Advantages of TaskPaper 3 over Sublime Text 3 + PlainTasks?


Hello Friends,

I’m really interested in TaskPaper 3 as I’ve been a fond user of PlainTasks for Sublime Text 3 for a while.

Now I’m wondering what the advantages of PlainTasks 3 over Sublime Text + PlainTasks are. I’d love to commit to using PlainTasks. Especially with the current sale it’s very, very tempting.

So, why would I make the change? Please sell me!

I’m aware that this is quite a provocative question. Please understand that that’s by design. TaskPaper appears to be an excellent product and I wouldn’t tell anyone otherwise. In fact, I really want to buy it. I’m just not sure what I’m going to gain from the switch from my current setup.

What are your thoughts?


Hi, thanks for posting. First although I don’t have a lot of experience with it I’m all in favor of PlainTasks. It really helps TaskPaper users by providing a Windows solution, and it’s also great to have a Mac alternative environment for TaskPaper files too.

I think the main difference between PlainTasks and TaskPaper is that TaskPaper has an outline model backing the text buffer. Many of the differences listed below are due to this difference:

  • Folding, In TaskPaper when you fold lines you can then move them around and the lines under come with the item. I don’t think that happens in Sublime, maybe there’s some option, but doesn’t seem to work for me.

  • Focusing, In TaskPaper when you focus in on a project (even if it’s deep in the hierarchy) you can easily edit just that project and its items. I actually don’t think you can do this sort of focusing in Sublime.

  • Filtering, In TaskPaper you can filter your outline. Either just type in some simple search text, or go all out with your search logic.

  • Scripting, if you want to write a script to manipulate your TaskPaper document you have a really rich model to work with in TaskPaper. Whereas if you script outside of TaskPaper you have to do all the parsing and more yourself.

  • Drag and drop of item, moves the items and children. Can also drag and drop to other windows, etc.

  • TaskPaper is a native mac app at the UI level. (for model level it uses JavaScript). This means that the text editor does all the latest OS X text things in standard ways. Spell check, auto complete, recognize addresses, down to low level stuff such as using any custom keybindings that you have setup.

  • There’s more (the there’s a free trial), but I think that covers some of the bigger points.


If you look at your .taskpaper file as something where you’re managing projects then Taskpaper gives you a cleaner interface to work with everything–for many of the reasons outlined above. PlainTasks, though powerful, doesn’t quite have the clean interactions. Focusing, filtering, searching, etc, are all easier to work with in Taskpaper.

It used to be that the search was quite a bit stronger in Sublime, but that appears to have been beefed up in Taskpaper. I guess the big difference is in Sublime you can search across multiple files at once. Depending on your structure, that may be a big thing.

If you do time tracking in PlainTasks I think you’d have to script something in Taskpaper to do the same thing, though if you’re comfortable with Java that shouldn’t be too hard ( I say that as someone who has only dabbled in java)

This part is subjective but to me Taskpaper lends itself better to organization and structure. PlainTasks becomes a bit more chaotic for me (which isn’t always a bad thing).

I mainly work in PlainTasks these days simply because I’m usually on a Windows machine. If I could have my ideal situation I’d work in Taskpaper and build in a time tracking facet like PlainTasks has.

If you’re always on OSX there’s no reason not to give Taskpaper a solid try for awhile. The files are compatable between the two programs so there’s no loss with whichever you go with.


For my workflows, the answers would include:

  • an outline-aware search language
  • richer outlining
  • full access to outlines and outline querying through the excellent JavaScript API