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Untask is a task manager that runs in your terminal. You interact with it by writing commands in a flexible query language that you can use to make Untask fit your workflow.


You can run untask with a file argument, e.g. untask tasks.t to open that file.


Untask uses a powerful query language that allows you to do complex operations quite easily. You will use filter expressions to select items, and then use modify expressions to modify the properties of those items.

Filter Expressions

A filter expression is used for selecting items.

The basic component of a filter expression is the basic form <property><operator><value>. This selects all items where <property> matches <value> according to the rules of <operator>. For example, depends+8 selects all items where the depends property contains (+) the item with ID 8, and urgency:$0 selects all items where the urgency property is exactly 0.

If you want two basic forms to match, separate them by a space. For example, tags+work urgency>$0 selects all work-related items with a positive urgency.

To match any basic form, separate them by commas. For example, !date>Today, urgency>$4 selects all items that have date set on or before today or which have an urgency greater than 4.

You can prefix a basic form with ! to negate it. Thus, !status:done selects all items which have not been finished.

An empty filter expression selects everything.

There are some special abbreviations that can be used in filter expressions:

  • #tag for tags+tag
  • -#tag for tags-tag
  • /string or /{long string} for description/string or description/{long string} (and this works with other operators too)
  • {long string} for description:{long string}

Modify Expressions

Modify expressions are used to modify existing items or add new items.

The syntax for modify expressions is similar to the syntax for filter expressions, but the operators have different meanings. Commas cannot be used in modify expressions.

This example of a modify expression will add item 52 as a dependency and remove the tag "hobby" if it exists: depends+52 -#hobby.


Strings. Strings are typed in braces, like this: {This is a string. There are many like it, but this one is mine.}. A string that contains only lowercase letters can be typed directly, for example somestring. This abbreviation is useful for tags; for example, use tags-work to hide items tagged work.

Tasks. To mention another task, simply use its ID. For example, use 522 copy date+$7 to copy the task with ID 522 and schedule its copy a week from the original.

Numbers. Numbers are typed with a $ in front. For example, use !urgency<$1 to list all items with urgency greater than or equal to 1.

Lists. Lists are typed in square brackets with spaces between the items. For example, to reset the dependencies of item 29 to just 12 and 20, type 29 modify depends:[12 20].

Dates. There are multiple ways to enter a date, and dates may optionally be associated with a specific time. The following are all valid dates: 2020-Dec-8, 2020-12-08, 2020-Dec-8T13:00, 2020-12-08T13:00, Today, Today+7 (a week from now), Dec-8, Dec-8T13:00.


A context is associated with a filter expression and a modify expression. When a context is active, its associated filter expression and modify expression is mixed in to all expressions in all commands.

You can create a new context like this:

> context add project filter #project !status:done !urgency<0 modify #project

Then enable and use the context like so:

> @project
@project> #bug

This will list all unfinsihed items tagged "project", "bug" with a non-negative urgency. You can also enable a context for a single command, like so:

> @project add {Refactor module}

This will add a task called "Refactor module" that is tagged "project", thanks to the modify expression set in the project context.

Disable contexts like -@context and reset all contexts with just @. You may enable and disable multiple contexts at a time.

Special Syntax

The syntax #tag is identical to tags+tag and -#tag is identical to tags-tag.

If no property is mentioned, description is assumed to be the default. For example, /{desc} modify #tag will add the tag tag to all items whose description contains the text "desc". Likewise, add {example} will add a task with description "example".

In a modify expression, use property.. to open an editor for the given string property. Or use simply .. to open an editor with the item description and its notes.



  • open <tasks.t> — Open the given file. The currently open file is displayed in the prompt.
  • save — Save all changes to the currently open file.
  • exit — Exit Untask.

Adding, removing and modifying tasks:

  • add <modify-expression> — Create a new item with its properties set according to the given modify expression.
  • <filter-expression> modify <modify-expression> — Modify all tasks matching the given filter expression according to the given modify expression.
  • <filter-expression> copy <modify-expression> — Create clones of all items matching the given filter expression, and then apply the given modify expression to the newly created items.
  • <filter-expression> copy <modify-expression> from <start-date> to <end-date> by <number> — Like the normal copy, but modifies the date and wait properties of the newly created items such that the date of the first item is on <start-date>, and items are created for each <number>th day between the start and end dates.
  • <filter-expression> remove — Delete all matching items.

Showing tasks:

  • <filter-expression> list — List all tasks matching the given filter expression.
  • <filter-expression> agenda — Display all matching items with the date property set in an agenda view.
  • <filter-expression> schedule — Like agenda, but shows a graphical schedule view, where effort is taken into account.
  • <filter-expression> tree <filter-expression> — Show the dependencies of all items matched by the left filter-expression, hiding any items that do not match the right filter expression.
  • <task-id> — Inspect the given task, showing all of its properties, including notes.

