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Hidden Gem: Color Coded Task Timeline

In SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online, you may have noticed on the About Me page, there is a Tasks link in the Quick Launch.  It takes you to a page that looks something like this:


This list of tasks not only shows you your own personal list of tasks, it shows you all tasks from EVERYWHERE IN SHAREPOINT, all rolled up in one place!  Also, if you have Exchange 2013, you can show all tasks from both Exchange and SharePoint here.  Here are a few tidbits to start out with:

  • Tasks are grouped by the name of the site that they exist on.
  • There is built in conditional formatting that shows overdue incomplete items in red.
  • There is a checkbox next to each task to be able to quickly mark it as complete, which automatically sets the task status field to completed.
  • There is a little exclamation mark next to each task, to quickly mark some as important.  This is not related to the task priority field at all, though.
  • When you click the ellipsis next to any task, a pretty pop up shows more info, and you can add to or remove the task from the timeline.

There are also several views of this list, which I’ll expound upon here:

Important and Upcoming

This view shows a timeline at the top (and it’s color coded per task list).  All of the tasks with the red exclamation mark for important are shown at the top, and the upcoming ones (14 days is the default) are shown below.


This view is shown in the first screenshot at the top of this post.  These are tasks that are incomplete.


This is the list of your completed tasks

Recently Added

Tasks will show in this view for 1 day after they have been added or modified.

The Views Ellipsis

When you click the ellipsis next to the names of views, just like everywhere else in SharePoint 2013, you’ll see the names of more views that aren’t already displayed.  You have some filter options.  The items listed here are the various task lists that are being rolled up.

But wait, there’s more!

Take a look at the Tasks tab in the ribbon! (seen above)  There are more options there.  As usual, there are multiple ways in SharePoint to get the same thing done.  Here is where you can quickly complete tasks, mark them complete, etc.  You can also choose whether or not to show tasks as grouped by project, or connect this list to Outlook.


The settings button has a plethora of options available, and this leads to the title of this blog post.  There’s color coding!

All of the settings in here are fairly self-explanatory.  And of course you can change which color represents each task list!  When you click on each color box itself, it brings up an interface that lets you choose any color in the color wheel.

When go back to the task list and click Edit Page on the Page tab in the ribbon, and open the properties of the tasks web part (Edit Web Part), this is where I have a couple more options.

There is a drop-down box that lists all of the views that exist on that task list (rollup of task lists), and you can pick which one you want to be the default.

Show refresh status will show the date and time at the bottom of the task list, which indicates when it was last updated.

Show View Selector will let you determine whether or not to allow end users to switch between views.

You can also use this web part anywhere in SharePoint!

If you’re not familiar with exporting and importing web parts, here are the instructions:

  1. Go to the Tasks page on your About Me site.  Click Edit Page on the Page tab.
  2. At the top right corner of the Tasks web part, click the little black drop-down box and choose Export…
  3. Save this .webpart file to your desktop or something, and remember where you put it.
  4. Go to some other page in your SharePoint environment, your intranet homepage or anything.
  5. On the Page tab, click Edit Page.
  6. Click to Insert a web part.  On the left side where all of the web part categories are listed, click Upload a Web Part.
  7. Click the Browse button and navigate to the .webpart file that you saved at step 3.  Click Upload.
  8. Click to Insert a web part again.  This time the first category in the list of categories will be Imported Web parts, and you’ll see your web part in there.  Use the Add button (toward the right) to add it to your page.

Note that when this web part has been placed on another page like this, none of the links to the views will work anymore.  This will be a great time to use the setting I covered above in the web part properties (Edit Web Part), UNCHECK ShowViewSelector.

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