Can I have bullet points under a todo?

Sometimes, in a .todo section, I’d like to have a bulleted list as a sub-list of a checkbox. Something like this:

[ ] Task1
[ ] Task2
[ ] Task3
   * Sub-element 1 of task 3
   * Sub-element 2 of task 3
   * Sub-element 3 of task 3
[ ] Task4
[ ] Task5

What’s the best way to accomplish that?

I use double dashes for this:

  • task
    – point of information
    – second point

@lorin You can’t right now.

But I may adjust the todo mode to only effect direct children of the title. This would mean if you wanted nested todo (with checkboxes) you would need to add .todo to the end of the parent item… like so:

- one
- two.todo
	- a
	- b
	- c
- three

So if I made that change (a, b, c) will only get checkboxes if “todo” is added to “two”.

Does that make sense?

Thoughts for or against this?

@jessegrosjean I like the proposal that children of .todos aren’t checkboxes by default.

Here’s an idea: what if the behavior depended on whether the .todo is on a header row. For example, in this case, the children would be checkboxes.

# My heading.todo
- This is a checkbox
   - So is this

But if .todo is just on its own, then children don’t inherit it:

# My heading
- This is a checkbox
  - But this isn't

@jessegrosjean adds a few extra key presses, but I’m not averse to the idea.

@lorin interesting suggestion, but would break compatibility with TaskPaper editors. For example, I’m using Editorial’s TaskPaper mode for my FoldingText .todo lists on iOS. I need to end project headings with a colon to have it recognised as a project there, so I’m in the habit of having the .todo identifier on the line below— e.g.

# Project Heading:
- action item
- second action item

This has also got me in the habit of putting any other project information before the .todo list…

Hi Jesse,

This is a significant change, and I’m not sure I agree (maybe it’s something where 1/2 of users will want it to work one way and 1/2 want it the other way). Currently in build 741, neither the .todo and .calc modes are inherited, so if I use a top-level heading to start a .calc section and want to add subsections to it, I have to re-state those as .calc as well. This seems to make the whole idea of modes a lot more flimsy.

I’d think that the default behavior should be to inherit modes, and then have specific ways to override this. For example, use the .text mode. For the .todo mode specifically, perhaps only lines starting with a hyphen are recognized as to-do items, or something like that.

Anyway, I hope you’ll consider reverting this. As it is now, it really reduces the power of modes and seems to give them second-class status in the app. Just my opinion.

I was surprised by this behavior in 741. I have a bunch of todo lists with lot of hierarchy. I’ll have to pepper them with .todos to make them work like they did. It’s a lot repetition for something that is homogeneously a todo list.

Worse, this change ruins one of my primary ways of using FoldingText. Previously, I could use all of FoldingText’s Organize menu shortcuts to rearrange of tasks very fluidly. Having to both indent children and declare the parent a .todo seems silly and redundant.

I kind of like the idea @lorin had where a heading would kind of supercharge a mode, though. It’s intuitive: a mode attached to a heading ‘feels louder’ than one on its own line. It would also provide a way to get each behavior without introducing a preference.

Boy, there are a lotta subtleties to this plain text syntax. :smiley:

@jamie @deckhart Thanks for your feedback, I’ll find some way to fix this… though I haven’t quite done it yet.

The implementation of modes themselves hasn’t changed… they are still hierarchical. It’s just the particular ‘todo’ mode implementation that changed. The issues are:

  1. I do think it’s useful to be able to put bullet list items under a todo
  2. But I also see how hierarchy is useful in todo

At the moment the only solution that I see is kinda a fiddly hack, but maybe OK. Maybe in todo mode only list items that start with “-” become todos… if you use “*” or “+” they will remain bullets? Good?

@jessegrosjean That works for me.

@jessegrosjean I think differentiating on the starting character would be a good solution (I think I was going to suggest that in my pervious post). Note that in the 741 the other modes also don’t seem to “cascade” through descendant nodes.

@jessegrosjean This works for me as well.

Works for me. I think I tried using an asterisk in place of the hyphen, the first time around, so so I expect I would have discovered the difference right away.

Any news on this? Doesn’t work the way you agreed on in the latest release.

Just to be clear, Koy, are you hoping for the implementation of Jesse’s following suggestion?:

Not to speak on his behalf, but you’re unlikely to see any news on this before the next release. Jesse’s working on a complete rewrite of the application. Might be that the new release takes care of this, or renders it redundant as an issue…

That’s what I was referring to.


There is something that sounds interesting about Foldingtext. How is this different from say IA Writer Pro or Ulysses. I’m missing soemtjing. It’s the big picture so to speak.

I’d offer the thinking that FoldingText isn’t just a text editor or tool for authoring Markdown documents. In its current incarnation, FoldingText works for me as a text-based active thinking tool. Sounds a bit high-falutin’ I know, but I think that’s probably the easiest way of describing it. A lot of that functionality comes from the Taskpaper functionality that’s baked in— I use FoldingText to manage all of my to-do lists and projects, anything that I want to do, need to do or would like to think about doing at some indeterminable point in the future. But the flexibility is what makes FoldingText more useful to me than any of the other task managers that many of us have experience of.

I’m a writer and an administrator/producer, and having a tool speaks to both sides of my brain is invaluable. Want to type up a quick note that might become a lesson plan, blog post or essay? FoldingText can do it. Want to outline a larger piece of writing, and work within that outline to get actual writing done? FoldingText can do it. Want to track tasks that are due in the near future? FoldingText can do that, too.

Note: I enjoy writing in iA Writer— I use it on occasion for focused writing. Ulysses looks great, but never really did find a place in my workflow…

It’s also worth keeping an eye on the coming changes to FoldingText flagged in the “FoldingText for Atom” threads…

A very good reply. This is exactly what I’d like. It sounds rather perfect really.

Can I ask - IA writer is nice but the one problem I have with it is the font size seems to stuck. As these old eyes grow weary I’m finding something like Typed a little easier on them altough the product isn’t currently working right. Ulysses is for the highly structured individual that might misplace a piece of writing.


iA Writer / font size: as far as I understand it, that’s actually intended behaviour, and part of the “feature set”. The windows are responsive, however— maximise your iA Writer document window to full screen and the text should size up accordingly.

I just discovered FoldingText today and I love it. Have bullets under a todo been implemented? Nested todos are great, but I need bullets under todos much more often. Thanks!