taskwarrior

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Taskwarrior (task) is a to-do list manager for the command line written in C++. It uses a simple human readable text file format to store to-do list items and associated metadata. Taskwarrior isn't tied to a specific school of thought on task organization. It's designed to be simple yet flexible and scalable. As such, Taskwarrior has a syntax that is simple and intuitive.

Notable features include:

  • Data is stored locally in JSON files, easing migration to and from Taskwarror.
  • Interactions can be scripted via Taskwarrior's Hooks API.
  • Multiple UI options are available as part of the Taskwarrior ecosystem.
  • When paired with app-misc/taskd, tasks can be shared with multiple remote client applications.

Installation

Emerge

root #emerge --ask app-misc/task

Configuration

Environment variables

  • $TASKRC allows the user to relocate the .taskrc configuration file to a desired directory.
  • $TASKDATA allows the user to relocate the .task data file to a desired directory.

Modifying these variables is not required to enforce XDG Base Directory Support. If you've installed task warrior and it's ignoring you XDG preferences see the troubleshooting section.

Files

  • ~/.config/task/taskrc — XDG local (per user) configuration file.
  • ~/.local/share/task/* — XDG task list directory with tasks spread across multiple files.
  • ~/.taskrc — legacy local (per user) configuration file.
  • ~/.task/* — legacy local (per user) task list directory with tasks spread across multiple files.

Service

By itself, Taskwarrior is a single device application allowing all users on the device to have their own personal tasks lists. However, the Taskserver daemon provides a backend task server which provides for multiuser and multiclient support. Some smartphone applications, notably Foreground for Android, have begun to support this.

Usage

Basic usage is fairly intuitive, to list your exiting to-do items:

user $task
ID Age  Project         Tag       Due      Description                                Urg 
¯¯ ¯¯¯  ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯     ¯¯¯¯¯¯    ¯¯¯¯¯¯   ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
1  2w   gentoo-wiki               ~1mo     Add basic usage to ledger article          2.6
2  1w   friends                    5d      Buy sam_ and ris a beer                    1.4
3  3d   home                               Clean out the garage.                      0.2

To add a new task, simply type task add <task description> setting a due date and a project are optional but common for task organization purposes. Due dates do not necessarily require exact numeric dates. Taskwarrior has several human readable aliases such as eom for "end of month" and days of the week from which Taskwarrior can work out the date.

user $task add Pay the utility bills due:eom project:home

To complete a task you need to reference its task number:

user $task 1 done

Task completion and task deletion aren't the same thing. In the former case, the task is moved a "completed" state but a record of it remains. If a task is deleted it is removed from the database. To delete an erroneously created task:

user $task 3 del

To generate a simple report for all tasks associated with a specific project task project:<project name> list. So, if you have an existing project called home and you want a list of all the associated tasks the command and its output should look something like this:

user $task project:home list
ID Age  Project     Tag       Due          Description                                Urg 
¯¯ ¯¯¯  ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ ¯¯¯¯¯¯    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯   ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
3  3d   home                               Clean out the garage                       0.2
4  1h   home                  2023-04-30   Pay the utility bills                      0.1

Taskwarrior has many features burred below the surface. Numerous potential workflows are supported. The official Taskwarrior documentation is full of detail rich examples on how to get the most out of it.

