Simple todo list with LibreOffice Calc / Excel

Estimated reading time of this article: 4 minutes

How to manage a personal to-do list with LibreOffice Calc or Excel?

Over the time, I have developed a simple todo list in LibreOffice Calc (.ods) / (.xlsx). This todo list is based on the Red/Yellow/Green State columns in LibreOffice Calc technic.

Luckily, LibreOffice 7.0 manages to sucessfully export for Excel. So, the most common spreadsheet programs are supported.

Screenshot todo listScreenshot of demo todo list

Column Title Description
A Todo tasks Todo task name
Use a verb to describe the task
B Prio Priority for ordering tasks, order descending.
Use number 1, 2, 3, … Use number 0 for short term high priority task. Start with the task having the lowest number.
C Order Set the order of the tasks
D Points Estimation in points (fibonacci numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21) relative to other tasks
E Category Category name to group tasks of the same topic
F Tag A tag for marking some tasks (optional feature)
G Target Target date/week/event planned for working on a task. I'm using ISO week numbers W01, W02, … W52.
Before working on tasks, select your current target in the autofilter to focus on the tasks. So you will only see the planned task - a set of doable tasks and not all the existing tasks which might be overwhelming.
After passing the target, move the tasks from the old target to a new target or remove the target for a next planning.
H Added Added date. Press Ctrl+; or Ctrl+. to enter the current date
I State State of the task

Empty / 0: to do (red)
0 < x < 1: started (yellow)
>= 1: done (green)
< 0: ignored (white)

Use autofilter to filter out done and ignored tasks.
Press Ctrl+; or Ctrl+. to enter the current date.
A date is treated as a number > 1.

Avoid having many tasks in yellow state. Complete yellow tasks before starting new tasks. Or split the tasks, one that can be completed and a new smaller red task.
J Due Due date of the task
K Notes Notes giving additional information for a task

Column comments of sample spreadsheet file


  1. Add tasks at the end when they come to your mind, fill the name, the prio, the estimation points, the category and the added date. You may set the directly the target if necessary. Write small achievable tasks if necessary split tasks.
  2. Before a working session, e.g a weekend or vacation, I set the target of my jobs that I want to work on and I set the priority of these tasks.
  3. I auto-filter to my target and order my tasks in descending priority order.
  4. I'll start with task at the lowest position.
  5. Avoid having many tasks in the yellow state. You should first finish started tasks before starting new tasks.
  6. When I start a task I usually set 0.1 as state to set it yellow.
  7. Then I increase the state number according to the level of completion, e.g 0.5 or 0.8.
  8. At the end, I'll set the date of completion by pressing Ctrl+; or Ctrl+., e.g. 10.10.2020 and the tasks gets green. Periodically, I filter out completed tasks by calling the auto-filter again and pressing OK1.
  9. After the working session, I move the unfinished tasks to the next target or I remove the target.

Such a methodology lets you focus on your most important tasks.

It is every time a good feeling to set a task green. It is like a kind of reward.


Such a todo list is "low-tech". It is done by standard well-known tools like LibreOffice Calc or Excel. Everything is under your control. You can adapt it to your needs.

  1. Unfortunately, this does not work in LibreOffice 6.4.4 and older. So, I took advantage of LibreOffice being Open Source and fixed the bug tdf#130770 myself. ↩︎