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But a Perfectly Good Workaround Exists
Some ask why the Planner development team have never created a Planner desktop app. A nice Planner mobile app is available and the browser app gets the job done without ever exciting the senses. I guess the reason why is down to two factors: first, resources available to create and support a desktop version across multiple OS (probably Windows 10/11 and macOS). Second, an easy workaround exists: install the Planner browser app as an app.
It’s surprising that Microsoft hasn’t made Planner available in the Microsoft Store using this approach, just like they did recently with the Microsoft Loop app. After installing Loop from the Microsoft Store, it shows up as an installed app in Edge (edge://apps/installed – Figure 1). There’s no difference between Loop and Planner or Twitter, the other web apps I use in this manner.
Install Planner as an App
Microsoft’s instructions to install web sites as apps are straightforward. Find the web site you want, select Install this site as an app from the Apps option in the […] menu, and decide if you want a desktop icon for the app or pin it to the taskbar, and that’s it. Ten seconds should do the job, even if you pace yourself. After that, launching the app will display the web site (in this case, a value like https://tasks.office.com/contoso.com/en-us/Home/Planner/) in its own window.
Figure 2 shows my Planner desktop app displaying the plan used by the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook team to track updates about new functionality and features posted in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Synchronizing message center notifications to become tasks in a target plan is an excellent way to keep track of changes within Microsoft 365.
Everything works exactly like it does in the browser. Which is what you’d expect given that the app is a wrapper around the web site. The convenience comes from Planner running in its own window and the ability to pin the app to the taskbar or desktop.
Guest Access to Planner
I work with Planner in several tenants. To access Planner, I use a private browsing session and a URL like https://tasks.office.com/xxx.onmicrosoft.com, where xxx is the name of the tenant’s service domain. It’s important to use a private browsing session as otherwise the connection to tasks.office.com will redirect and use Planner in your home tenant.
It would be nice to create an app for a guest session to Planner in another tenant. However, when you use a private session, the browser doesn’t offer the option to create an app for the web site. One workaround is to create a desktop shortcut as described in this article. For Edge, I have shortcuts pointing to targets like “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Edge\Application\msedge.exe” -Inprivate https://tasks.office.com/xxx.onmicrosoft.com.
Another workaround for guest access to Planner is to use the Tasks by Planner and To Do app in Teams. Given that Teams is a desktop app, using Tasks by Planner could be considered a Planner desktop app, if you wanted to stretch the point a tad.
Workaround Will Have to Serve as Planner Desktop App
Nothing is perfect and Microsoft 365 is certainly not perfect. There are too many moving parts in a state of constant change to allow Microsoft 365 or any individual app to approach perfection. In this case, the lack of a Planner desktop app might be viewed as an imperfection. But as discussed above, workarounds exist that close the gap. That’s as close as we can get for now.
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