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TODO to Issue Action

This action will convert newly committed TODO comments to GitHub issues on push. It will also optionally close the issues if the TODOs are removed in a future commit. Works with almost any programming language.


Simply add a comment starting with TODO, followed by a colon and/or space. Here's an example for Python that creates an issue named after the TODO:

    def hello_world():
        # TODO Come up with a more imaginative greeting
        print('Hello world!')

Multiline TODOs are supported, with additional lines inserted into the issue body. A range of options can also be provided to apply to the new issue:

    def hello_world():
        # TODO Come up with a more imaginative greeting
        #  Everyone uses hello world and it's boring.
        #  labels: enhancement, help wanted
        #  assignees: alstr, bouteillerAlan, hbjydev
        #  milestone: 1
        print('Hello world!')


Create a workflow.yml file in your .github/workflows directory like:

    name: "Workflow"
    on: ["push"]
        runs-on: "ubuntu-latest"
          - uses: "actions/checkout@master"
          - name: "TODO to Issue"
            uses: "alstr/todo-to-issue-action@v4.6.6"
            id: "todo"

See Github's workflow syntax for further details on this file.

The workflow file takes the following optional inputs:

Input Required Description
TOKEN No The GitHub access token to allow us to retrieve, create and update issues for your repo. Default: ${{ github.token }}.
CLOSE_ISSUES No Optional boolean input that specifies whether to attempt to close an issue when a TODO is removed. Default: true.
AUTO_P No Optional boolean input that specifies whether to format each line in multiline TODOs as a new paragraph. Default: true.
IGNORE No Optional string input that provides comma-delimited regular expressions that match files in the repo that we should not scan for TODOs. By default, we will scan all files.
AUTO_ASSIGN No Optional boolean input that specifies whether to assign the newly created issue to the user who triggered the action. If users are manually assigned to an issue, this setting is ignored. Default: false.
ISSUE_TEMPLATE No You can override the default issue template by providing your own here. Markdown is supported, and you can inject the issue title, body, code URL and snippet. Example: "This is my issue title: **{{ title }}**\n\nThis is my issue body: **{{ body }}**\n\nThis is my code URL: **{{ url }}**\n\nThis is my snippet:\n\n{{ snippet }}"

These can be specified in with in the workflow file.

There are additional inputs if you want to be able to assign issues to projects. Consult the relevant section below for more details.


  • TODOs are found by analysing the difference between the new commit and its previous one (i.e., the diff). That means that if this action is implemented during development, any existing TODOs will not be detected. For them to be detected, you would have to remove them, commit, put them back, and commit again.
  • Should you change the TODO text, this will currently create a new issue.
  • Closing TODOs is still somewhat experimental.

Supported Languages

  • ABAP
  • AutoHotkey
  • C
  • C++
  • C#
  • CSS
  • Crystal
  • Dart
  • Elixir
  • Go
  • Handlebars
  • HCL
  • HTML
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Julia
  • Kotlin
  • Less
  • Markdown
  • Objective-C
  • Org Mode
  • PHP
  • Python
  • R
  • Razor
  • Ruby
  • Rust
  • Sass
  • Scala
  • SCSS
  • Shell
  • SQL
  • Swift
  • TeX
  • TSX
  • Twig
  • TypeScript
  • Vue
  • YAML

New languages can easily be added to the syntax.json file used by the action to identify TODO comments. When adding languages, follow the structure of existing entries, and use the language name defined by GitHub in languages.yml. PRs adding new languages are welcome and appreciated. Please add a test for your language in order for your PR to be accepted.

TODO Options

Unless specified otherwise, options should be on their own line, below the initial TODO declaration.


Comma-separated list of usernames to assign to the issue.


Comma-separated list of labels to add to the issue. If any of the labels do not already exist, they will be created. The todo label is automatically added to issues to help the action efficiently retrieve them in the future.


Milestone ID to assign to the issue. Only a single milestone can be specified and this must already have been created.

Other Options


As per the Google Style Guide, you can provide a reference after the TODO label. This will be included in the issue title for searchability.

    def hello_world():
        # TODO(alstr) Come up with a more imaginative greeting
        print('Hello world!')

Don't include parentheses within the identifier itself.


You can assign the created issue to columns within user or organisation projects with some additional setup.

The action cannot access your projects by default. To enable access, you must create an encrypted secret in your repo settings, with the value set to a valid Personal Access Token. Then, assign the secret in the workflow file like PROJECTS_SECRET: ${{ secrets.PROJECTS_SECRET }}. Do not enter the raw secret.

To assign to a user project, use the user projects: prefix. To assign to an organisation project, use org projects: prefix.

The syntax is <user or org name>/project name/column name. All three must be provided.

    def hello_world():
        # TODO Come up with a more imaginative greeting
        #  Everyone uses hello world and it's boring.
        #  user projects: alstr/Test User Project/To Do
        #  org projects: alstrorg/Test Org Project/To Do
        print('Hello world!')

You can assign to multiple projects by using commas, for example: user projects: alstr/Test User Project 1/To Do, alstr/Test User Project 2/Tasks.

You can also specify default projects in the same way by defining USER_PROJECTS or ORG_PROJECTS in your workflow file. These will be applied automatically to every issue, but will be overrode by any specified within the TODO.


No issues have been created

Make sure your file language is in syntax.json. Also, the action will not recognise existing TODOs that have already been pushed.

If a similar TODO appears in the diff as both an addition and deletion, it is assumed to have been moved, so is ignored.

In case, your workflow is executed but no issue is generated, check if you have given permissions to Workflows. Go to your GitHub Project, Settings->Actions(General)->Workflow permissions and Enable "Read and write permissions".

Multiple issues have been created

Issues are created whenever the action runs and finds a newly added TODO in the diff. Rebasing may cause a TODO to show up in a diff multiple times. This is an acknowledged issue, but you may have some luck by adjusting your workflow file.

Contributing & Issues

If you do encounter any problems, please file an issue or submit a PR. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to contribute.

Running tests locally

To run the tests locally, simply run the following in the main repo:

python -m unittest


If you want to fork this action to customise its behaviour, there are a few steps you should take to ensure your changes run:

  • In workflow.yml, set uses: to your action.
  • In action.yml, set image: to Dockerfile, rather than the prebuilt image.
  • If customising syntax.json, you will want to update the URL in to target your version of the file.


The action was developed for the GitHub Hackathon. Whilst every effort is made to ensure it works, it comes with no guarantee.

Thanks to Jacob Tomlinson for his handy overview of GitHub Actions.

Thanks to GitHub's linguist repo for the languages.yml file used by the app to look up file extensions and determine the correct highlighting to apply to code snippets.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to the further development of this action.