Provided by: task_1.9.4-0ubuntu4_i386
task-faq - A FAQ for the task(1) command line todo manager.
Taskwarrior is a command line TODO list manager. It maintains a list of
tasks that you want to do, allowing you to add/remove, and otherwise
manipulate them. Taskwarrior has a rich list of commands that allow
you to do various things with it.
Welcome to the taskwarrior FAQ. If you have would like to see a
question answered here, please send us a note at
Q: When I redirect the output to a file, I lose all the colors. How do
I fix this?
A: Taskwarrior knows (or thinks it knows) when the output is not
going directly to a terminal, and strips out all the color
control characters. This is based on the assumption that the
color control codes are not wanted in the file. Prevent this
with the following entry in your .taskrc file:
There is an additional problem with using pagers such as 'less'
and 'more'. When using less, these options will preserve the
task ... | less -FrX
There have been problems reported with the Linux 'more' pager,
which inserts newline characters.
Q: How do I backup my taskwarrior data files? Where are they?
A: Taskwarrior writes all pending tasks to the file
and all completed and deleted tasks to
They are text files, so they can just be copied to another
location for safekeeping. Don't forget there is also the
~/.taskrc file that contains your taskwarrior configuration
data. To be sure, and to future-proof your backup, consider
backing up all the files in the ~/.task directory.
Q: How can I separate my work tasks from my home tasks? Specifically,
can I keep them completely separate?
A: You can do this by creating an alternate .taskrc file, then
using shell aliases. Here are example Bash commands to achieve
% cp ~/.taskrc ~/.taskrc_home
% (now edit .taskrc_home to change the value of
% alias wtask="task"
% alias htask="task rc:~/.taskrc_home"
This gives you two commands, 'wtask' and 'htask' that operate
using two different sets of task data files.
Q: Can I revert to a previous version of taskwarrior? How?
A: Yes, you can revert to a previous version of task, simply by
downloading an older version and installing it. If you find a
bug in task, then this may be the only way to work around the
bug, until a patch release is made.
Note that it is possible that the taskwarrior file format will
change. For example, the format changed between versions 1.5.0
and 1.6.0. Taskwarrior will automatically upgrade the file but
if you need to revert to a previous version of taskwarrior,
there is the file format to consider. This is yet another good
reason to back up your task data files!
Q: How do I build taskwarrior under Cygwin?
A: Take a look at the README.build file, where the latest
information on build issues is kept. Taskwarrior is built the
same way everywhere. But under Cygwin, you'll need to make sure
you have the following packages available first:
The gcc and make packages allow you to compile the code, and are
Q: Do colors work under Cygwin?
A: They do, but only in a limited way. You can use regular
foreground colors (black, red, green ...) and you can regular
background colors (on_black, on_red, on_green ...), but
underline and bold are not supported.
If you run the command:
% task colors
Taskwarrior will display all the colors it can use, and you will
see which ones you can use.
Note that if you install the 'mintty' shell in Cygwin, then you
can use 256 colors.
See the 'man task-color' for more details on which colors can be
Q: Where does taskwarrior store the data?
By default, taskwarrior creates a .taskrc file in your home
directory and populates it with defaults. Taskwarrior also
creates a .task directory in your home directory and puts data
Q: Can I edit that data?
Of course you can. It is a simple text file, and looks somewhat
like the JSON format, and if you are careful not to break the
format, there is no reason not to edit it. But taskwarrior
provides a rich command set to do that manipulation for you, so
it is probably best to leave those files alone.
Q: How do I restore my .taskrc file to defaults?
If you delete (or rename) your .taskrc file, taskwarrior will
offer to create a default one for you. Another way to do this
is with the command:
$ task rc:new-file version
Taskwarrior will create 'new-file' if it doesn't already exist.
There will not be much in it though - taskwarrior relies heavily
on default values, which can be seen with this command:
$ task show
which lists all the currently known settings. If you have just
created new-file, then this command lists only the defaults.
