Blog Post

Productivity Tip: Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts in Google Tasks

Picture 6I really like Google Tasks (s goog). It’s free, easy to use, and well integrated with Gmail and Google Calendar, yet it’s flexible enough that it can be adapted for use as part of a Getting Things Done (GTD) system. Unlike many web apps, it has some very handy keyboard shortcuts built in, which can make it much faster to use and give you a real productivity boost. It’s well worth learning these shortcuts, particularly if you use Tasks a lot:

  • Tab: Moves the current task to the right (makes the task a sub-task).
  • Shift+Tab: Moves the task to the left.
  • Ctrl (Win)/Cmd (Mac) + Up/Down: Moves the task up or down the list.
  • Shift + Enter: Edits the current task.
  • Alt + Enter: Marks a task as complete (will also mark a completed task as incomplete).
  • Alt + Shift + Enter: Removes completed task from the list.
  • Esc: Closes Tasks.
  • Shift + Esc: Switches focus from Tasks to Gmail.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a shortcut for moving tasks between lists, which is something that I would find very useful with my GTD system. Tasks has been getting some nice, incremental improvements recently that make it into a very useful task manager (Calendar integration and last week’s addition of the ability to export task lists via email, for example); better keyboard shortcuts would be the icing on the cake.

Bonus tip: While in Gmail hit G then K, which will open Tasks and switch the focus to it. (This will only work if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled — the option is available on the Settings page.) You can also create a task from the current message using Shift + T.

If you’ve found any hidden keyboard shortcuts in Tasks, let us know in the comments.

10 Responses to “Productivity Tip: Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts in Google Tasks”

  1. When you create a new task from an email with Shift+t, the task is highlighted but is not editable.

    Is there a keyboard shortcut to shift focus to the task so that it becomes editable?


  2. Thank you for this post! and the great tip on Canvas!

    I found that Google has made these operations “toggle”:

    – Shift-Enter “List” mode puts you into “Edit Details”
    – Shift-Enter in “Edit Details” mode puts you back to “List”
    – Alt-Enter toggles task as complete / incomplete
    – To create a task – Just hit “Enter”

  3. Thanks for the pointer to the Canvas layout. It will be helpful.

    With Super iGoogle, an extension, I was able to remove the wasted real estate in iGoogle, and set up 6 Task windows for multiple lists in the main iGoogle area. This is one of several iGoogle page layouts I can select from the left sidebar.

    This would be greater if you could drag and drop tasks between task windows.

    I’d love to find a shortcut key to go to the task details and back.

    • This shortcut no longer works:
      “Alt + Shift + Enter: Removes completed task from the list”

      Are there others? I haven’t found any. I sure hope Google is still developing this. “Remember the Milk” was too complex for me, and too ugly.

      For a full screen version of Tasks, google for the “canvas” version” — very nice.

      I also put Tasks in my sidebar (Firefox) — see Lifehacker if you don’t know how (very easy). This way I can have one Task list open in the bowser window using , and a second list in the sidebar.

      Anyone else with tips/tricks?