Calendar Integration and Perspectives

I would like to ask how others are using dates in TaskPaper. On the surface this is a very straightforward question so let me say up front that I don’t actually mean how are dates written in TaskPaper. I can do that. What I am asking and trying to understand is how others are using dates vs calendar with TaskPaper.

I have a good deal of trouble with organization in general. I can get confused when things are in too many places. I am getting a lot of mileage out of using TaskPaper right now and for the most part, I am not trying to look at the clutter of things I have already done or forget about things I still have to get done.

Therefore I am thinking about off loading my calendar dates to well, my calendar. I use BusyCal for my calendar. I am finding it less confusing for my purposes if I keep an accurate tally of appointments that are coming up as well as things I have done that need to be recorded (filed a claim with so and so on such and such date and time).

At the present time, I am in a unique place in my life where I am not using dates very often other than on my calendar. I am using Taskpaper to keep track of all the projects that I am working on. I realize that there was a time when I was focused on preparing a proposal or a presentation where setting up dates as goals within Taskpaper would be very important. I believe those times will come again - just not now.

At the moment I am exploring a “what if” scenario where I create a unique identifier tag for each project and also include that tag on all related entries in BusyCal. This could help in keeping Taskpaper focused on the tasks and the calendar focused on the timeline.

My question then is seeking a better understanding of how people are actually using TaskPaper with dates. Can Taskpaper be used in place of a calendar as in, what you are tracking in Taskpaper doesn’t need to be on a calendar alt all?

And, if not, how are people making bridges that link Taskpaper project dates and times with your calendar?

Obviously when I get to writing and submitting articles or books, preparing for a performance or many other things, I will want to use TaskPaper to create a timeline as I go. But again, this would seem better done in Aeon Timeline, OmniFocus, or something like these apps.

I am trying to understand how far TaskPaper can go and how others are integrating it with a dated workflow. I have seen a couple of recent examples posted here that show that TaskPaper can indeed act like OmniFocus. If true, it would be helpful to see a video of someone doing this. Maybe that is too much to ask but, I wanted to put the question out there.


Have you checked the tiles’ workflow?

I think that most people are used to doing things certain way because trying new things all the time can be a waste of time itself. I like to use calendar apps (I have settled with Fantastical for now, although I love BusyCal too) for things that require dates. I tried using TaskPaper with dates, but I was doing things twice and it wasn’t time effective for me. I also like Things as a repository of all of my todo’s. I use TaskPaper as a tool to manage larger tasks and as a database program of sorts.

I would be interested on hearing more from other people. I also believe that someone had asked a similar question some time ago. Maybe it will be a good idea to check the forum and see what they wrote.

Thanks, I will go check that out.

I use @due tag and sometimes @start tag to mark tasks, like this:

- Prepare presentation slides @start(2017-05-17) @due(2017-05-22)

and then search for pending items using e.g., following queries:

  • @due >[d] today and @due <[d] +14d and not @done

  • @start <=[d] today and @due >=[d] today and not @done

You can also search for overdue items using

  • @due <[d] today and not @done


In my system all recurring appointments and any other events that happen at a specific place and time belong on a calendar.

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[quote=“saf-dmitry, post:4, topic:3386”] In my system all recurring appointments and any other events that happen at a specific place and time belong on a calendar. [/quote] OK that’s an interesting thought. As I interpret this, ALL task work in TaskPaper is prep work. That is, getting something ready to deliver, the project getting done, ready to send, ready to deliver. The actual sending or delivery receipt or presentation or meeting (of course) is on an actual calendar and not in TaskpPaper.

Of course there are many small things that belong on a task list like building a shopping list, remembering you promised to mow the lawn, etc. But for me, as TaskPaper has to have some middle step gymnastics to get it to other apps to walk around with for this purpose (Reminders, Notes, etc.), this is not the focus of my question. I use Notes for such things as Notes works easily on my iPhone and on my Mac. I loathe Reminders as a separate app which is why I use BusyCal now. Apple used to put reminders and calendars in one place too.

I use nvAlt for tracking larger groups of information and Scrivener for much larger pieces of information.

