Todo Mode User Manual

This manual describes the version of Todo mode first appearing in Emacs 24.4.

Copyright © 2013–2024 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual”, and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”

Table of Contents

1 Overview

The Todo mode package provides facilities for making and maintaining todo lists. A todo list is a list of todo items—things to do (in the widest sense)—arranged in order of priority, with the highest priority item at the top of the list and the lowest priority item at the bottom.

This manual describes the Todo mode user interface. Todo mode comprises a large number of commands and user options for creating, displaying, navigating and editing todo lists, distributed across five major modes. The principle major mode is Todo mode; the other four (Todo Edit mode, Todo Archive mode, Todo Categories mode, and Todo Filtered Items mode) are subsidiary to and accessible from Todo mode.

This version of Todo mode greatly expands on, and in significant ways differs from, the original version; for details and consequences of the most important differences, Legacy Todo Mode Files.

1.1 Levels of Organization

In Todo mode each todo list is identified with a named category, so you can group together thematically related todo items. Each category is stored in a file, which thus provides a further level of organization. You can create as many todo files, and in each as many categories, as you want.

All todo files reside in a single directory, whose location is specified by the user option todo-directory. This directory may also contain other types of Todo files, which are discussed later (see Todo Archive Mode and Todo Filtered Items Mode). When you use a Todo mode command to create a todo file, the extension ‘.todo’ is automatically added to the base name you choose (as a rule, this name is also used for the other types of Todo files, which have their own extensions). As a user, you only have to deal with the base name of a Todo file.

When you create a new todo file, you must also add at least one category to it, and each todo item belongs to a category. It is not possible to have an uncategorized todo list, but you can always make a catch-all category with a generic name like “Todo”, which is in fact the default name assigned to the first category when you create a new todo file, if you don’t provide a different name; you can change the default by customizing todo-initial-category.

The most basic level of organization is the todo item itself, since it contains the information about what you want to do. As detailed in subsequent sections of this manual, most Todo mode commands and user options concern ways of classifying and deploying this information by associating various kinds of metadata with it, e.g., the category it belongs to, its priority, whether it is to be included in the Emacs diary, date and time stamps, whether it is done or still to do.

1.2 Todo Items as Diary Entries

You can have todo items show up in the Emacs Fancy Diary display by including the todo file in your diary file (see (emacs)Fancy Diary Display). This effectively augments the Emacs diary with categorized diary entries. All items in an included todo file will appear in the Fancy Diary display except for those that are marked with todo-nondiary-marker. You can add or omit this marking upon creating a new todo item, or you can do so by editing an existing item, see Inserting New Items and Editing Item Headers and Text for details.

To ensure the proper display of todo items in the Fancy Diary display, they must have the format of diary entries, i.e., they have to begin with a date string recognized by the Emacs diary,1 and if they are longer than one line, all lines but the first must begin with white space. Todo mode ensures that these requirements are satisfied (see Other Display Commands and Options).

The Fancy Diary display is also Todo mode aware: if it contains an item from a Todo mode file, clicking or typing RET on this item will switch to the buffer visiting that file and properly display the item’s category, with point on the item.

2 Todo Mode Entry Points

To initialize your first todo file, invoke the command todo-show. This prompts you for a file name (defaulting to the value of todo-initial-file), prompts you for the name of the first category (defaulting to the value of todo-initial-category), creates and visits the file and displays the category in Todo mode, and then prompts you to enter the first item. If you choose not to enter an item now, simply type C-g, which leaves the category empty but otherwise well-formed. If you prefer not to be prompted to enter an item on adding a new category, disable the option todo-add-item-if-new-category.

Once at least one todo file exists, invoking todo-show enters Todo mode. Invoked with a prefix argument, the command prompts for which todo file to visit. Otherwise, the first invocation of this command after loading the Todo mode package visits the default todo file (option todo-default-todo-file) and shows its first category. (You can get a different display with the first invocation of todo-show by customizing the option todo-show-first; see Todo Categories Mode and Files of Filtered Items.)

If you leave Todo mode and later invoke todo-show to re-enter it, by default this returns you to the current (i.e., last displayed) category of the current todo file, which is the one in the most recently selected and still live buffer visiting a todo file. If you disable the option todo-show-current-file, then non-initial invocations of todo-show always return to the first or current category of the default todo file.

If you want to enter Todo mode and go directly to a specific category instead the first or current category in the current or default todo file, use the command todo-jump-to-category; Navigation, for details. You can also enter Todo mode by invoking the command todo-insert-item; Inserting New Items, for details.

The most convenient way to use these commands to enter Todo mode is to define global key bindings for them in your init file. Good choices are C-c t for todo-show, C-c j for todo-jump-to-category and C-c i for todo-insert-item, since these commands are bound to t, j and i, respectively, in Todo mode.

You can leave Todo mode by typing q (todo-quit), which buries the current todo file buffer. Doing this also saves any changes you have made to the file, and leaves both the file and the category that was displayed on quitting current for subsequent Todo mode commands (unless the buffer made current by quitting is visiting another file and category in Todo mode, in which case the latter become current for Todo mode commands).

3 Key Binding Conventions

For Todo mode commands to function properly, it is essential to maintain the correct format at all three levels of organization—item, category, and file. Todo mode tries to minimize the risk of format corruption by hiding certain parts of the format from the user, making the buffer read-only and suppressing the self-insertion keys. Consequently, it is normally impossible to make changes to your todo files without explicitly invoking Todo mode commands.

A beneficial side effect of this restrictiveness is that you can invoke almost all Todo commands by typing ordinary printing characters, either singly or in specified sequences, without using modifier keys, except for the shift key for capitalization and the raw prefix argument C-u; numeric prefix arguments can be entered just by typing a number key.

The predefined key bindings in Todo are more or less mnemonic. As a rule, key sequences beginning with C (capital ‘C’, not the control key) are bound to commands applying to categories, sequences beginning with F apply to (non-archive) file-level commands, and those beginning with A apply to archives (a special type of Todo file; Todo Archive Mode). Todo commands applying to items, which constitute the majority, are bound to lower case key sequences.

5 Editing

Editing in Todo mode means making structural or textual changes at one of the levels of organization (file, category, or item). Structural editing includes adding, relocating and removing units of information at a level; textual editing includes renaming files or categories and changing an item’s content or date/time stamp, or adding certain kinds of marks or tags to items. Todo mode provides commands, detailed in the following sections, which enable you to quickly and safely make changes to your todo lists, without having to worry about preserving the file format.

