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

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

Updated February 24, 2021

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, Effective February 24, Planner supports up to 25 labels instead of the previous six. (see Figure 2).

Planner will also has customized backgrounds (delivered in January 2021) and is due to get 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. I totally overlooked the advent of “confetti” in Planner, used to sign when a final item in a checklist is achieved or when a task is complete, as well as a checklist completion bar to show progress as you work through a set of tasks.

Details of the arrival of 25 labels for Planner are in MC241349 published on February 24. I can’t recall seeing details of the confetti and progress bar being published in a message center notification. Such is life. You need to keep a wary eye out in many places to learn what’s happening in Planner.


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!

22 Replies to “Microsoft Improves Labels for Planner Tasks. More Upgrades On the Way”

  1. It’s January 2021, have more labels been added to Microsoft Planner? I still only see six. Thank you

    1. Still see six. But Microsoft traditionally doesn’t do much work from December 18 or thereabouts, so let’s give them January to see if the feature is delivered.

  2. Looking for additional feedback on adding the function to edit/delete in comments for :Tasks by Planner and To Do”

    1. Yeah Me too – loving the choice of colours but not liking the inability manage them effectively

  3. I can see the addition labels when I try to filter however can’t figure out to rename them or for them to appear in the task list. Has this been done tet? If so, how do I rename and get them to appear? Thanks

    1. I fell like this is to give us a sense of hope that it will be soon, when really this will just be a tease for another year. :-/

    1. Yep. I updated the post on Feb 24 after the 25 labels, complete with new colors, turned up in my tenant.

  4. I can see the labels and edit them. However when I try to apply any other than the original six, they immediately vanish from the task.

    1. I suggest you sign out of Planner and sign back in again. That usually fixes glitches like this.

  5. It would be great to be able to filter the labels both with “or” and “and” !

  6. It is great to have more labels, but i’m not able to rename the labels anymore. The little “pen” have disappeared both in Planner Webapp and “Tasks by planner and Todo in MS Teams”.

    1. Sorry i had forgotten the about the odd design that you need to open an activity card search for labels and edit there! A more intuitive way for edit labels would be to have a “pen” in the label selection table “outside” of the card!

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