[quote=“saf-dmitry, post:4, topic:3386”] I use @due tag and sometimes @start tag to mark tasks, like this: [/quote] This begs the question, is there any sort of limit to what sort of tag I have to use with a date (@start, @date, @due)? Or will the date and date search work with almost any tag so long as it is put together with a date in the format you described?

I will have to test to see if;

  • Prepare (some task) @household(2017-05-17) @finance(2017-05-22)
    @household <=[d] today and @finance >=[d] today and not @done

Work the same as;

  • Prepare (some task) @start(2017-05-17) @due(2017-05-22)
    @start <=[d] today and @due >=[d] today and not @done

Result: Not, they don’t work the same. @finance(2017-11-30) will not work because; a) the date in this format remains formatted with the tag text where the normal date in a due or start tag formats differently and, b) unless there is a way to use some grep pattern so that you can search any tag that is >[d] today, there is no way to search for all future or all past dates that I can see.

ADDED: Oddly enough, the page in the TaskPaper reference manual where you can read about date formatting is all about the actual numbers or plain text references to a date (tomorrow, etc.) I could find no reference to what tags actually will work with a date (due, start, alert, etc). TaskPaper Dates Reference Man page

Yes, you are right. I use TaskPaper to plan my tasks and projects and break them down into subtasks and notes.

You can use any tag in combination with a date value.

Could you explain what you want to do?

The @start tag in my example defines the time when I want to begin working on task and the @due tag defines the deadline for the task.

With the search @start <=[d] today and @due >=[d] today and not @done I can search for pending items, i.e., tasks/projects which have a start date lying in the past and deadline in the future and are still not done.

With the search @due <[d] today and not @done I can look for overdue items, i.e. non-complete tasks/projects, which have a deadline lying in the past.

[quote=“saf-dmitry, post:6, topic:3386”]
You can use any tag in combination with a date value.[/quote]

With respect, I don’t see this in action. Try my example above, see if it works for you. It does not work for me.
Try: Sample Text A @finance(2017-12-30)
Now Try putting in the search bar: @finance >[d] today
I get zero results from trying this.

Or try: Sample Text B @date(2017-12-30)
Now Try putting in the search bar: @date >[d] today
I get a result from trying this of:
Sample Text B @date(2017-12-30)

I also tried setting a date formatted tag in the following ways with no success:
Sample Text A @finance(date(2017-12-30))
Sample Text A @finance(@date(2017-12-30))

That is one of my follow on questions I was asking, what are the accepted date setting tags in TaskPaper? I could not find this list in the above FAQ/Man link. Dates and items appear to format only with certain tags. I was just wondering what the list was?

How I was thinking of using this depends on my understanding of what my options are in using this. If I need four tires for my truck and I know they will be on a special sale mid January then I might have a task that says: Truck gets new tires. Sale price Costco @truck(2018-01-15)

Assuming there actually is a way to do a pattern search (still an unanswered question on this thread) and I could say, (Some GREP Modifier)* >[d] today, then I would see that I have already set a reminder that I plan on getting tires for my truck at a specific date in the future. I would see this when I check for future dates.

Of course, I would also see every other date that is set in the future. Without fully understanding how this works and what tag and date modifiers I can use or if there is a grep or pattern method for searching all future date values, I have not messed with doing this very much (yet).

If this worked then when I clicked on @truck(2018-01-15), I would get the same instant search I do now with all tags containing the value of “truck”.

I’m not following this thread in to much detail, but for this particular example I’m getting results (as expected):

You are correct. I had the tag missing a letter in my test spelling of it. I also had different formatting rules which I am sure I could sort out in the .less file if I wanted to. It was showing the date file with the date colored specifically but in my example, it was colored as the rest of the tag. Therefore I concluded (incorrectly), this was not going to work.

So it would seem then that I can set a date value with any tag? If so then what about searching for any date (regardless of tag)? Is there any way of searching for anything with a date value regardless of the tag?


No, at least not the way you want I think. If you searched for @text >[d] today it would find items whose text (once converted to date) matched… but that means the item text would have to be just a date. There’s no way to use TaskPaper [d] syntax to match any date tag value.

Best you can do is combine all potential tags with or to match against all that you expect to see.