To save changes you make to the current todo file, type s (todo-save). Changes are also saved on quitting Todo mode with q.

5.1 File Editing and Todo Edit Mode

There are four file-level editing commands:

F a

Add a new todo file (todo-add-file). This command prompts for a name and creates the file in todo-directory, adding the ‘.todo’ extension (so you should not include the extension in the name you enter). The command also prompts for the file’s first category and, if option todo-add-item-if-new-category is enabled (the default), for that category’s first item.

F r

Rename the current todo file (todo-rename-file). If called with a prefix argument, prompt for a todo file and rename it. If the todo file has an archive (see Todo Archive Mode) or there are corresponding filtered items files (see Todo Filtered Items Mode), this command renames these accordingly. If there are live buffers visiting any of these files, the command also renames them accordingly.

F k

Delete the current todo file (todo-delete-file).4 If the todo file has an archive (see Todo Archive Mode), prompt for whether to delete that as well. This command also kills the buffers visiting the deleted files.

F e

This command (todo-edit-file) changes the buffer’s major mode to Todo Edit mode. In this mode the entire file is visible, the buffer is writable and you can use the self-insertion keys and standard Emacs editing commands to make changes. To return to Todo mode, type C-x C-q (todo-edit-quit).

The command F e is not intended for normal editing of items and categories, as it circumvents the restrictions that Todo imposes to protect against file format corruption (i.e., all categories, not just the current one, and all internal formatting are exposed and editable). It is provided primarily as a convenience for two types of use cases that are likely to arise infrequently. One is to be able to use standard Emacs commands like query-replace to replace a piece of text that occurs in different categories throughout the file. The other use case is to recover from a mistake, such as accidentally deleting an item, since this cannot be undone in Todo mode.

Using C-x C-q to quit Todo Edit mode provides a measure of safety, since it runs a file format check, signaling an error if the format has become invalid. However, this check cannot tell if the number of items or categories changed, which could result in the file containing inconsistent information (see the cautionary note in Reordering Categories, for more details). Invoking F e displays a warning to this effect.

5.2 Category Editing

The following commands are available for editing specifically at the category level (for two other category-editing commands, which are extensions of item commands, see Editing Item Headers and Text):

C a

Add a new category to the current todo file and make that category current (todo-add-category). If called with a prefix argument, prompt for a file name and add the new category to that file. This command is similar to using j, but it only accepts category names that are not the name of an existing category in the file.

C r

Rename the current category (todo-rename-category). If this category’s file has an archive (see Todo Archive Mode) with a corresponding category, rename the category there as well.

C m

Move the current category (with all its items) to another todo file (todo-move-category). If this category’s file has an archive (see Todo Archive Mode) with a corresponding category, this command also moves that category to the archive file corresponding to the moved to todo file; if there is no such archive file, the command creates it and adds the category.

C k

Delete the current category (todo-delete-category).5 To delete a category that contains items, you have to confirm your intent; if the category is empty, deletion is immediate.

C g

Merge the items of one category into another category, delete the first category and make the second category current (todo-merge-category). If both the first and second categories also have archived items (see Todo Archive Mode), merge the former to the latter. If only the first category has archived items, rename the archive category to the merged to category. Minibuffer completion of the name of the category merged to works as with the navigation command j, and as with that command, passing a prefix argument, i.e., typing C-u C g, prompts for a file and confines merging to a category in that file.

5.3 Item Editing

Todo mode provides commands for adding new items as well as textually changing, deleting and relocating existing items. The commands and associated options for adding and editing items, in particular, offer you a lot of flexibility to fine-tune these operations to your needs.

5.3.1 Inserting New Items

To add a new todo item to a category, type i, which is bound to the command todo-insert-item.


This command is the entry point for inserting new items into a category (todo-insert-item). It prompts for additional keys until reaching a complete key sequence, which specifies the insertion parameters you wish to apply (see below). It then prompts for the text of the item, which you enter in the minibuffer.6 Called with one prefix argument, it also prompts for a category, and called with two prefix arguments, it prompts for both a file and a category from that file, and inserts the item accordingly; category name completion works as with the navigation command j. Finally, it inserts the item into the current or selected category of the current or selected todo file at the position in the list corresponding to the priority you choose, which also depends on the insertion parameters.

The name of this command reflects the fact that you can insert a new item into the category at any position, giving each new item any priority in the list, whereas speaking of adding an item to a category suggests appending it to the top or bottom.

In addition to its file and category, each newly inserted todo item has a priority in the category and begins with a header string, which includes at least the current date in the same format used by diary-insert-entry (see (emacs)Date Formats). You can specify the priority and the content of the header string in two ways. First, you can set the following item insertion options, which apply on every invocation of todo-insert-item.

  • todo-default-priority is for automatically assigning a new item the highest or lowest priority in the category, if you do not explicitly assign it a priority on invoking todo-insert-item. By default, such new items are given highest priority, i.e., inserted at the top of the list.
  • todo-always-add-time-string is for including or omitting the current time in the new item’s header. By default, this time string is omitted.
  • todo-include-in-diary is for specifying whether the item appears in the Fancy Diary display (when the todo file is included in the Emacs diary file) by adding or omitting todo-nondiary-marker. By default, new todo items are so marked, thus excluded from the diary.
  • todo-diary-nonmarking is for adding or omitting diary-nonmarking-symbol to items displayed in the diary, to control whether they are marked in the calendar (see (emacs)Format of Diary File). By default, todo items that are diary entries lack this symbol, thus are marked in the calendar.

Beside setting these options, for more flexibility you can also pass certain parameters on each invocation of todo-insert-item. These parameters concern not only the new item’s priority and header, but also its textual content. You pass these parameters by typing a sequence of one or more keys after the initial i.

Here is a list of the item insertion parameters together with their mnemonically associated keys7 and descriptions of their effect in todo-insert-item:

  1. default’ (i): Prompt for the new item’s priority (a number between 1 and one more than the number of items already in the category) and add a header string conforming to the values of the above options.

    copy’ (p): Make an exact copy of the item at point, including its header string, and prompt for its priority. (This is useful for quickly making a new todo item whose text or header you want to differ only partly from that of an existing item: after inserting the copy, you can quickly edit it as needed by using operations described in the next section.)

