If you’re already using Todoist to keep track of your life, you might wonder how you can make it even more useful. The simple answer: Todoist filters. These have the power to streamline and better organize all your tasks, especially when you’ve added so many to-dos that you don’t even know where to start. The good news is you can use built-in filters or create your own. Read on to learn more.
What Are Todoist Filters?
Todoist already has a handy search bar to quickly find tasks. Todoist filters, though, take it a step further by letting you create custom searches for those you use often. For example, you might create a filter for calls or emails you need to respond to by the end of the day. You can filter by tag and due date to quickly see just those tasks.
If you have a few hundred tasks on your to-do list, simply scrolling through isn’t enough. Even if you carefully categorize them with tags and priority, you could still waste valuable time trying to find what you need and could easily miss an important task.
To really see how useful Todoist filters can be, let’s imagine a busy professional has several hundred tasks listed for the week. This could be a mixture of emails, calls, projects, and even things to do on their way home. When they log in to see their tasks at the start of the day, they want to get to work immediately.
They create a filter to first show only top priority tasks. They further customize the filter to show tasks that are due that day, possibly even tasks due before lunch. If they always handle emails left over from the day before the first thing in the morning, they’d customize the filter one more time to only show email tasks. Suddenly, that extremely long list only shows the handful of tasks the person needs to do as soon as they start working that day.
The same holds true for when they leave for the day. They’d filter tasks by Home along with the current day. They could also filter by person if they wanted to see upcoming tasks (such as extracurricular school activities) for their kids, spouse, friends, or charity organizations.
Best Default Todoist Filters
By default, Todoist gives you a few filters. These may vary based on the platform you’re using. For the purpose of this post, I’m using the free Web version.
The following filters are included by default without the need for you to create anything:
- Assigned to me – only lists tasks that are assigned to you
- Priority 1 – lists tasks labeled as Priority 1
- No due date – only lists tasks without a due date
- View all – shows all your tasks in one list
If you don’t see all four, don’t worry: you may only have a few of these. However, use them to test how filters work. You can even click the edit icon (pencil) beside a filter to see the query details used. This helps you get more familiar with how to create your own filters.
Out of these defaults, Priority 1 and Assigned to me are probably the most useful, as you can quickly see what your more urgent tasks may be.
Creating Your Own Filters
In the grand scheme of things, the default Todoist filters are extremely basic and may not be all that helpful. That’s when it’s best to create your own filters.
To make filters better, it’s important to use labels, dates (if applicable), and priorities when creating tasks. Otherwise, it’s difficult to create filters based on those criteria. You can create labels when creating or editing a task or by using the “Filters & Labels” section.
- To create your own filter, select “Filters & Labels” in the left pane. On Android, drag the menu up from the bottom and select “Filters.” In iOS, tap “<” to open the menu and select “Filters & Labels.”
- Beside “Filters,” select the “+” button to add a new filter. (For this example, I’m creating a filter that shows overdue tasks. This works well for those tasks that get overlooked but still need to be done. This only works if your tasks have a due date.)
- Start by entering a name for your filter. Use something descriptive so that you remember what it’s for.
- Enter your filter query. In this case, it’s just a single word: “overdue.” (You can also use “od.”) You can add other details, such as a label, to only see overdue tasks for a specific project. Then, select a color for your filter (if you want). I find color coding helps with my own personal organization. Finally, choose whether to add it to your favorites. (You can do this later.)
- Click “Add” to create the filter.
When you click the filter name now, you’ll get a list of overdue tasks.
When creating basic filters, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- If your query is based on a label, always use “@” symbol before the label name, such as “@work.”
- If your query is based on a project/main section or only a sub-section, always use “#” before the name, such as “#Inbox.”
- If you want your query to include a main section along with all of its sub-sections, use “##” before the name.
- If you want to exclude a specific sub-section, add a “!” before the sub-section name, such as “##Inbox & !#Followups.” (This includes all sections in the Inbox parent section, excluding anything from the Followups sub-section).
- If you want to search sections with the same name across multiple projects, use “/” before the name, such as “/Emails,” which could be a sub-section in multiple parent sections.
For a list of the most useful filters, feel free to skip ahead to the Most Useful Filters section below. If you want more information, read on to see how to create more advanced Todoist filters.
Creating Advanced Todoist Filters
Creating a basic filter is fairly easy. Simply use the name of a label, section, date, or specific word or phrase (such as overdue, recurring, no date, no label). However, you’re not limited to a single filter criteria. For example, in the section above, you saw how to exclude a sub-section in a filter.
