June 24, 2019 – written by Monica Dragulski at Microsoft Tech Community

Planner comes with some pretty cool out-of-the-box tools for keeping your team on track. In-app features like red highlights for late tasks and color-coded labels provide visual cues for quickly finding tasks that need attention. There’s also the Charts view, which gives you different visual representations of progress, especially now with charts filtering.

But there may be times when the simplicity of these tools—and simplicity is our goal with Planner—isn’t quite enough. For more robust plan options, you can now export your entire plan to Microsoft Excel. From conducting more detailed analysis to sharing your plan’s status, Export to Excel gives you a broad range of additional capabilities for keeping your plan on schedule and your plan’s stakeholders up to date.

Exporting your plan to Excel is just a couple clicks away—literally. Within the Planner web app, click the “…” at the top of the screen, then select “Export plan to Excel.” And you’re done. Your plan will automatically download as an Excel file to your machine.

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The downloaded file includes just about all the details from your plan (e.g., assigned to, start and due dates, description, labels, and more), with each task getting its own row in the spreadsheet. The top of the sheet includes all-up plan information, including plan name, plan ID, and date of export to ensure you’re looking at the latest information.

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There are countless use cases for Export to Excel. Below are just few scenarios to help you get started with this newest Microsoft 365 integration.

Archiving: Excel can provide a simple method for archiving your completed plans. Export all your plan details to Excel, store that Excel file somewhere safe (like OneDrive for Business), and purge that plan from Planner to keep your hub clean and organized.

Analysis: The use cases here are nearly endless. Choosing from a host of Excel’s analysis tools, you can quickly find outliers in your plan; take inventory of completed tasks, which are hidden by default in Planner; sort and filter based on elements not available with Planner chart filters, like who created the task and the task checklist items; build PivotTables and helpful graphs, like Burndown Charts; and, much, much more. Plus, connecting Excel data to Power BI is easier than ever today, giving you yet another option for visualizing critical plan details.

Merging plans: There are almost certainly plans in your hub that are somehow related; maybe they share the same executive team or are part of a multi-year strategic initiative. There’s no way to analyze these plans together in Planner—but you can in Excel. By exporting each plan to Excel individually, and then manually merging those files into a single spreadsheet, you can surface new insights about related plans.

Printing: Excel gives you a tabular view of your plan details that may be easier to consume for some as a printed document than a Planner plan board.

Sharing: There’s currently no way to give access to only some parts of your Planner plan—someone either has access to all of it or they don’t have access at all. This works fine in most cases, but there may be times when you want to share a plan’s status without also sharing all its minute details. Export to Excel can help you do just that. By bringing your plan into Excel, you can easily delete the columns of information you don’t want to disseminate. This can be particularly useful for giving a high-level plan summary to executives without bogging them down with unnecessarily details (or adding them to yet another plan).

These are just a few of our ideas of how Export to Excel can help you get more out of Planner—but we want to hear how you’re using it! Leave us a comment below on your experiences so far. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve features like this one and your input for doing that is crucial. Send us ideas for future integration capabilities or enhancements to current ones, like adding the ability to import items from Excel back into Planner, through our UserVoice site. And keep visiting Tech Community for all the latest Planner news and to engage directly with the Microsoft Planner team.

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