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use google tasksIs anyone else seriously addicted to Google Tasks? If you’re like me, you spend more time managing your tasks than you do actually performing them. It’s all about multiple lists, offline access and getting your tasks on-the-go. We have covered the various uses for Google Tasks before 5 Ways To Access Your Google Tasks 5 Ways To Access Your Google Tasks Read More , although that was four years ago way back in 2009.

Since then, Google Tasks changed considerably, adding an array of features – most notably among them being Google Calendar integration. Additionally, Tasks received integration into dozens of smartphone apps, as well as getting offline access in Thunderbird.

So – It’s time for us to take another look at using Google Tasks and its many uses.

The Old Way to Get Google Tasks on Your Desktop

The older method of getting Google Tasks on your desktop simply requires visiting mail.google.com/tasks/ig in your browser.

With the Chrome browser, it’s possible to highlight and drag from your URL bar directly onto your desktop, which creates a shortcut with its own icon. I find it highly useful to drop this icon into your startup folder (located at C:\Users\YOUR USER NAME HERE\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) which allows you to see your tasks first thing in the morning.

use google tasks

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However, while the older method provides simple, straightforward access, it lacks many of the more recent innovations in task management.

Google Tasks on Your Desktop Revisited

For those of you who love getting Google Tasks on the desktop, you’re in luck. Google allows users to access their application through a direct browser link. This particular interface includes a variety of extra features not available from within Gmail or Google Calendar.

You can launch Google Tasks in its own browser window, for most users, with the following URL:

C:\Users\YOUR USER NAME HERE\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe  --app=https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1

In Windows using the Chrome browser, you can get the URL working as a shortcut like this:

  1. Right click on an empty portion of your desktop and from the context menu choose “New”.
  2. Create a new shortcut.
  3. Copy and paste the URL above into the location field.
  4. Name it Google Tasks (or whatever you want).

using google tasks

Optionally, you can choose to change the icon, too, by right-clicking on the link and going to Properties. Once you’re finished, I suggest taking the following actions:

  • Set Google Tasks to launch on boot: Simply drag the Tasks icon directly into your startup folder.
  • Use multiple task lists: Tasks can manage multiple task lists.
  • Mess around with some of the added features, such as printing out your tasks for the ultimate in offline access.

using google tasks

Google Tasks Offline Add-on for Thunderbird

For those of you wanting offline access to Google Tasks, you’re in luck. Mozilla’s Thunderbird desktop email client offers a Google Tasks add-on. The add-on also includes multiple list management, although its overall capabilities fall short of using Chrome with Tasks.

Simply install it as you would any other Thunderbird XPI: find the file and drag-and-drop onto Thunderbird.

using google tasks

While the extension for Thunderbird lacks many of the features in the online version, such as drag-and-drop reordering and subtask management, it’s handy having access when you’re without Internet connectivity. Then again, those of you with mobile devices may want to use a smartphone app.

True Google Tasks Calendar Integration

To the extent of my knowledge, there’s only one method to get true integration between Google Calendar and Google Tasks and that’s using the Android application, Day-by-Day. Day-by-Day simply combines both task management with calendar management, turning tasks into calendar entries. While the app’s interface lacks the visual polish of many other calendar management apps, in terms of function it’s one of the best calendar programs in the Android ecosphere.

using google tasks effectively

On the downside, the paid version of Day by Day costs $4.99, which makes it one of the more expensive Android calendars.

Google Tasks on Your Smartphone

One of the best ways to sync with Google Tasks is through your smartphone – what better way to check off items on your to-do list than while going about your daily routine? Because of the superior experience offered by touchscreens, mobile applications also provide a better interaction with Google Tasks than even the official Google app within Gmail. Swiping your finger, rather than fumbling about for a pen, makes for a more efficient and organic user experience, as well.

use google tasks

Conclusion

While it may appear stagnant, Google Tasks has quietly developed and spread across a variety of platforms, including the desktop, mobile and the Thunderbird email client. If you were turned off in the past by Google’s lackluster development of Tasks, you should take another look at its latest innovations.

However, for those of you who are truly fans of Google Tasks, consider Ryan’s awesomely useful article on combining Excel with Google Tasks. Use Excel & Google Tasks to Create the Best Goals Management Tool Ever Use Excel & Google Tasks to Create the Best Goals Management Tool Ever Lately, I've started to realize that I'm working very hard, but if someone asked me whether or not I feel that I'm working toward a larger purpose, I'd have to say that I really don't... Read More It’s both sophisticated and elegant.