Before creating advanced filters, you should know that some types of filters are only for premium users. Also, free users are limited to only three filters at a time.
To use multiple criteria, use the following operators:
- “&” (and) – Use this to combine two criteria, such as “Today & overdue” or “Today & #Inbox.” Tasks must meet both criteria in order to make the list.
- “|” (or) – Use this to filter for one criteria or the other. Tasks can meet either criteria, such as “Today | Priority 1” or “@work | @article.”
- “!” (exclude) – Use this to exclude something from the filter. For example, I could search for tasks in my Inbox that aren’t labeled article with “#Inbox & !@article.”
- Combine multiple filters using commas – If you want an even more advanced Todoist filter, create multiple filters and separate them with commas. For example, search for Priority 1 tasks due tomorrow and Priority 2 overdue tasks with “p1 & tomorrow, p2 & overdue.”
- “*” (wildcard) – Make your filter more encompassing with a wildcard symbol. For instance, search for all tasks assigned to anyone with the last name Crowder with “assigned to: * crowder.”
You can place multiple criteria in parenthesis. For instance, “(tomorrow | overdue) & #Inbox.” This would show tasks that are either due tomorrow or overdue and in the Inbox section.
If you love creating search filters in all the productivity apps you use, learn how to master VLOOKUP in Excel and Google Sheets.
Most Useful Filters
To help you get started, Todoist has an AI filter query generator. It may not get things quite right but can give you a starting point.
If you’re not sure where to start to create your own filters, consider using some of the most useful filter queries, including:
- Assigned by: name – Find tasks assigned by a specific person. You can use “me” as the name for yourself.
- Assigned to: name – Find tasks assigned to a specific person. This is great for seeing only the tasks assigned to you. Just make sure you use the person’s name in Todoist. For example, if someone’s name is Robert Jones, but they’re listed as Bob Jones in Todoist, use Bob Jones in your filter.
- (today | overdue) & #ProjectName – Replace #ProjectName with your desired project/section. Use this each morning to see what’s due today and what’s overdue from yesterday.
- due before: date and due after: date – See tasks that are due before or after a specific date. You can use days or times, such as “due before: February 10” or “due after: 4 PM.”
- recurring – See all recurring tasks. You can also add label or project/section filters to better filter your search.
- no date, no time, !assigned – These are perfect for seeing any tasks that don’t have a date, time, or assigned person. If you’re delegating and scheduling tasks, you may use these three often.
- p1, p2, p3, and p4 – Filter based on priority label. You can also use “no priority” to see tasks with no priority listed.
- created, created before, and created after – Find tasks created on, before, or after a date or amount of days. For example, find tasks created within the last two weeks ago with “created after: -14 days.” Or, see tasks created before December 1, 2021 with “created before: December 1 2021.”
- search – If you want to perform a simple keyword search, use “search: keyword” to filter just for that word. Combine this with other criteria to limit your search to just a section or label.
Finding Todoist Filter Inspiration
Want to become a master of Todoist filters? All you need is the right inspiration. The Doist blog has 24 incredible and highly useful filters to get you organized quickly. These are also great examples of using more complex filters.
However, the best place to find inspiration or get help creating advanced filters is the r/todoist subreddit. The active community of more than 40,000 is always happy to help and show off their own Todoist filters, tips, and tricks. This thread, for instance, is specifically about finding filter inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I access my most used filters faster?
If you only have a few filters, going to the “Filters & Labels” section isn’t a problem. However, if you have dozens of filters, finding the right one can be time consuming.
You can add any filter to your Favorites list (which pops up in the sidebar or menu in the apps) by clicking or tapping the heart icon beside the filter name. Then, simply look under Favorites for your filter.
Alternatively, if you know the name or at least part of the name of your filter, start typing it in the Search box and click the applicable filter result.
2. Can I filter completed tasks?
Currently, Todoist filters don’t apply to completed tasks. To view any completed tasks, open the applicable project, click the three dots menu icon beside the project, and select “Show completed tasks.”
3. Do I have to create a filter for all my searches?
No. You can enter any filter criteria in the Search box. Filters are designed for searches you perform often, especially complex searches. Instead of typing them every time, simply click the filter name. If there’s a search you rarely use, you don’t need to save it as a filter if you don’t want to.
4. How can I organize my filters?
It’s easy for filters to get out of hand. There are several ways to keep them organized:
- Add your most used to Favorites.
- Group similar filters with color-coded labels.
- Drag and drop to organize filters the way you want in your Filters & Labels list.
- If there are filters you no longer use, delete them. The fewer filters you have, the easier it is to find what you need.
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