If you are an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 user - there are no shortage of tools to help you get your work done. You've got Microsoft Planner for lightweight group projects, Microsoft To-Do for personal tasks and to-dos, and Microsoft Lists can be customized to create shared project plans, tasks lists (or anything else your heart desires!).
A question we recently received from a customer is: "Can I create a template for Microsoft Planner?". They had built out a great multi-step task list that needed to be used again and again. They really didn't want to have to manually re-create each task and sub-task.
When Planner was released circa-2017, this was a big ask. We had (kind of) built this out for other customers using Microsoft Flow (now Power Automate), but it was clunky and prone to error.
So, can you create a plan from a template in Microsoft Planner?
The straight answer: Yes, you can create a template in Microsoft Planner, but you must get a bit creative. Remember: When you create a new plan in Planner, you are also creating a Microsoft 365 group - so you need to think through your process to avoid creating a bunch of unnecessary groups and cluttering up your Microsoft 365 tenant.
How to create a template in Microsoft Planner
Step 1: Create a plan in Planner just the way you like it. We won't go into the details of creating a plan here (because it's straight forward). If you need help - check out this link from Microsoft Documentation. Go ahead and include your attachments*, dates, priorities, labels, steps - whatever you need to copy.
Step 2: After you've got it just right, go to Planner Hub at https://tasks.office.com.
Step 3: Find the plan that you want to use as your template in the hub and press the three little dots in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 4: Click copy plan.
Step 5: Name the plan. Choose the items that you want to include (Priority, Dates, Description, Checklist, and Labels. (Yes! labels move too!). *To copy attachments, you must be creating the plan in it's original group. Task assignments are not copied - so you will need to re-assign tasks!
Step 6: Important: If you want to create a new Group, then choose "New Group", if you want to include the Plan in an existing Group (or team), then choose the Group from the dropdown. This will inherit the permissions of the Group, so think carefully.
Step 7: Choose Copy Plan. It can take a few minutes to copy your plan, so be patient. :)
That's it! You've now created a new plan in Planner without having to retype everything.
FAQS about copying plans for creating Microsoft Planner Templates
1) If you have completed tasks or checklists in your template source, they will not be marked as completed after it is copied.
2) If you copy the plan to an existing Microsoft 365 Group, it will be mixed in with the other plans for that Group.
3) You can pin each copied plan to the appropriate channel. Just add a tab like you normally would in Teams, choose "Tasks by Planner", choose "Use an existing plan from this team" and then choose your plan from the dropdown.