Invocation

user $task help
Usage: task                                Runs rc.default.command, if
                                           specified.
       task <filter> active                Active tasks
       task          add <mods>            Adds a new task
       task <filter> all                   All tasks
       task <filter> annotate <mods>       Adds an annotation to an existing
                                           task
       task <filter> append <mods>         Appends text to an existing task
                                           description
       task <filter> blocked               Blocked tasks
       task <filter> blocking              Blocking tasks
       task <filter> burndown.daily        Shows a graphical burndown chart, by
                                           day
       task <filter> burndown.monthly      Shows a graphical burndown chart, by
                                           month
       task <filter> burndown.weekly       Shows a graphical burndown chart, by
                                           week
       task          calc <expression>     Calculator
       task          calendar [due|<month> Shows a calendar, with due tasks
       <year>|<year>] [y]                  marked
       task          colors [sample |      All colors, a sample, or a legend
       legend]
       task          columns [substring]   All supported columns and formatting
                                           styles
       task          commands              Generates a list of all commands,
                                           with behavior details
       task <filter> completed             Completed tasks
       task          config [name [value | Change settings in the task
       '']]                                configuration
       task          context [<name> |     Set and define contexts (default
       <subcommand>]                       filters / modifications)
       task <filter> count                 Counts matching tasks
       task <filter> delete <mods>         Deletes the specified task
       task <filter> denotate <pattern>    Deletes an annotation
       task          diagnostics           Platform, build and environment
                                           details
       task <filter> done <mods>           Marks the specified task as completed
       task <filter> duplicate <mods>      Duplicates the specified tasks
       task <filter> edit                  Launches an editor to modify a task
                                           directly
       task          execute <external     Executes external commands and
       command>                            scripts
       task <filter> export [<report>]     Exports tasks in JSON format
       task <filter> ghistory.annual       Shows a graphical report of task
                                           history, by year
       task <filter> ghistory.daily        Shows a graphical report of task
                                           history, by day
       task <filter> ghistory.monthly      Shows a graphical report of task
                                           history, by month
       task <filter> ghistory.weekly       Shows a graphical report of task
                                           history, by week
       task          help ['usage']        Displays this usage help text
       task <filter> history.annual        Shows a report of task history, by
                                           year
       task <filter> history.daily         Shows a report of task history, by
                                           day
       task <filter> history.monthly       Shows a report of task history, by
                                           month
       task <filter> history.weekly        Shows a report of task history, by
                                           week
       task <filter> ids                   Shows the IDs of matching tasks, as a
                                           range
       task          import [<file> ...]   Imports JSON files
       task <filter> information           Shows all data and metadata
       task <filter> list                  Most details of tasks
       task          log <mods>            Adds a new task that is already
                                           completed
       task          logo                  Displays the Taskwarrior logo
       task <filter> long                  All details of tasks
       task <filter> ls                    Few details of tasks
       task <filter> minimal               Minimal details of tasks
       task <filter> modify <mods>         Modifies the existing task with
                                           provided arguments.
       task <filter> newest                Newest tasks
       task          news                  Displays news about the recent
                                           releases
       task <filter> next                  Most urgent tasks
       task <filter> oldest                Oldest tasks
       task <filter> overdue               Overdue tasks
       task <filter> prepend <mods>        Prepends text to an existing task
                                           description
       task <filter> projects              Shows all project names used
       task <filter> purge                 Removes the specified tasks from the
                                           data files. Causes permanent loss of
                                           data.
       task <filter> ready                 Most urgent actionable tasks
       task <filter> recurring             Recurring Tasks
       task          reports               Lists all supported reports
       task          show [all |           Shows all configuration variables or
       substring]                          subset
       task <filter> start <mods>          Marks specified task as started
       task <filter> stats                 Shows task database statistics
       task <filter> stop <mods>           Removes the 'start' time from a task
       task <filter> summary               Shows a report of task status by
                                           project
       task          synchronize           Synchronizes data with the Taskserver
       [initialize]
       task <filter> tags                  Shows a list of all tags used
       task [filter] timesheet             Summary of completed and started
                                           tasks
       task          udas                  Shows all the defined UDA details
       task <filter> unblocked             Unblocked tasks
       task          undo                  Reverts the most recent change to a
                                           task
       task <filter> uuids                 Shows the UUIDs of matching tasks, as
                                           a space-separated list
       task          version               Shows the Taskwarrior version number
       task <filter> waiting               Waiting (hidden) tasks
       task          _aliases              Generates a list of all aliases, for
                                           autocompletion purposes
       task          _columns              Displays only a list of supported
                                           columns
       task          _commands             Generates a list of all commands, for
                                           autocompletion purposes
       task          _config               Lists all supported configuration
                                           variables, for completion purposes
       task          _context              Lists all supported contexts, for
                                           completion purposes
       task          _get <DOM> [<DOM>     DOM Accessor
       ...]
       task <filter> _ids                  Shows the IDs of matching tasks, in
                                           the form of a list
       task <filter> _projects             Shows only a list of all project
                                           names used
       task          _show                 Shows all configuration settings in a
                                           machine-readable format
       task <filter> _tags                 Shows only a list of all tags used,
                                           for autocompletion purposes
       task          _udas                 Shows the defined UDAs for completion
                                           purposes
       task <filter> _unique <attribute>   Generates lists of unique attribute
                                           values
       task <filter> _urgency              Displays the urgency measure of a
                                           task
       task <filter> _uuids                Shows the UUIDs of matching tasks, as
                                           a list
       task          _version              Shows only the Taskwarrior version
                                           number
       task          _zshattributes        Generates a list of all attributes,
                                           for zsh autocompletion purposes
       task          _zshcommands          Generates a list of all commands, for
                                           zsh autocompletion purposes
       task <filter> _zshids               Shows the IDs and descriptions of
                                           matching tasks
       task <filter> _zshuuids             Shows the UUIDs and descriptions of
                                           matching tasks

       burndown                            Aliased to 'burndown.weekly'
       ghistory                            Aliased to 'ghistory.monthly'
       history                             Aliased to 'history.monthly'
       rm                                  Aliased to 'delete'

Documentation for Taskwarrior can be found using 'man task', 'man taskrc', 'man task-color', 'man task-sync' or at https://taskwarrior.org

The general form of commands is:
  task [<filter>] <command> [<mods>]

The <filter> consists of zero or more restrictions on which tasks to select, such as:
  task                                      <command> <mods>
  task 28                                   <command> <mods>
  task +weekend                             <command> <mods>
  task project:Home due.before:today        <command> <mods>
  task ebeeab00-ccf8-464b-8b58-f7f2d606edfb <command> <mods>

