, or Outlook Groups. 
  • External user access is another helpful collaboration feature of Planner. It facilitates exchanges not only with internal team members but also with others who are not on the team, such as partners, contractors, or vendors. Guest users must be given access, then they can interact with a project plan, make and delete buckets or tasks, or change task fields or plan names.

Integrating Planner with Other Microsoft Apps

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Another way Planner lends itself to collaborative endeavors is that it can easily integrate with other apps and experiences that are part of the Microsoft 365 family. Planner connects seamlessly with Microsoft PowerPoint, Outlook, To Do, Word, Excel, and Teams:

  • Microsoft To Do provides users with a helpful way to stay on top of their individual tasks. This application incorporates intelligent features that help users gather, prioritize, and then complete the most pressing tasks in the most logical order. When sending project-related emails, they can be flagged or dropped directly into a Microsoft To Do pane, which allows users to use Outlook to directly manage tasks.
  • Microsoft Teams provides users with a way to view all their tasks in To Do and Planner using the “Tasks” feature in Teams. In addition, tasks can be created from Team messages. 
  • Tasks can easily be created and assigned using @mentions in comments in Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. In addition, email notifications are delivered when a user is given a new task. They can see a document preview and use Outlook to send a direct reply to the sender.
  • The “Import Planner into Outlook” feature in Planneris designed to help users insert Planner directly into Microsoft Outlook via the iCalendar feed. Not only does this help with scheduling, but also is a powerful time-management tool.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Using Microsoft Planner


Microsoft Planner provides many benefits to those working on team projects: 

  • Notifications are sent to Planner users when they are given a new task to complete or threaded into a conversation. 
  • The user interface is accessible and intuitive.
  • Planner ensures that tasks are organized and that all team members are kept in the loop about project progress.
  • Planner is a helpful tool for remotely monitoring team members’ progress.
  • Because it’s native to Microsoft, Planner makes it easy to manage tasks across Microsoft apps. 


There are also a few drawbacks that Project Managers and team members should consider when using Planner:

  • Some users feel that Planner is a more useful application for Team Managers or Project Managers than it is for team members. It can even complicate the workload for team members in that it requires them to regularly check the app to ensure that they haven’t missed an update. 
  • It’s not possible to create sub-tasks when using Planner.
  • Some users with the mobile Planner app was more user-friendly. 
  • It can take time to set up Planner, as well as to learn how best to leverage this tool. In addition, it may be challenging for some users to integrate this app with other software.

Despite the few above-mentioned drawbacks, Microsoft Project is a powerful, helpful application with a variety of uses to help all of those involved in a project successfully complete it on time.

Learn More About Microsoft Office with Hands-On Classes

Proficiency in Microsoft Office can open professional doors across industries, as well as lead to upward career mobility. A great way to begin learning about Microsoft Office is to sign up for one of Noble Desktop’s Microsoft Office courses. These small group classes are offered in-person in Manhattan, as well as in the live online format. For students and professionals on the go, there are also in-person and live online Microsoft Office courses available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to three days and costing between $229 and $1,785. You can also browse in-person Microsoft Office classes in a city near you.

In addition, for those who wish to learn more about project management, look no further than Noble Desktop’s Microsoft Project classes. If you are in the Manhattan area, there are several in-person Project courses available from Noble Desktop and its affiliate schools.