  2. diary’ (y): Override the option todo-include-in-diary; that is, add todo-nondiary-marker if the option is non-nil, omit this marker if the option is nil.

    nonmarking’ (k): Override the option todo-diary-nonmarking; that is, add diary-nonmarking-symbol if the option is non-nil, omit this symbol if the option is nil. Since this symbol only applies to diary items, the new item is automatically marked as such, i.e., lacks todo-nondiary-marker.

  3. calendar’ (c): Pop up the Emacs calendar and click a date in it to use that date in the new todo item’s header.

    date’ (d): Prompt for entering in the minibuffer the year, month (with completion) and day number components of the header.

    dayname’ (n): Prompt for entering in the minibuffer a weekday name as the date header instead of a year-month-day string.

  4. time’ (t): Prompt for entering a time string in the minibuffer instead of automatically inserting the current time; however, typing RET at the prompt enters the current time if todo-always-add-time-string is non-nil, otherwise it enters the empty string (i.e., no time string).
  5. here’ (h): Insert the new item in the position of the item at point, pushing that and all lower items in the category down, i.e., lowering their priority, by one.

    region’ (r): Use the text of the selected region as the text of the new item, and insert this in accordance with the item insertion options and other parameters passed. If the option todo-use-only-highlighted-region is non-nil, then use the region only when it is highlighted; otherwise, use the region regardless of highlighting.

Note that the parameters are divided into five numbered groups; within a group, the parameters are mutually exclusive. Hence, to build a complete insertion operation, you select at most one parameter from at least one of these groups, by typing the corresponding key. If you want to apply more than one parameter, you must type the corresponding keys in the order of the numbered groups, subject to the following constraints.

The keys of groups 2-4 are continuation keys, that is, each can be followed by a key from a following group. If you want to finish the sequence with a continuation key, you must double the final key. For example, i y is not a complete key sequence; rather, you must type i y y.

By contrast, the keys of groups 1 and 5 are final keys; for example, i i and i h are complete sequences. The reason for making two separate groups of the final keys is that the parameters ‘default’ and ‘copy’ cannot be combined with any other parameters, while ‘here’ and ‘region’ can be combined with any of the parameters from groups 2-4.

To aid you in building item insertion key sequences, when you type an insertion key, this displays a prompt in the echo area showing pairs of the remaining possible keys and their associated parameters, grouped and ordered in accordance with the above list. The initial prompt, after typing i to invoke todo-insert-item, looks like this:

Press a key (so far i):  { i=>default p=>copy } { y=>diary k=>nonmarking } { c=>calendar d=>date n=>dayname } t=>time { h=>here r=>region }

If you now type y, the prompt changes to this:

Press a key (so far i y):  y=>diary:GO! { c=>calendar d=>date n=>dayname } t=>time { h=>here r=>region }

Notice that the pair ‘k=>nonmarking’ is now absent, since it belongs to the same group as the selected pair ‘y=>diary’, hence is no longer available for this sequence. Since y is a continuation key, it is still available, but now the string ‘:GO!’ is appended to the pair to remind you that pressing this key again will complete the sequence.

An alternative to the key sequence i c c for choosing the item’s date from the calendar is also available: when point is already on a date in the calendar, typing i t (todo-insert-item-from-calendar) prompts for a new item and its priority and inserts it in the current category. This command, like todo-insert-item, also accepts one or two prefix arguments for choosing the category via minibuffer completion. Note, however, that the key sequence i t is not defined in Todo mode but in the Calendar mode keymap. It is a convenient shortcut if you happen to be using the calendar when you decide to make a new todo item. (Contrast this with passing the ‘calendar’ parameter, which pops open the calendar after you have entered the item’s text, and then you can choose a date from the calendar.)

5.3.2 Editing Item Headers and Text

To make changes to an existing item’s content or header, type e, which is bound to the command todo-edit-item.


This command is the entry point for textually editing existing items in a category (todo-edit-item). It prompts for additional keys until reaching a complete key sequence, which specifies the editing parameters you wish to apply (see below), and then executes the editing operation accordingly.

Here is a list of the item editing parameters together with their mnemonically associated keys and descriptions of their effect in todo-edit-item. The list is divided into three groups, for reasons explained below.

  1. edit’ (e): Edit the text of the current item in the minibuffer; the item’s header is omitted.

    header’ (h): Edit the text and header of the current item in the minibuffer.

    multiline’ (m): Edit the text of the current item in a special buffer in Todo Edit mode. After editing, type C-x C-q to return to Todo mode.8

    diary’ (y): Change the current item’s diary inclusion status by adding todo-nondiary-marker if the item lacks this, or by removing it if present.

    nonmarking’ (k): Change the current item’s calendar marking status by adding diary-nonmarking-symbol if the item lacks this, or by removing it if present. Since this symbol only applies to diary items, the item is automatically marked as such, i.e., if todo-nondiary-marker is present, it is removed.

    date’ (d): Prompt for a final key from the second group of item editing parameters to edit the current item’s date string.

    time’ (t): Edit the current item’s time string, if present; otherwise, add one. Typing RET at the prompt enters the current time if todo-always-add-time-string is non-nil, otherwise it enters the empty string (i.e., no time string).

Editing the text of a lengthy item in the minibuffer can be inconvenient; therefore, if you type e e or e h on an item whose text contains more than one logical line, the effect is the same as if you had typed e m, that is, you switch a special buffer in Todo Edit mode.

When you pass any of the parameters of the preceding group, except for the ‘date’ parameter, this completes the item editing invocation begun by typing e. Pressing d to pass the ‘date’ parameter, however, prompts you with the following parameters and their associated keys, and pressing any of these completes the invocation.

  1. full’ (f): Successively prompt for editing the year, month (with completion) and day number parts of the current item’s date string, and, if the option todo-always-add-time-string is non-nil, also for editing its time string.

    calendar’ (c): This pops up the Emacs calendar, and after you type RET on a date in the calendar makes that date the item’s date.

    today’ (a): Make the item’s date today’s date.

    dayname’ (n): Prompt for a weekday name (with completion) and make it the item’s date header. Note that this replaces an existing date string, it does not add the day name to the date string.

    year’ (y): Edit just the year component of the current item’s date string.

    month’ (m): Edit just the month component of the current item’s date string (with completion).

    daynum’ (d): Edit just the day number component of the current item’s date string.

