Microsoft Improves Labels for Planner Tasks. More Upgrades On the Way

Planner Has Poor Record of Notifying Office 365 Tenants About New Features

As has become the norm with Planner, another change has crept into the application without anything being notified to Office 365 tenants. It’s a continuation of a sequence including:

Some of these are small changes which probably don’t deserve much highlighting because they are small evolutionary steps, but it’s a pity that Planner doesn’t do more to let people know what they’re up to.

Better Labels

Take a change that showed up in my tenant this week. Planner has always had the ability to add up to six colored labels to a task to mark the task in a way chosen by plan members. Some use the labels to give different levels of urgency to a task, others to mark the task as being in a certain category. It’s up to you. Figure 1 shows the old-style Planner labels, which pop-out of the right-hand side of a task.

Old-style Planner labels
Figure 1: Old-style Planner labels

The new method of accessing and applying labels is better. The old approach was often hidden to users, who can now simply use the Add label option when editing a task to view the set of labels available in the plan and choose the labels they wish to apply to a task (Figure 2).

Planner's new labels
Figure 2: Planner’s new labels

Like in the past, any member of a plan can edit the text name given to a label. There’s no way for the plan owner to lock the names assigned to labels. This is a curious omission because it’s entirely possible that a member can edit a label to give it a completely different meaning to its previous use.

In any case, labels are now more accessible and easier to use, so it’s a good change.

Changes Coming to Planner

More changes are coming to Planner. According to the Get more done with Microsoft Planner session in the Microsoft Technical Community video hub, Planner will soon support up to 25 labels instead of the current six. Planner will also get customized backgrounds and a more intelligent way of selecting files to attach to tasks. The Teams integration with Planner will allow users to create new tasks from any chat or channel conversation through the Create task option in the […] menu.

Hopefully, the Planner team will remember to notify tenants when these features become generally available.


Details, details, details… So much changes in so many ways across all the Office 365 apps on an ongoing basis. Stay current by subscribing to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook!

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