By default, filter elements are combined with an implicit 'and' operator, but 'or' and 'xor' may also be used, provided parentheses are included:
  task '(/[Cc]at|[Dd]og/ or /[0-9]+/)'      <command> <mods>

A filter may target specific tasks using ID or UUID numbers.  To specify multiple tasks use one of these forms:
  task 1,2,3                                    delete
  task 1-3                                      info
  task 1,2-5,19                                 modify pri:H
  task 4-7 ebeeab00-ccf8-464b-8b58-f7f2d606edfb info

The <mods> consist of zero or more changes to apply to the selected tasks, such as:
  task <filter> <command> project:Home
  task <filter> <command> +weekend +garden due:tomorrow
  task <filter> <command> Description/annotation text
  task <filter> <command> /from/to/     <- replace first match
  task <filter> <command> /from/to/g    <- replace all matches

Tags are arbitrary words, any quantity:
  +tag       The + means add the tag
  -tag       The - means remove the tag

Built-in attributes are:
  description:    Task description text
  status:         Status of task - pending, completed, deleted, waiting
  project:        Project name
  priority:       Priority
  due:            Due date
  recur:          Recurrence frequency
  until:          Expiration date of a task
  limit:          Desired number of rows in report, or 'page'
  wait:           Date until task becomes pending
  entry:          Date task was created
  end:            Date task was completed/deleted
  start:          Date task was started
  scheduled:      Date task is scheduled to start
  modified:       Date task was last modified
  depends:        Other tasks that this task depends upon

Attribute modifiers make filters more precise.  Supported modifiers are:

  Modifiers         Example            Equivalent           Meaning
  ----------------  -----------------  -------------------  -------------------------
                    due:today          due = today          Fuzzy match
  not               due.not:today      due != today         Fuzzy non-match
  before, below     due.before:today   due < today          Exact date comparison
  after, above      due.after:today    due >= tomorrow      Exact date comparison
  none              project.none:      project == ''        Empty
  any               project.any:       project !== ''       Not empty
  is, equals        project.is:x       project == x         Exact match
  isnt              project.isnt:x     project !== x        Exact non-match
  has, contains     desc.has:Hello     desc ~ Hello         Pattern match
  hasnt,            desc.hasnt:Hello   desc !~ Hello        Pattern non-match
  startswith, left  desc.left:Hel      desc ~ '^Hel'        Beginning match
  endswith, right   desc.right:llo     desc ~ 'llo$'        End match
  word              desc.word:Hello    desc ~ '\bHello\b'   Boundaried word match
  noword            desc.noword:Hello  desc !~ '\bHello\b'  Boundaried word non-match

Alternately algebraic expressions support:
  and  or  xor            Logical operators
  <  <=  =  !=  >=  >     Relational operators
  (  )                    Precedence

  task due.before:eom priority.not:L   list
  task '(due < eom and priority != L)'  list

The default .taskrc file can be overridden with:
  task ... rc:<alternate file> ...
  task ... rc:~/.alt_taskrc ...

The values in .taskrc (or alternate) can be overridden with:
  task ... rc.<name>=<value> ...
  task rc.color=off list

Any command or attribute name may be abbreviated if still unique:
  task list project:Home
  task li       pro:Home

Some task descriptions need to be escaped because of the shell:
  task add "quoted ' quote"
  task add escaped \' quote

The argument -- tells Taskwarrior to treat all other args as description, even if they would otherwise be attributes or tags:
  task add -- project:Home needs scheduling

Many characters have special meaning to the shell, including:
  $ ! ' " ( ) ; \ ` * ? { } [ ] < > | & % # ~

Troubleshooting

Taskwarrior is not respecting the XDG Base Directory Specification

Taskwarrior defaults to ~/.taskrc unless it detects the presence of ~./config/task/taskrc. If both are present it defaults to ~/.taskrc. So, you must first move the file:

user $mkdir ~./config/task/
user $mv ~/.taskrc ~./config/task/taskrc

Next, edit ~./config/task/taskrc and uncomment the following lines:

FILE ~./config/task/taskrcdefault .taskrc configuration
#data.location=~/.local/share/task
#hooks.location=~/.config/task/hooks

Next, move your existing ~/.task/ directory:

user $mkdir ~/.local/share/task/
user $cp -r ~/.task/* ~/.local/share/task/

Confirm the contents of the ~/.task directory have been copied properly and then delete the original directory.

user $rm -rf ~/.task/

Next, copy the contents of ~/.task/hooks/ to the ~/.config/task/hooks/ directory:

user $cp -r ~/.task/hooks/* ~/.config/task/hooks/

Finally, delete ~/.local/share/task/hooks/ if present and the original ~/.task directory.

user $rm -rf ~/.local/share/task/hooks/
user $rm -rf ~/.task

Removal

Unmerge

root #emerge --ask --depclean --verbose app-misc/task

See Also