With the latter three parameters you can add a positive or negative numeric prefix argument to the invocation: this increments or decrements the selected date component by the given number and automatically adjusts the other date components if necessary. For example, if the item’s date string is “January 1, 2013”, then typing - 3 e d d results in “December 29, 2012”.

The first two groups of parameters apply only to todo items that are not marked as done (see Done Items); the two parameters of the third group, in contrast, apply only to done todo items. You cannot edit the text of such items, but you can edit or delete the comment you may have added on marking the item as done (see todo-item-done,), or retroactively add a comment, by passing either of these parameters.

  1. add/edit comment’ (c): Edit the current done item’s comment, if it has one; otherwise, prompt for and add a comment.

    delete comment’ (d): Delete the current done item’s comment, if it has one.

The command todo-edit-item is sensitive to the distinction between not done and done todo items. If you type e when point is on a done item, this displays the following prompt in the echo area:

Press a key (so far e): c=>add/edit comment d=>delete comment

Only by typing c or d in response to this prompt can you complete the invocation. In contrast, if you type e when point is on a non-done todo item, this displays the following prompt in the echo area, and you can continue or complete the invocation only by typing one of the listed keys:

Press a key (so far e): e=>edit h=>header m=>multiline y=>diary k=>nonmarking d=>date t=>time

As noted above, passing the ‘date’ parameter does not complete the invocation of todo-edit-item; rather, it displays the following prompt, and typing any of these keys does complete the invocation:

Press a key (so far e d): f=>full c=>calendar a=>today n=>dayname y=>year m=>month d=>daynum

In addition to the item-level invocations e y, to change the current item’s diary inclusion status, and e k, to change the current item’s calendar marking status, Todo mode also has two related category-level commands:

C e y
C e k

Add todo-nondiary-marker and diary-nonmarking-symbol, respectively, to all todo items in the current category; if invoked with a prefix argument, these markings are removed from all items in the category.

Like e k, C e k automatically removes todo-nondiary-marker from all items it is present on, since only diary items can bear diary-nonmarking-symbol.

Since categories often contain a mix of items marked for diary inclusion and exclusion, and of the former, a mix of those to be marked and those not to be marked in the calendar, it is more useful for these category-level commands, unlike the item-level commands, not to be toggles, but to have the same effect on all items in the category, and take a prefix argument to reverse the effect. (If you really want to toggle the diary-inclusion and calendar-marking status of all items in the category, you can do this by marking all the items and then invoking e y or e k, see Marked Items).

5.3.3 Relocating and Removing Items

In addition to inserting a new todo item and changing the text or header of an existing item, you can also move an item to another category (i.e., recategorize it), change its priority within its category, delete it from the category and file, or mark it as a “done” item, which removes it from the todo list but does not delete it. Reprioritizing Items

There are three ways to change a todo item’s priority:


Raise the current item’s priority by one, exchanging its position in the list with that of the item directly above it (todo-raise-item-priority).


Lower the current item’s priority by one, exchanging its position in the list with that of the item directly below it (todo-lower-item-priority).


Prompt for a number and relocate the item to the corresponding position in the list (todo-set-item-priority). For example, entering 3 at the prompt makes the item the third in the category, i.e., gives it third highest priority; all lower priority items are pushed down by one. You can also pass the desired priority as a numeric prefix argument, e.g., 3 # gives the item third highest priority without prompting. (Prefix arguments have no effect with r or l.) Moving and Deleting Items

You can move an item to another category, thereby recategorizing it:


Move the item at point to another category (todo-move-item). This prompts for a category to move the item to, displays that category, prompts for the priority of the moved item in the category moved to and inserts the item accordingly. Minibuffer completion of the name of the category moved to works as with the navigation command j, and as with that command, passing a prefix argument prompts for a file and moves the item to a category in that file; and if the category name you enter is new, then you are asked whether to add the category to the file, and if you affirm, the item is moved to the new category.

You can delete an item, thereby permanently (and, as far as Todo mode is concerned, irrevocably) removing it from the todo file:


Delete the todo item at point (todo-delete-item; the binding is mnemonic for “kill”, since d is used for marking items as done (see Done Items); but note that k does not put the item into the kill ring). This command requires confirmation that you want to delete the item, since you cannot undo the deletion in Todo mode. (You could use F e to recover the item, but be aware that this would put the file in an inconsistent state, which you can recover from, but not without a risk; cf. the cautionary note in Reordering Categories.)

Note: Todo commands that require user confirmation, such as k, use a modified form of y-or-n-p, which by default only accepts y or Y, but not SPC, as an affirmative answer. This is to diminish the risk of unintentionally executing the command, which is especially important with commands that do deletion, since there is no Todo command to undo a deletion. If you want to be able to use SPC for confirmation, enable the option todo-y-with-space. Done Items

When the activity or thing that a todo item is about has been done, it is natural to eliminate the item from the todo list. But instead of deleting it permanently, you may prefer to keep a record of your accomplishments by marking the item as done. In Todo mode, this removes the done item from the todo list, so as not to clutter it up, and stores it elsewhere. Such stored items form a record or diary of things done. The Todo package provides two such stores: the “done items” section of a Todo category, described here, and done item archives (see Todo Archive Mode).


This command (todo-item-done) removes the todo item at point from the todo list, appends to the original header a header consisting of todo-done-string (by default ‘DONE ’) and the current date, and if todo-always-add-time-string is enabled, also the current time, and adds the resulting done item to the top of the done items section of the category. Invoked with a prefix argument, it also prompts you to enter a comment, which is appended to the end of the done item, prefixed with todo-comment-string (by default ‘COMMENT: ’).

A category’s done items section is located below the last todo (i.e., not done) item in the category. By default this section is hidden from view. There are two commands for viewing and hiding done items; since these are toggle commands, for convenience they also have a single key binding:

C v

Make the done items section of the current category visible if it is hidden, or hide it if it is visible (todo-toggle-view-done-items). If you always want to see the done items section on entering a category, enable the option todo-show-with-done; you can still use C v or v to hide (and unhide) it.


Toggle the standard category display in the current todo file, i.e., display only the done items section of each category in the file, or if this is visible, hide it again and display only the todo items section (todo-toggle-view-done-only).

