Nowadays, I manage my todo list in a paper notebook. But when I did use a digital tool for that job, my todo list app of choice was Todo.txt. It’s a command line tool that save tasks lists as plain text. And although using Todo.txt means jumping to the terminal, it’s not too difficult to use and master.
Over the years, I’ve tried a few graphical applications that work with Todo.txt. Most were, to be blunt, clunky. I always returned to Todo.txt at the command line.
Recently, though, I came across TxDx. It’s a desktop application that implements full compatibility with the Todo.txt syntax. The user interface is clean and modern, but definitely not clunky.
Let’s take a look at it.
You can install TxDx in a couple of ways on Linux:
- From your distribution’s software centre, or
- As a snap
Once you have TxDx on your computer, fire it up. Here’s what you see the first time you use it:
Click the Select Your TxDx Folder button to let the application know where to save the text files that will contain your tasks.
Now, you’re ready to add tasks, as shown below:
Click the + icon. A pop up, in which you can add tasks displays, as shown below:
In addition to a description of the task, you can add a due date (by clicking the date on the right side of the pop up), and select a colour code to make the task stand out.
When you’re done, press Enter. Keep doing that until you’ve added all of your tasks. The tasks are saved in a file call todo.txt in the folder you specified when you started TxDx for the first time.
When you’ve completed a task, click the checkbox beside it. You can also click the Archive button in the header to move the completed task out of the task list and into a file called archive.txt.
Using Todo.txt’s Syntax with Your Tasks
You can use some additional notation to add a context and a priority to you tasks. To add:
- Context, enter
@followed by a one-word description of what the task pertains to — for example,
- A priority, enter A, B, C, or D (surrounded by parentheses) before your task — for example,
(B) Pick up new USB-C charging cable.
If you’re familiar with a productivity system called Getting Things Done (GTD, for short), this syntax will be familiar to you. If, like me, you’re not a GTD person you can not use the syntact or learn more about it here and here.
How TxDx Organizes Your Tasks
It does that by date (newest tasks at the top) and by putting tasks in the folders Today (for tasks with no due date) or Upcoming (for tasks due in the future). TxDx also enables you to filter by priority or context. Here’s an example of TxDx with a few tasks added:
Click on a folder on the right side of the window, or by clicking a context.
TxDx has a handful of setting that you can change by clicking Settings in the bottom left of the window. This screen displays:
These are some of the options that you can set:
- What to show when you start the application — all tasks, upcoming tasks, or tasks tagged with specific contexts.
- The number of days worth of upcoming tasks to view.
- How TxDx sorts your tasks.
- The day on which your week starts.
For most people, the defaults are probably enough.
If I ever go back to using a todo list application on the desktop, I’ll definitely turn to TxDx. It’s simple and minimal enough to suit my needs, and it doesn’t get in my way. What more can I ask of any desktop tool?