Anyone else swear by Google Tasks for managing their lists? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits: Checklist via MorgueFile.com

  1. eliyahu kanush
    July 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    How do I use the web address you suggested
    (https://mail.google.com/tasks/ig)
    to open the tasks that are associated with a gmail account that is not my primary account.

    As it is now it always opens only the tasks associated with my primary account but I mostly use Gtasks with a secondary gmail account.

    I don't see anywhere to change accounts.

  2. Jozef Sovcik
    September 10, 2015 at 9:33 am

    For those who miss recurrent/repeating tasks in Google Tasks:

    I have created a "simple app" which add this feature to Google Tasks - it is not any special standalone app (you can find plenty of them everywhere) and it works only with Google Tasks :-)

    It is available in Chrome Store https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/recurrent-tasks-for-gtask/fgmgamfcgnjeficlndkjgelpjplpgdnd

    • Ben Walker
      October 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      I am having difficulty using your app. Is there a way to build your own recurring task list from scratch, or am I stuck modifying the templates with "buy milk" and "Do jogging"? Everytime I have done this, it fails to show up on my calendar. Does it need to be in a Normal task list, or it's own new RTTL?

      • Jozef Sovcik
        October 13, 2015 at 1:24 pm

        Sorry hearing that. Well, it's not 100% user friendly... Hopefully going to improve in the future.

        To address your issue:
        1) yes, it has to be a separate task list (RTTL) - its name has to be prefixed in order for my app to recognize it (see my app's Settings)
        2) no, do not create recurrent tasks in your normal task list - they will be created automatically based on those in those special task lists

        If anything, write me to jsdev2015@gmail.com

  3. Jordan Mulhall
    July 30, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    My file path for the shortcut was C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

    If your shortcut won't work, maybe try that.

    I'm not sure how my install got that way but I was too lazy to reinstall so I just tracked it down.

  4. Will Turner
    May 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I was using Goolge Task Canvas and after reading this article the Thunderbird plugin for quite a while but I was never 100% satisfied with that. The Thunderbird plugin is just to limited in its functionality and Google Task Canvas can not hide the fact that it is just a web application.
    Then a couple of weeks ago I found an application named 'GTask for Desktop' (www.gtask-for-desktop.com). Its a full featured desktop application that can synchronize with Goolge Tasks. It looks quite nice and work pretty well. May be you want to give it a try...

    • Kannon Y
      May 17, 2015 at 2:15 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! I'll look into it!

  5. Tom B
    May 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Nice article. Since it is already a couple years old, and comments predict a fading of Google Tasks, I am happy to see that it still exists. I have been using it and depending on it with GoTasks since I adopted it 2 iPhones ago.
    The link to get to the alternate Gtasks view did not work for me, but this does:
    https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas
    I actually do not see any new features in that view, and I like this standard view better: https://mail.google.com/tasks/ig?pli=1
    Why? Because I can make the window very narrow and put it along the edge of my working space to keep it handy at all times. I do have more than one monitor active, so that gives me a lot of work space.

  6. Mike Regan
    May 2, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I tried all the suggested apps to sync with Google Tasks on my android and actually found one that was not listed that I think is clearly the best: "Tasks" by "Team Tasks". I have no relationship with that firm, just thought I'd share because I know how much it has helped me and hopefully it will help you too.

    • Jozef Sovcik
      August 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      I do strongly agree :-) My life depends on it :-)

  7. Bobbi Ciara
    March 31, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Well I manage my life and business four ways.
    Google Tasks for managing my email to-do list
    Go Keep for my temporary short-term to-dos
    Google Calendar for appointments, events, and I use the recurring feature to remind myself to follow-up on emails and making contacts
    And Trello for long-term projects/goals: https://trello.com/thesocialpatois/recommend

    I found this article because I was hoping for a Google Tasks and Go Keep integration, but I see that this probably won't happen...

    • Wilson Massie
      May 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I absolutely agree, I use Google Tasks for work and home to-do lists, Google Calendar for appointments, events and birthday reminders. I've been able to import my kid's school holiday calendar and other useful calendars like public holidays and the whole family share access to plan our free time. I'm using Trello for some big home improvement projects with my other half so we can work together and see progress as these huge challenges take shape, otherwise it feels like you are never getting anywhere. I also use Alarm Clock xTreme for alarms that can't be ignored, pick up the kids, get up extra early, take meds. Solve a puzzle to cancel alarm feature is great. I use Google Keep or ColorNote app for quick notes, shopping lists or funny things my kids say. I was hoping this article would lead me to a better Google Task management chrome app for my PC. I use the amazing FranklinCovey Tasks App on my android phone, it sync with Google Tasks but adds many more layers of intelligence and prioritization missing from Google Tasks. It offers repeat tasks, intuitive prioritisation based on the GTD approach developed by the app's name sake. It's expensive but worth it but I can't keep using my phone at work to manage tasks people think I'm playing candy crush. I also recomend the Business Tasks app and Business Calendar app which allow you to add another layer of task management to Google Tasks and combine Google Calendar with Google Tasks in an award winning calendar app. It's just not quite as clever as FranklinCovey but it's nearly there.