Since done items are meant to be a record of your finished todo items, you cannot apply to them the same kinds of editing operations available to unfinished todo items. However, as explained in Editing Item Headers and Text and repeated below for convenience, you can edit or delete a done item’s comment, or retroactively add a comment. You can also relocate a done item, and you can revert its done status, making it an unfinished item again.

e c

Edit the current done item’s comment, if it has one; otherwise, prompt for and add a comment.

e d

Delete the current done item’s comment, if it has one.


Move the done item at point to the top of the done items section of another category (todo-move-item). This is useful in case, after having finished a todo item and relocated it to its category’s done items section, you create a category that is better suited to the content of the done item than its current category; in other words, you can retroactively recategorize the done item.


If you decide the done item at point is not done after all, this command “undoes” it, i.e., restores it to the todo list of its category, with the priority you choose for it (todo-item-undone). If the done item has a comment, you are asked whether to delete it from the restored item.

6 Todo Archives

When the done items section of a category itself starts to become cluttered, or if you just want to store some accomplished todo items in a separate file, you can move them to a Todo archive. This is a file with exactly the same structure as a todo file, i.e., divided into categories, but differs in that the categories contain only done items. Todo archives reside, like todo files, in todo-directory but have the extension ‘.toda’ instead of ‘.todo’.

6.1 Creating and Visiting Archives

Todo mode provides the following command for archiving items:

A d

This command (todo-archive-done-item) archives the done item at point. Invoked with a prefix argument, it archives all done items in the current todo category. If an archive for the current todo file already exists and contains a category with the same name as the current todo category, then this command moves the done item to the top of the corresponding archive category. If the archive exists but it does not have a corresponding category, this command creates the category in the archive and moves the done item to it. If no archive for the todo file exists, the command creates both the archive file, using the same base name as that of the todo file, as well as the category, and moves the done item to it.

Typing A d is also the only way within the Todo mode package to create an archive file and its categories. Consequently, as a rule each archive file corresponds to exactly one todo file and has the same base name as this file, and each category in an archive file corresponds to and has the same name as a category in the corresponding todo file. Exceptions can only arise if you delete a todo file but not the corresponding archive, or if you delete a category in a todo file that has a corresponding category in an archive.

You might be inclined to do the latter if you have archived all the items from a given todo category and you don’t plan to add new items to it. In particular, if you have numerous such empty categories in a todo file, this can make sequential navigation in the file annoying. You can avoid this annoyance by deleting these categories, but only at the cost of putting the todo file out of synch with the archive file.

You may find it preferable not to delete empty todo categories but to enable the option todo-skip-archived-categories. When this is non-nil, such empty todo categories are skipped over by the sequential category navigation commands f and b, so they don’t distract you while navigating and you maintain the structural correspondence between todo and archive files (you can also still jump to empty todo categories with j).

If you rename a todo category that has a corresponding category in an archive, the archive category is also automatically identically renamed. Likewise, if you move such a todo category to another file; in this case, if there is no archive file corresponding to the todo file the category is moved to, then the archive is automatically created and the archived category is moved to it.

There are two commands in Todo mode for visiting archive files:

A f

Switch to a buffer displaying the archived category corresponding to the current todo category (todo-find-archive). If the todo category has no archived items, the command asks if you want to visit the archive anyway. If there is no archive for this todo file, it asks if you want to visit another archive, which you can select via minibuffer completion.

A c

Choose an archive to visit, whether or not the current todo file has an archive (todo-choose-archive).

As with todo files, you can also visit a Todo archive by invoking a standard Emacs file-visiting command; this displays the first (on the initial invocation) or current category of the archive.

6.2 Todo Archive Mode

When you visit a Todo archive, the buffer is in Todo Archive mode. It displays categories just as in Todo mode, except that they only contain done items. It provides the same sequential navigation commands as Todo mode: f and b navigate between the categories of the current archive, and n and p navigate between the done items of the current archive category.

The commands t and j are also available in Todo Archive mode, and they work the same as in Todo mode, which means they can only be used to return to Todo mode: t prompt for and switch to a todo file, and with j you can only jump to a todo category. These commands exclude archives because an archive file has the same base name as the corresponding todo file, and category name completion uses only the base names, so the commands cannot know which type of file you want to visit. For this reason, there is a special command in Todo Archive mode for jumping to another archive category or visiting another archive file:


This command (todo-jump-to-archive-category) prompts for a category in the current archive and jumps to it. Called with a prefix argument, it prompts for another archive, then for a category in it and jumps to that category.

None of the Todo mode editing commands are available in Todo Archive mode, since archives are meant to be static records of accomplished todo items. Should you, however, archive an item by mistake or simply change your mind about the archival status of an item, you can “unarchive” it:


Restore the done item at point to the top of the done items section of the corresponding category in the corresponding todo file, i.e., an unarchived item remains a done item (todo-unarchive-items). When the last item in an archive category has been unarchived, the category is automatically deleted from the archive. If this was the only category in the archive, the archive file is also automatically deleted.

Since it is natural to visit an archive from the corresponding todo file, it would be convenient to easily return to the todo file when you have finished browsing the archive. If you type q to quit Todo Archive mode, this switches to the corresponding todo file and shows the todo category corresponding to the archive category you were just visiting.

The command F k (see File Editing and Todo Edit Mode) is also available in Todo Archive mode. It deletes the current archive file and prompts you whether to delete the corresponding todo file.

7 Marked Items

For many item editing commands it can make sense and be convenient to apply them simultaneously to more than one item in the current category. Todo facilitates this by means of marked items.


Mark the item at point if it is unmarked, and remove the mark it is already marked (todo-toggle-mark-item). The mark is a string specified by the option todo-item-mark (by default ‘*’) appended in front of the item header (more precisely, in front of the item’s priority number or prefix; see Todo Display Features, for details of the latter). After marking the current item, the command advances point to the next item. It also accepts a numeric prefix argument, which allows toggling the mark of multiple consecutive items.

C *

Mark all todo items in the current category.

C u

Unmark all todo item in the current category.

You can also use the last two commands to mark or unmark all done items in the category, but only when only the done items section is being displayed, i.e., after invoking C V or V.

The following commands operate on marked items:

The item insertion, textual editing and priority changing commands do not operate on marked items.

If you use m, d, A d or u on multiple noncontiguous marked items, the relocated items retain their relative order but are now listed consecutively en bloc.