I guess that is why people tend to select and reference a relatively small pool of date associated tags. Might be a good feature to add someday. Search for any tag with a date association and evaluate the date with [d] Otherwise, yea, add @date >[d] today or @finance>[d] today or @medical >[d] today, etc.

i’ll probably catch hell for this but NotePlan, with all of it’s faults, does have a feature that i think a lot of people would find useful, a calendar overview.

taskpaper is very efficient and WAY better than NotePlan, but it would be so nice just to have that view.

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I think a full calendar integration requires more thoughts. Here just a small suggestion/feature request: Adding to the main/context menu a function to interpret tag value for tag under cursor as date and mark it in a small pop-up one-month calendar view.

I don’t think anything would ever replace my first Mac app, FairWitness. It was an outliner - of sorts. What you had written as a list of things or whatever you had was in a regular outline type view. But then you could click a button and the same outline was now in a column view. You could save different column views with different column values, lists, and purposes. You could also select a third view and move all the elements around free from like a brainstorming tool.

I loved using FairWitness as it allowed me to write freely and then to move the ideas into a focused structure. When I had a day or several days of a workshop or a group activity to plan, it was so very nice to set a column view to the hours of the days I had to deliver activities or group process work. It was also good for writing a speech, planning a book, etc.

For my mind, it isn’t just the mechanics of managing the calendar, it is also the interface with the human creative process of putting an idea in, managing it to order, and pulling it out again.

In such as case as this, the actual calendar was never the point - as far as scheduling meetings, calls or presentations went. But the language of time - expressed in a calendar format was very important. That is why it was nice to see the column view and have saved views too minutes or hours or days or months or years.

It’s been a few years but, I think it had a Gannt chart view as well.

OmniOutliner also supports column view.

[quote=“saf-dmitry, post:15, topic:3386”]
OmniOutliner also supports column view. [/quote]

Thanks for mentioning this. I was looking at some recent user reviews of this on MacUpdate (my go to site for getting user reviews on Mac apps - you have to learn to read between the lines though). It appears that te latest version lost a good deal of credibility from users. But, good to know this. I also don’t believe it will do a Gannt Chart view but I have not demoed it in a long while.

I just got OmniOutliner, I’m so glad I got it on a student discount. I find it no more useful than using excel. All I’ve been able to do is take an outline, add a check box field, the task, and a date field. no highlighting based on overdue dates.

maybe it’s my limited experience, but i was disappointed. but i have to add that up with, they are probably THE premier developer on Mac/iPhone. There excution is flawless, UI is designed beautifully, and it is functional. I just don’t know if it is worth the money. I shiver at the thought of using excel, but honestly I could get more done in it than OmniOutliner as far as task management.

just my peanuts.

Thanks. I am still enjoying TaskPaper, but I am also continuing to explore the vast organizational unknown. I just got a notification that Curio has their entry version on sale so I am considering that app.

The only real complaint I have with TaskPaper at the moment is that for some reason, I seem to have a recurring problem with various notes getting put under other notes. I know that tab and shift tab is what should be doing this. But for some reason I keep finding it has happened accidentally. It is good and important to think creatively. My brain likes it that way. But, things also have to stay where you put them. Creativity without order is chaos and nonsense to me.

I have not yet determined why my lines keep ending up under other items. Maybe I am adding new items too often without paying attention to where they are in the base structure (adding a new task while in a searched set)? But, this does not seem to be the case. I could also be fat-fingering my tab key but that doesn’t explain whole groups that seems to migrate under other lines.

I could remap my tab key with TaskPaper to make it a option-tab to do the same thing if that would fix the problem. But at the moment, I am still scratching my head over it.

I do understand what you mean, but I can assure you that @jessegrosjean doesn’t feel offended as long as it is done in a good spirit. I also don’t think that NotePlan is a direct competitor with TaskPaper, although they try accomplish some of the same things.

I liked NotePlan because it seemed to combine a couple of programs into one. A calendar app and a note/task app. The problem with NotePlan (this is my personal opinion, and not dissing NotePlan) is that it doesn’t excel at either of the apps that it tries to replace. If it could completely replace my calendar apps, and my to do apps, I would have used NotePlan more than I currently do (which is not very often).

I do think that TaskPaper would gain a lot if there was a way to visually see what is due on certain day, but maybe that is something that is best accomplish through scripts or another program.