TaskPaper 3

I have recently completed a large grant proposal and several research manuscripts. Such sticky projects involve hundreds of details that need to be remembered: “reformat table 3”, “find the page number in reference 76”, “ask someone to rework figure 5”, “read an article that the reviewer has pointed to”. I have no idea how I would stay sane, if not for TaskPaper, my favourite app for dealing with complex projects.

I have been using TaskPaper for many years and explained how it is important when things move too fast for OmniFocus with its slow weekly rhythm. Or how to use TaskPaper together with Ulysses in responding to reviewers’ comments on your manuscript. But last year TaskPaper started an entirely new game with version 3, which retains its plain-text simplicity while adding smoothness and sophistication often needed for complex projects.

TaskPaper 3 has many improvements. Most visibly, it allows to collapse or expand items as well as focus on specific projects in the side-bar, thus acting as an outline and not simply a linear task list. For example, the manuscript revision tasks can be structured into “Additional reading”, “Reworking Figures”, “Re-writing Methods”, “Preparing responses to reviewers” etc. I love that it is so easy to move tasks between sub-projects with a shortcut (⌘/) and not only with dragging them by a mouse. Completed tasks can be quickly archived (⌘⇧A) to clear the working space. The system is so convenient that I sometimes catch myself actually composing pieces of text in TaskPaper (in “Notes” attached to tasks).

One thing I miss in TaskPaper 3 is a system-wide shortcut to add new tasks. It used to be available in previous versions, but now I simply don’t know how to set it up and the Preferences do not give me a lead. But this is a small detail which can probably be fixed in the future.

All in all, thank you Jesse Grosjean for this great product!


About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He researchers energy and environment and coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.
This entry was posted in Projects, Tasks, Workflows and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to TaskPaper 3

  1. I also miss the Quick Entry feature from earlier versions of Taskpaper. If you happen to use Keyboard Maestro, I’ve been having good luck with this macro http://d.pr/f/ih2R


  2. Pingback: Wiser Web Wednesday – Pete Denison

  3. Derek says:

    Hi Aleh, I’m rather new to Macs, and really enjoy your blog. When you are starting out on your papers or proposals, do you use TaskPaper for this too, or do you use some sort of outlining software?


  4. gesmog says:

    Hello! I am trying to move out from Zotero and currently debating between Papers and ReadCube. I seem to like ReadCube better, especially the ease of its PDF annotation. Now, while as a product it is relatively newer with respect to Papers, would you say that’s the “future”? I am also trying to figure out the implications of ReadCube’s acquisition of Papers. Doesn’t it mean that it will eventually kill Papers? I have been a longtime follower of your blog, and would love to hear your thoughts on it. looking forward


  5. Francis says:

    and I thought the app was discontinued. Good to hear that developer is working on it again.


  6. Gerben says:

    Thanks for this post. I found that the Mac version works together very well with the iOS app Taskmator, which also allows you to set reminders easily (something which will probably be integrated in TP in the near future too).


  7. Tony says:

    Hi Alex,

    After quiet some time, I was pleased to find two new posts by you. Very much appreciated. Keep the good work going!


  8. For iOS a very good alternative is TaskMator. I do hope the system-wide shortcut will return, I think Jesse is currently working a new implementation of this. Like with OmniFocus it’s pretty indispensable for quick entry.


  9. Dellu says:

    I write these todo lists inside the actual Latex text: commented out indeed. Texstudio displays them in a distinct category; as todos. But, moving todos across projects is not as such convenient.


  10. tonny says:

    nice post


  11. Pingback: Essential software for academic work on Mac: 2021 update | Academic workflows on a Mac

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s