You can mark both todo and done items, but note that only m and k can apply to both; other commands only affect either marked todo or marked done items, so if both types of items are marked, invoking these commands has no effect and informs you of your erroneous attempt.

8 Todo Categories Mode

It can be helpful to have a compact overview of the categories in a todo file and the types of items it contains; the Todo package provides a tabular view of this information.

F c

Typing this command (todo-show-categories-table) in Todo mode or Todo Archive mode switches to a buffer displaying a table that gives an overview of the categories in the current todo or archive file. This buffer is in Todo Categories mode.

The table consists of a column containing the names of the categories in the file, followed by columns containing counts of certain types of items in each category. With todo files there are four count types: all todo (i.e., not done) items, diary items (i.e., those todo items lacking the todo-nondiary-marker, which hence can appear in the Fancy Diary display), done (but not archived) items, and archived items. With archive files all items are done, so the table only has a column for this count. The final row of the table gives total item counts across all categories in the file.

Aside from explicitly invoking F c to display the table of categories, you can also arrange to have it displayed on the first invocation of todo-show for a given file (i.e., either using todo-show to initiate a Todo session, or calling it in Todo mode to visit another todo file). To do this customize the option todo-show-first.

8.1 Table of Item Counts

Above each column of the table is a labeled button you can press by clicking with the mouse or by typing RET on it. Pressing an item count button sorts the table alternately in ascending or descending order according to the type of count. Pressing the category button alternates between the initial numerical order of the categories and alphabetical order. In numerical order the column of category names is preceded by a column containing the corresponding category numbers; this column is not displayed in the alphabetical listing. Instead of pressing the buttons, you can also sort the table by typing the following keys:

  • c to sort by category numerically or alphabetically;
  • t to sort by todo item counts;
  • y to sort by diary item counts;
  • d to sort by done item counts;
  • a to sort by archived item counts.

Each row of the table is also buttonized; pressing one of these exits the buffer (killing it), returns to the buffer of the file from which you had invoked F c, and displays the category that was named in the row button you pressed (i.e., pressing this button jumps to that category). However, if the category named in the row is in a todo file and all of its items have been archived, and you have enabled the option todo-skip-archived-categories, then pressing the button jumps to the archive category instead of the empty todo category. You can recognize such categories by their items counts in the table—all columns but the archived one have counts of zero—and in addition, their lines in the table are also distinguished from the others by a different face (see Faces).

You can navigate around the table:


Advance point to the next button.


Put point on the previous button.

These commands are cyclic, e.g., when point is on the last button, pressing n moves it to the first button.

Typing q exits Todo Categories mode, killing the buffer and returning to the current category in the Todo mode or Todo Archive mode buffer from which you had invoked F c.

8.2 Reordering Categories

Todo Categories mode provide commands with which you can change the numbering of the categories in the current file. This renumbering has the effect of reordering the categories for sequential navigation by f and b in Todo mode and Todo Archive mode. These commands are only operative when the table displays the categories in their numerical order. They work just like reprioritizing items in Todo mode, hence have the same key bindings:


Raise the current line of the table (the one the cursor is on), decreasing the category’s number by one (todo-raise-category). This command exchanges lines, and hence the numbers, of the category at point and the one above it before invoking the command.


Lower the current line of the table, increasing the category’s number by one (todo-lower-category). This command exchanges lines, and hence the numbers, of the category at point and the one below it before invoking the command.


Prompt for a number between 1 and the number of categories in the file and reorder the table accordingly (todo-set-category-number). If called with a numeric prefix argument within the allowed range, reorder the table without prompting.

The reordering done by these commands remains in effect when you return to Todo mode or Todo Archive mode and, as long as you save the todo or archive file after reordering, in subsequent sessions as well.

Caution: It is important to be aware that renumbering the categories does not change the textual order of the categories in the file. This is significant if you should invoke F e to edit the entire file manually and in so doing alter the number of categories or the number of items in a category: this will make the information shown in the table of categories of this file inconsistent with its actual state. You can repair this inconsistency by invoking the command todo-repair-categories-sexp (which lacks a key binding, since it is meant to be a rarely needed rescue operation). But this will revert any renumbering of the categories you have made, so you will have to renumber them again. This is one reason why you should exercise caution when using F e.

9 Searching for Items

It can be useful to be able to locate and examine all todo items that fit certain criteria, regardless of which category they belong to. One way to do this in Todo mode is by sequentially searching in the file:


This command (todo-search; the key is capital S) prompts for a regular expression, searches from the beginning of the current todo file and displays the category containing the first match it finds, with the match highlighted. If there are further matches, a message saying how many are left is displayed and you are asked if you want to go to the next match. When you reach the last match, or if you decide not to go to further matches, you are asked whether the match highlighting should be removed.


This command (todo-clear-matches) removes any highlighting added by S. This is so you can leave the matches highlighted at the end of the search and remove the highlighting later.

These commands are also available in Todo Archive mode.

10 Todo Filtered Items Mode

A more powerful alternative to sequential searching is item filtering, by which items from different categories that match specified criteria are gathered and displayed in a new buffer as a kind of virtual category in a distinct mode, Todo Filtered Items mode.

10.1 Filtering Items

Todo mode provides three ways to filter items: a general filter for items matching a user-entered regular expression, as with the search command; and two specific filters, one for diary-displayable items (i.e., those lacking todo-nondiary-marker) and one for top priority items (more on the latter below). The commands for each filter come in pairs, one for filtering just the current todo file and one for filtering a user-specified list of todo files. Thus, there are six item filtering commands:9

  • F x x (todo-filter-regexp-items)
  • F x m (todo-filter-regexp-items-multifile)
  • F y y (todo-filter-diary-items)
  • F y m (todo-filter-diary-items-multifile)
  • F t t (todo-filter-top-priorities)
  • F t m (todo-filter-top-priorities-multifile)

There are two ways to specify which files the multifile filtering commands apply to. If there are files you want to filter every time you use these commands, customize the option todo-filter-files. If you leave this option empty (the default), invoking a multifile filtering command pops up a buffer similar to the Customization buffer for todo-filter-files, in which you can select files to filter just for this invocation.

Diary and top priority items are by definition non-done todo items, but when filtering by regular expression, you can extend the scope of the command to done items by enabling the option todo-filter-done-items. Then F x x and F x m will gather both matching todo and matching done items (including done items from any archive files corresponding to the selected todo files) into the virtual category of filtered items.

