What is Microsoft Planner and how to use it?

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Microsoft Planner is a web-based visual task management tool that comes with Microsoft 365. The application is available to premium, business, and educational subscribers to Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Planner is a team-work oriented tool that can be used in a variety of ways. Some of Planner’s uses include team management, file sharing, and organization. On June 6, 2016, Microsoft made the application available for general release and rolled it out over the first few weeks to eligible subscription plans. Microsoft Planner is available through the App store and the Google Play store, as well as on a computer. This means that Microsoft Planner is widely accessible. To start accessing Microsoft planner, you need a Microsoft 365 account.


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Planner comes standard with each the following subscriptions:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Office 365 E1
  • Office 365 E3
  • Office 365 E5
  • Office 365 F3
  • Microsoft 365 A1
  • Microsoft 365 E3
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 F1
  • Microsoft 365 F3

Note: If your current subscription doesn’t include Planner, the only way to get Planner is to switch to a subscription that does.

Planner is not project management tool, like Microsoft Project, it is a task management tool that can be used with Project or other tools to improve work management and team collaboration for projects.

When creating a new plan, you have couple of options to choose from:

  • Create completely blank Plan.


  • Use one of the pre-created for you templates.


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Features of Microsoft Planner

Planner is a tool designed especially for project managers and their teams. This task management application provides a collaborative, visual way to manage the various tasks of a project. It also includes visual task tracking charts that show progress.

Planner enables teams to create content-rich tasks, organized in buckets with all required details to provide visibility and simplify management. Project managers can add details, such as task due date, as well as additional elements, like color-coded labels, files, notes, priority, labels, check list etc. to help members plan and execute their work.


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Some of the key features of Planner are the following:

  • Kanban board: Kanban boards are a visual task management tool that let you assign work, track task completion and reduce lead time by using boards, cards and columns.
  • To-do list: Simple task lists can be used to prioritize work and enter task information.
  • Schedule view: The schedule view allows users to view all their tasks on a calendar.
  • Group and filter tasks: Filter your tasks by deadline and see what work is coming due soon.
  • Collaborative task management: My Tasks shows all your tasks, and team members can comment and attach files on the task in Outlook, Outlook Groups, Teams and more.
  • Assign a task to several team members: Unlike some other task management tools, you can assign tasks to more than one person.
  • Give users access to the tool: If you’re working on a project and want to bring in a vendor, contractor or stakeholder to see what’s going on, you can add external access.
  • Import Microsoft Planner into Outlook: You can put your Microsoft Planner into your Outlook through the iCalendar feed, which helps facilitate scheduling and time management.
  • Get email notifications: There are also email notifications that keep users on track by alerting them of coming deadlines.


Apart from Kanban board style view you can view all the tasks in a Grid view, which is more preferred view from most of the project managers because they are able to view all the tasks, which tasks are in progress, which are still not started, if a task or tasks are behind the due date or if a single user is overloaded with too many tasks:


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Charts tab represents all the tasks in a pie, bar and column charts, which is more convenient view for business stake holders and decision makers who can contribute to the team efforts and success by adding or removing workforce.


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Schedule tab gives you a calendar overview of all tasks (in progress, not started, behind the due date, start and end date etc.) in the current plan. It allows you as well the see the tasks for a week or month, edit, update, delete or re-assign the tasks if necessary.


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How to use Planner in Microsoft Teams?

If you’re using Microsoft Teams, you can organize your tasks by adding one or more Planner tabs to a team channel. You can then work on your plan from within Teams or in Planner for web, remove or delete your plan, and get notified in Teams when a task is assigned to you in Planner.


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It is very easy to add or create a new plan in Microsoft Teams channel, you just need to click on the + symbol and type planner in the search field. The Microsoft Teams app changed the name from Planner to Tasks by Planner and To Do. And you are ready to manage your plan and tasks within Teams.


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The Tasks by Planner and To Do app provides notifications for Planner tasks which will show up in your Teams activity feed both on your desktop and in the Teams mobile app. You’ll get a notification when:

  • Someone else assigns a task to you.
  • Someone else assigns an urgent task to you.
  • Someone else makes a task assigned to you urgent.
  • Someone else makes a task assigned to you not urgent.
  • Someone else changes the progress of a task assigned to you.
  • Someone removes you from a task’s assignees.


Microsoft Planner limits

Plan limits

Maximum active tasks in a plan2400
Maximum buckets in a plan200
Maximum plans owned by a group or user200
Maximum plans that a user can subscribe to delta-sync for300
Maximum tasks in a plan9000
Maximum users that can subscribe to delta-sync for a plan100
Maximum contexts on a plan10
Maximum favorite plans for a user30


Task limit

Maximum assignees in a task20
Maximum checklist items in a task20
Maximum references on a task10
Maximum tasks assigned to a user3000
Maximum tasks created by a user20000
Maximum user-data count in user details10


Can people outside of my organization get invited to participate in a plan?

Yes. Guest access allows you to invite people who aren’t part of your Microsoft 365 organization to participate in a plan. Guest users will have limited functionality, but can perform the following tasks:

  • Create and delete tasks and buckets.
  • Edit task fields.
  • Attach a file or link to a task, if given additional permission.
  • Edit the plan name.



Microsoft Planner is perfect for visually managing task-based efforts across a team. Everything your team needs to organize a marketing campaign, internal budget review, or small event is set out on a traditional Kanban board. Each task on that board contains all the necessary details – due dates, comments, attachments, color-coded labels, and more – in one place, while prebuilt charts graphically summarize the status of your entire plan. With Planner, your team has an intuitive, visual, and collaborative app for getting work done or managing workflows.

If you still need assistance about Planner do not hesitate to contact us, we from Impactory GmbH have skilled Microsoft 365 professionals that will work with you, analyze your business needs and offer you the best solution for your organization.


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