Managing contexts:

  • @context1 -@context2 — Enable context1 and disable context2.
  • @ — Disable all contexts. (This can also be used together with @context, e.g. @ @context to enable just context.)
  • context list — List all contexts.
  • context remove <context> — Delete the given context.
  • context add <context> filter <filter-expression> modify <modify-expression> — Create a new context, and set the associated filter and modify expressions.


status (active | inactive | done): If set to inactive, the task cannot be finished; it is considered a blocking dependency. If set to done, the task is done. It may be useful to have a context like context add unfinished filter !status:done, so you can more clearly see which items need to be finished.

description (string): The task's title. This is the default property when no other property is mentioned, so you can easily add a new task with add {Description}. Search with /{keyword}.

notes (string): To show a task's notes, simply use the task ID as the command, e.g. 142 to show notes for 142. You can edit a task's notes and it's description with 142 modify ...

tags (list of strings): You can use this for whatever you want. For example, so show items tagged "soon", type tags+soon list (or simply #soon).

urgency (number): Used for sorting in list view. You can manually set a task's base urgency. Part of the urgency is also calculated based on any tasks that are blocked by that task.

depends (list of tasks): A list of tasks that must be finished before the given task can be finished. When a task has unfinished dependencies, it is automatically marked as status:inactive, no matter what the user-defined status is.

blocks (list of tasks): The opposite of depends. For example, to make task 1 depend on task 2, you can do either 1 modify depends+2 or 2 modify blocks+1. Note that a task's urgency is calculated based on the urgencies of tasks it blocks (plus the user-defined base urgency for that task).

children (list of tasks): You can use this property to mention related tasks. The given tasks are shown as children in the tree view.

parents (list of tasks): Opposite of children.

date (date): This is the date on which the given task is displayed in the agenda view. It doesn't have a strict meaning; you can use it as a deadline, a soft schedule date, or just a date where you would like to be reminded of the task.

wait (date): A task is marked as inactive until its wait date. Use this to hide tasks that you won't care about until some point in the future.

color (red | green | yellow | blue | magenta | cyan): The task will be shown as this color. You can use this for whatever you want. It can be useful to show important tasks in a strong color, like red or yellow.

effort (number): An estimate of how much "effort" the task will take to complete. This determines the size of the task in the graphical schedule view.

order (number): When two tasks have the same date, their order in the agenda view is determined by this property.


Operators have different meanings in filter expressions and modify expressions. The meaning of an operator may also depend on the type of its left argument.

Filter Operators

Any type:

  • property:value — Matches if the property has exact value.


  • property/{search term} — Matches if the property contains search term.
  • property<{prefix} — Matches if the property starts with prefix.
  • property>{suffix} — Matches if the property ends with suffix.


  • property+<value> — Matches if the property contains the value.
  • property-<value> — Matches if the property does not contain the value. (Equivalent to !property+<value>.)


  • property>$1 — Matches if the property is stricly greater than 1. (Use !property<$1 for greater than or equal.)
  • property<$1 — Matches if the property is stricly less than 1. (Use !property>$1 for less than or equal.)


  • property>Today — Matches if the date is after today.
  • property<Today — Matches if the date is before today.

Modify Operators

Any type:

  • property:<value> — Assign the value to the property.


  • property<{prefix} — Preprend prefix to the property.
  • property>{suffix} — Append suffix to the property.


  • property+$1 — Add 1 to the property.
  • property-$1 — Subtract 1 from the property.


  • property+<value> — Add the value to the list.
  • property-<value> — Remove the value from the list if it exists.


  • property+$7 — Add 7 days (a week) to the property.
  • property-$7 — Subtract 7 days (a week) from the property.


Untask requires Racket version 7.4 or later. It also requires rlwrap to be installed in order to run.


On Ubuntu, use the PPA plt/racket to get the latest version of Racket:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:plt/racket
sudo apt-get install racket

You will also have to install rlwrap. This can be done with:

sudo apt-get install rlwrap

Arch Linux

Install Racket and rlwrap with:

sudo pacman -S racket rlwrap


Windows is not supported.


MacOS is not supported.


First, install the necessary dependencies (see above).

Clone this repository into a directory named untask (the name matters for running tests).

In the top-level directory, run:

raco pkg install --auto

This will install any missing dependencies. In order to create an executable, run:

make untask

This will create the file untask, which can be run directly.


A scriptable task manager for the command line, written in Racket. Not actively updated.