There are several ways to specify how many items in each category count as top priorities and hence get filtered by F t t and F t m:

  • The option todo-top-priorities specifies a single default number for all categories and all todo files; its default value is 1, which means just the highest priority item in every category is filtered, unless otherwise specified.
  • The option todo-top-priorities-overrides lists file-wide overrides of todo-top-priorities as well as category-specific overrides. It is empty by default. However, using the Custom facility to set this option would be tedious and error-prone, so instead you should use the commands F t s and C t s. The former sets (i.e., overrides) the default number of top priorities for all categories in the current todo file, and the latter sets the number of top priorities for the current category. To exclude a category or file from filtering by F t t and F t m, set the number to ‘0’.
  • You can invoke F t t and F t m with a numeric prefix argument, which specifies the number of top priorities in each category just for this invocation, overriding both todo-top-priorities-overrides and todo-top-priorities.

10.2 Todo Filtered Items Mode Commands

The output of the item filtering commands looks similar to a regular Todo category, but it is not contained in any todo file and does not have a name on being created, so it is not a “real” category but a “virtual” category. Another difference is the lack of a done items section; either there are no done items in the list (when the filtered items are diary or top priority items), or these are displayed in the same list as todo items (if you filtered by regular expression and allowed done items). A further difference is that the items have an additional header, between the item’s date/time header and its text, specifying which category (and if you invoked a multifile command, also which file) the item comes from, and if you filtered by regular expression, also whether the item comes from a Todo archive.

The sequential item navigation commands n and p work the same in Todo Filtered Items mode as in Todo mode, as do the file and category jumping commands t and j; however, the sequential category navigation commands are unavailable, since virtual categories of filtered items are not ordered with respect to “real” categories. In addition, Todo Filtered Items mode provides a special navigation command:


If you type this command (todo-go-to-source-item) with point on a filtered item, the buffer switches to the item’s source file (in Todo mode or Todo Archive mode, as the case may be) and displays its category, with point on the item.

Filtered items cannot be textually edited, moved to another category, marked done or archived like items in a real todo category, since these would then be out of synch with each other. But there is one type of editing command that does work in Todo Filtered Items mode: changing an item’s priority:


These commands raise, lower, or set, respectively, the current item’s priority in the virtual category.

Using these commands, you can create a cross-category (and even cross-file) prioritized list of filtered items. However, there is a restriction on these commands in Todo Filtered Items mode: you cannot change the relative priorities of items from the same real category, since that would make the filtered list inconsistent with the source todo list.

10.3 Files of Filtered Items

Typing s in Todo Filtered Items mode saves the buffer of filtered items to a file in todo-directory. Files of items filtered by regular expression have the extension ‘.todr’, those with filtered diary items have the extension ‘.tody’ and those with filtered top priorities have the extension ‘.todt’. The extensions are added automatically the first time you save the buffer to a file.

With filtered top priority or diary items, the file is automatically named on first saving it, using as the base name either the same base name as the single todo file it was generated from, or combining the base names of the todo files used in multifile filtering commands. With items filtered by regular expression, it can be useful to save separate lists generated from the same file(s) using different regular expressions, so when saving such a list, you are prompted for a short identifying string to add to the file name.

When you invoke one of the item filtering commands without a prefix argument and a corresponding file already exists, the command visits this file (if, for the current file or chosen files, there are multiple files of items filtered by regular expression, you are prompted to choose one). To force generation of a new filtered list, invoke the command with a prefix argument (in the case of top priority items, either numeric as described above, or the raw prefix argument C-u to use the values of todo-top-priorities-overrides or todo-top-priorities).

Aside from explicitly invoking an item filtering command to display a saved list of items filtered by a given method from given todo files, there are two other ways to visit a saved file of filtered items. You can invoke a command similar to find-file:

F f

Visit a saved file of filtered items, which you choose via minibuffer completion (todo-find-filtered-items-file).

Alternatively, as with tables of categories, by customizing todo-show-first you can have the first invocation of todo-show for a given todo file display the corresponding saved file of filtered items. If there is no saved filtered items list for the file, todo-show simply defaults to visiting the file and displaying its first category, as usual.

The command F k (see File Editing and Todo Edit Mode) is also available in Todo Filtered Items mode. It deletes the current filtered items file.

11 Todo Display Features

You can change the appearance of Todo mode buffers in a variety of ways.

11.1 Faces

Each of the Todo modes uses faces to distinguish various aspects of the display, both structural and informational. For example, the faces for the date and time strings of todo item headers (todo-date and todo-time, respectively) by default inherit the attributes of the corresponding faces used by the Emacs diary; but when the date and time of a Todo diary item (i.e., an item lacking todo-nondiary-marker) is earlier than the current date and time, they are displayed in a different face (todo-diary-expired). In this way, you can readily recognize diary items that have “expired” and act accordingly (e.g., by tagging them as done or by updating the deadlines).

Another example of an informational face is the face used to distinguish top priority items (todo-top-priority). A third case is the face used in Todo Categories mode to mark rows of the table containing categories with only archived items (todo-archived-only).

The todo-faces customization group contains a complete list of Todo mode faces and brief descriptions of their use.

11.2 Item Prefix

In the default display of (real or virtual) categories in Todo mode, Todo Archive mode and Todo Filtered Item mode the items are visually numbered in ascending order, starting with ‘1’ on the top item, displayed to the left of its header (date/time string). With todo items the numbers indicate each item’s priority in the list, so when you reprioritize an item with # or move it with m, these numbers make it easier to choose the item’s new priority. The numbering also lets you to see at a glance how many items there are in the list. When an item is inserted, deleted, or moved, the numbering is automatically updated. In Todo mode, the todo and done items sections in each category are separately numbered.

If you prefer not to have item numbering displayed, disable the option todo-number-prefix; then the display of each item starts by default simply with its header. But you can also replace the numbering with a visually distinctive string of your choice by customizing the option todo-prefix (the empty string by default). Another alternative is to temporarily hide the item numbering:


Toggle between displaying item numbering and displaying the todo-prefix string in the current Todo file (todo, archive, or saved virtual category of filtered items). (This command also works in buffers of filtered items that have not yet been written to a file.)