  8. Ferdy
    March 19, 2015 at 10:12 am

    been using Calengoo to sync Google Tasks in Android

  9. Anand
    March 6, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Would recommend -
    1) Tasks to do pro (also has a free version) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.als.taskstodo.pro

    2) DGT GTD here - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dg.gtd.android.lite

    Both are awesome. Have almost tried all to do lists & bought many but satisfied with only first I have recommended here. Both have got excellent (5 star) widgets.

  10. Tom
    February 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Use this instead. Google seems to have replaced the chrome.exe to the program files:

    "C:Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplicationchrome.exe" --app=https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1

  11. Evan
    November 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I use an application called BlueStacks http://www.bluestacks.com/ to emulate an android platform and have installed Gtasks for an identical look and feel to the mobile app.
    Works well.

  12. Leah
    November 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    http://gmailsharedtasks.com/ - makes this app so useful for team based situations.

  13. Dushyant
    October 29, 2013 at 7:23 am
  14. James Jackman
    October 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you for putting this article together it was helpful, I have implemented all of this.
    I have been using task lists in "igoogle" for years. "igoogle" has allowed me to have many task list in view at the same time. With the "igoogle" soon to be shut off (Nov 1, 13 I have been trying to figure out how to have multiple task lists open at same time in one view. There is likely an obvious way but so far it is evading me. Generally I use firefox however I was going to leap to chrome in hopes that it's self proclaimed "awesome new tab list" might be a solution. So far not presenting itself to me. Anyone's thoughts on my conundrum would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, James

    • Kannon Y
      October 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Actually, Ryan at MUO wrote an article on this subject:

      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/google-task-management-suite/

      I've been experimenting with it. It's good and it shows all your tasks on a single page.

    • Mehul Shah
      November 19, 2013 at 8:18 am

      any luck . I am still waiting for such solution.

      Thanks..

  15. Gordon
    June 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I'm surprised there is no mention of Remeber the Milk, which is found on Android and IOS, plus web based. After solid research it is my To Do List app of choice, for almost 2yrs now. Worth considering for anyone doing comparisons.

    MUO has even covered the IOS version here...
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/remember-milk-beautiful-featurerich-todo-app-iphone-ios/

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Good point. RTM is one of the best task managers around that syncs with Google Tasks. So is Astrid. I was trying to cover the newer stuff that I've seen out there, as well as some oddball software.

      I should have included a "best-of" list for the readers not familiar with RTM and Astrid. Thanks for the comment!

  16. Julie Smith
    June 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I totally rely on Google Tasks, and I sincerely hope that Google does continue to support it. Google Keep's "List" is but a pale shadow of Tasks. It is missing so many features (due date, notes, ability to rearrange) as to make it unusable for me.

    I have many hundreds of tasks across several tasklists. For editing large amounts of text and when rearranging, I access my tasks on my PC using the web interface, but most of the time I access and manage Tasks using Calengoo on my Android phone. That combination provides me with almost all the power and control that I need.

    • Via
      June 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      I'm with ya, Julie. I also have hundreds of tasks over several task lists, and I'm in Tasks and Calendar more than anything else online.

      I use a really wonderful iOS app (which uses OAuth to sign into Google) called GoTasks. I can't praise it enough -- I tried all the alternatives.

      I'd be fairly devastated if Google nixed Tasks. I wonder where did this rumor originated.

      • Kannon Yamada
        June 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        That's an excellent concern. I believe the rumor got started by several bloggers who noticed that Google Tasks appeared to not be getting any kind of development support from Google - that's a sure sign they're about to kill a service off.

        Right before Google kills a service, they put it in "maintenance" mode, where they begin transferring engineers away from the project and into other divisions. Right now, it appears that Tasks is manned by a skeleton crew who do little other than make sure the service doesn't collapse.

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I'm also reliant on Google Tasks, although I strongly doubt that they'll continue to support it. I imagine it's going to get killed off next year in the Spring, which is right about when Google announces the sunsetting of major apps. :-(

  17. tagada
    June 6, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I suggest you Calengoo (android & iphone). Google calendar AND tasks integration with completely customizable views. It's not free but it's really the best !

  18. Arun Kumar
    June 5, 2013 at 8:49 am

    My favorite app for gmail tasks is To-do tree https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astonsoft.android.todotree&hl=en

    I have 2 questions it there any app which will sync google task and toodledo
    And which is app that will help me create a recurring task/event say every week, fortnight, months, year etc. not calendar because calendar is more for hard landscape like appointments, travels, etc.

    • Julie Smith
      June 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

      On Android, Calengoo has recurring tasks.

      The tasks are stored in Google Tasks (which doesn't support recurring tasks), with the recurrence details appended to the notes. The recurrence is managed by Calengoo. When you mark a task completed in Calengoo, Calengoo automatically changes the task due date to the next recurrence.

      It works very well, and I couldn't live without that feature.

  19. Amy
    June 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Pocket Informant Pro for iOS is a workhorse time/project management app that will sync with your Google Tasks.

  20. mikedopp
    June 4, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Love the idea of creating a url shortcut on the desktop. Unfortunately if you run the "enterprise" msi version this will not work... *debbie downer* sorry...
    I even tried C:\Program Files (x86)\Google... instead of c:\users\yourusernamehere\Google.....
    No dice. Great article keep up the good work.

    • Mrthermister
      June 4, 2013 at 5:18 am

      Here's a trick you might try. Duplicate the desktop Chrome shortcut (probably already on your desktop). Get Properties. At the end of the target, paste in the following:

      --app=https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1

      Make sure there are 2 dashes.

      Viola! If your Desktop Chrome shortcut works, then now your GTasks should work. Let me know.

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      mikedopp, it appears that WordPress is automangling the shortcut code. It's turning two hypens into an em-dash.

      It's supposed to look like this:

      http://i.imgur.com/Tv9ZIRR.png

      Mrthermister's code also got mangled by the same evil spirits.

      Our genius editors managed to exorcise the malignant, though. If you check back up top the problem is gone.

      • Lon Phillips
        June 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        I still can't get it to work! Any ideas?

        • Kannon Yamada
          June 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm

          One of the problems that many readers might have with this particular short cut to Chrome is that not everyone uses the default location for their Window's user directory.

          I would try three things:

          1. Find your user name and then use Window's search feature to locate the directory it's in. Then just copy the directory's location into the shortcut target window, making sure to include the bit of code "- -app=https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1"... It won't display properly here, but it's two hypens, together. No space.

          2. Make sure you have Chrome installed.

          3. Make sure you're logged into Google, otherwise, it won't show up.

          If you have any problems, feel free to ask more questions! Good luck!

        • Lon Phillips
          June 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm

          In the /Local/Google/Chrome subdirectory, I only show a UserData subdirectory. Do I just have a weird install?

        • Aron
          July 24, 2013 at 11:38 am

          An easier way to create the shortcut is:
          Open a new tab in Chrome
          Go to https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas?pli=1
          In Chrome, go to Tools->Create Application Shortcuts
          Choose one of Desktop/Start menu/Taskbar

        • Kannon Yamada
          June 5, 2013 at 5:40 am

          I think you can try searching your C: for your user name using Windows' built in search feature. I think you can even just search for Chrome.exe. The main thing we need to get out of this is the actual location of the Chrome.exe file. All the links on your desktop and start menu are actually links to the executable file.

          Another alternative would be to right click on the Chrome icon and it should show the proper directory under properties -> target.

          Man, I really should have included that information in the main body of the article. :-)

  21. Triavalon
    June 4, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Five killer ways to use the next product google is going to cut now that it has released Keep. (Sorry. Personally, I like tasks and wish it would get more attention, but it is going the unsupported way of reader.)

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      It hurts because it's true. :-(

      I totally agree with you that Google is inches away from wiping out Gtasks. I guess it's back to using a .txt file with Dropbox.

      Thanks for the compliment mikedopp!

    • Kannon Yamada
      June 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Arghh. I meant Triavalon. Thanks for the comment.

    • Via
      June 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Geeze, I hope you're wrong. Google Tasks and Google Calendar are my most-used Google products. I would be hugely affected.

      A replacement for Reader was relatively easy, but replacing Tasks in my Calendar would be a royal pain, and I would hate on the Google.

    • Derek
      March 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      As always - tech predictions are so difficult to make accurately. Here we are in March 2015 (nearly 2 years later) and Google tasks is alive and well. :)

    • Kannon Y
      March 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Derek, thanks for the comment. It's been two years and still Google hasn't upgraded GTasks in any way. We're still pretty sure they're going to roll it into another service and kill it off.

      Triavalon said GTasks was going the "unsupported way of reader". GReader received no support for years before they cancelled it. Google created a service that was too good and then neglected it before cancelling it entirely.

      GTasks is receiving much of the same treatment. No support or improvements.

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