In the todo items section of each Todo mode category, the item prefix (whether a priority number or a fixed string) of the top priority items (determined as specified in see Filtering Items) is displayed in a face (todo-top-priority) different from the face of the prefix of non-top-priority items, so you see at a glance how many items in the category are top priorities.

11.3 Other Display Commands and Options

There are two additional toggle commands that affect display in the current file:

F h

Hide the item headers if visible, or show them if they are hidden. With done items, only the done header (i.e., the done tag and date-time string inserted when the item was marked done) is hidden, the original date-time string is not. With filtered items, the category (or category-file) tag is not hidden.


Highlight the current item (with the face hl-line) if unhighlighted, or remove its highlighting. When item highlighting is enabled, it follows navigation by n or p. If you want to have current item highlighting by default, enable the option todo-highlight-item. F H or H will still toggle it.

There are two options which affect the display of items whose content is longer than one screen line:

  • todo-indent-to-here sets the amount of indentation for all lines after the first in multiline todo items, which is necessary in order for todo diary items to be fully visible in the Fancy Diary display. The default indentation is 3 spaces. For a uniform appearance this option applies to all items, i.e., diary and nondiary todo items and also done items.
  • todo-wrap-lines allows you to choose, for the purposes of insertion and editing, between treating multiline todo items as containing multiple logical lines with hard line breaks or as multiple visual lines using Visual Line mode; the latter is the default. Since multiparagraph items also contain hard line breaks in Visual Line mode, for a uniform appearance this display shows indentation on wrapped lines by using a wrap-prefix of todo-indent-to-here spaces.

The indentation inserted after a hard newline is actually a tab character, and the Todo modes that display items bind tab-width to todo-indent-to-here, so if you change the default value of the latter, the next time you visit a Todo file, the indentation will reflect your change.

By default, the todo and done items sections of a todo category are visually separated by a line as wide as the window the buffer is displayed in. You can change the appearance and width of the separator by customizing todo-done-separator-string; you can also change the face of the separator string (todo-done-sep).

There are also several options for changing the appearance in Todo Categories mode and Todo Filtered Items mode, beyond those mentioned above in the sections on these modes; see the customization groups todo-categories and todo-filtered for details.

12 Printing Todo Buffers

If you print a Todo buffer using one of the standard Emacs printing commands, it does not look exactly like what you see in the buffer. This is because some of the display features are non-printable (specifically, those using overlays, word-wrap and wrap-prefix). Todo mode provides two print commands that produce output which includes printable counterparts of such display features:


Send the printable buffer output directly to your printer.


Prompt for a file name and write the printable output to that file.

By default, Todo uses ps-print-buffer-with-faces to make the printable version; you can change this by setting the option todo-print-function.

13 Legacy Todo Mode Files

Users of the original version of Todo mode will recognize from the description in this user manual that, although the new version shares with the original version the same basic user interface and handling of todo items, there are some incompatible differences between them, such as the done items sections (there are also other file format incompatibilities behind the scenes that are normally not visible to users).

The most significant incompatibility concerns the item prefix. In the earlier version of Todo mode the prefix was the initial part of the item string itself, so in order for the item to be displayable in the Emacs diary, the prefix had to be a date/time pattern recognizable by the diary (although the todo item also has its own date/time header). Moreover, since all items had the same prefix string in the original version, this means that either only all or no items could appear in the Fancy Diary display on any given date. This considerably restricts the practicality of including todo items in the diary. In contrast, the current version of Todo mode uses overlays for item priority numbering or prefixes, and item-specific diary-compatible date/time headers and special marks for todo items to be excluded from the diary, so you can determine for each item whether and when it appears in the Fancy Diary display.

Due to these incompatibilities, files created with the original version of Todo mode cannot be displayed or edited with the current version. However, this version provides a function that converts the two main types of files used by the original version into new-style valid todo and archive files, respectively, and saves them in todo-directory.10

This conversion function is automatically called the first time you invoke todo-show (i.e., before you have created a todo file with the new version), and if it finds the old-style files, it offers to convert them, making them the first new-style todo and archive files. If you choose not to convert the old-style files at this time, you can do so later by invoking the command todo-convert-legacy-files (there is no key binding for it, since it shouldn’t be necessary to use it often). (A delicate part of the conversion concerns the customizable format of item date/time headers in the old-style; see the documentation string of todo-legacy-date-time-regexp for details.)

Appendix A GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

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    We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.


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    1. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
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    You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

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    A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation’s users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

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    Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

    If a section in the Document is Entitled “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, or “History”, the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.


    You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

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    The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See

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    The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

  Copyright (C)  year  your name.
  Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
  or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
  with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
  Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU
  Free Documentation License''.

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the “with…Texts.” line with this:

    with the Invariant Sections being list their titles, with
    the Front-Cover Texts being list, and with the Back-Cover Texts
    being list.

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.



Two types of dates recognized by the Emacs diary are not supported in the current Todo mode implementation: sexp diary entries and date strings in which the year is omitted (however, the latter type is equivalent to using ‘*’ for an arbitrary year, which Todo mode does support).


Many editing commands can also do this by side effect, but since that is not their main function, they are not included in this section.


A category’s number is automatically assigned when the category is created: the category is appended to the end of the file, so its number is simply the highest until another category is added. There is no command in Todo mode to reorder the numbering of the categories in a todo file, but this is possible from the file’s table of categories; Todo Categories Mode.


The key binding of this command is mnemonic for “kill” to parallel the binding k for item deletion, since d is bound to another item editing command (see Done Items).


This binding is mnemonic for “kill” to parallel the binding k for item deletion, since d is bound to another item editing command (see Done Items).


There are two insertion parameters that override prompting for and manually entering the new item’s text, see below.


The non-mnemonic choice of i for the parameter ‘default’ is motivated by the convenience of repeating the i used to invoke todo-insert-item.


This runs a format check to ensure the item is well-formed. However, unlike the command F e (see File Editing and Todo Edit Mode), e m does not expose you to the risk of putting the file in an inconsistent state, since it puts only the current item in Todo Edit mode.


The use of F in the key sequences of these commands naturally recalls “filter”, but is also consistent with the Todo mode mnemonic key binding convention, since the commands involve one or more whole files.


The original version of Todo mode also allowed saving a file of top priority items, but since you can readily create such a file with the new version, which is also more flexible, no conversion is provided for this file.