Note that this is a good way to learn about new configuration
settings, particularly if your .taskrc file was created by an
Q: Do I need to back up my taskwarrior data?
Yes. You should back up your ~/.task directory, and probably
your ~/.taskrc file too.
Q: Can I share my tasks between different machines?
Yes, you can. Most people have success with a DropBox - a free
and secure file synching tool. Simply configure taskwarrior to
store it's data in a dropbox folder, by modifying the:
configuration variable. Check out DropBox at
Q: I don't like dropbox. Is there another way to synchronize my tasks?
Of course. Especially if you want to modify tasks offline on
both machines and synchronize them later on. For this purpose
there is a 'merge' command which is is able to insert the
modifications you made to one of your task databases into a
Here is a basic example of the procedure:
$ task merge ssh://user@myremotehost/.task/
$ task push ssh://user@myremotehost/.task/
The first command fetches the undo.data file from the remote
system, reads the changes made and updates the local database.
When this merge command completes, you should copy all the local
.data files to the remote system either by using the push
command explicitly or by activating the merge.autopush feature
in the ~/.taskrc file. This way you ensure that both systems are
Q: The undo.data file gets very large - do I need it?
You need it if you want the undo capability, or the merge
capability mentioned above. But if it gets large, you can
certainly truncate it to save space, just be careful to delete
lines from the top of the file, up to and including a separator
'---'. The simplest way is to simply delete the undo.data file.
Note that it does not slow down taskwarrior, because it is never
read until you want to undo. Otherwise taskwarrior only appends
to the file.
Q: How do I know whether my terminal support 256 colors?
You will need to make sure your TERM environment variable is set
to xterm-color, otherwise the easiest way is to just try it!
With version 1.9 or later, you simply run
$ task color
and a full color palette is displayed. If you see only 8 or 16
colors, perhaps with those colors repeated, then your terminal
does not support 256 colors.
See the task-color(5) man page for more details.
Q: How do I make use of all these colors?
Use one of our provided color themes, or create your own - after
all, they are just collections of color settings.
See the task-color(5) man page for an in-depth explanation of
the color rules.
Q: How can I make taskwarrior put the command in the terminal window
You cannot. But you can make the shell do it, and you can make
the shell call the task program. Here is a Bash script that
printf "\033]0;task $*"
You just need to run the script, and let the script run task.
Here is a Bash function that does the same thing:
printf "\033]0;task $*"
Q: Taskwarrior searches in a case-sensitive fashion - can I change
You can. Just set the following value in your .taskrc file:
This will affect searching for keywords:
$ task list Document
taskwarrior will perform a caseless search in the description
and any annotations for the keyword 'Document'. It also affects
description and annotation substitutions:
$ task 1 /teh/the/
The pattern on the left will now be a caseless search term.
Q: Why do the ID numbers change?
Taskwarrior does this to always show you the smallest numbers it
can. The idea is that if your tasks are numbered 1 - 33, for
example, those are easy to type in. If instead task kept a
rolling sequence number, after a while your tasks might be
numbered 481 - 513, which makes it more likely to enter one
incorrectly, because there are more digits.
When you run a report (such as "list"), the numbers are assigned
before display. For example, you can do this:
$ task list
$ task do 12
$ task add Pay the rent
$ task delete 31
Those id numbers are then good until the next report is run.
This is because taskwarrior performs a garbage-collect operation
on the pending tasks file when a report is run, which moves the
deleted and completed tasks from the pending.data file to the
completed.data file. This keeps the pending tasks file small,
and therefore keeps taskwarrior fast. The completed data file
is the one that grows unbounded with use, but that one isn't
accessed as much, so it doesn't matter as much. So in all, the
ID number resequencing is about efficiency.
Q: How do I list tasks that are either priority 'H' or 'M', but not
Taskwarriors filters are all combined with and implicit logical
AND operator, so if you were to try this:
$ task list priority:H priority:M
There would be no results, because the priority could not
simultaneously be 'H' AND 'M'. What is required is some way to
use OR instead of an AND operator. The solution is to invert the
filter in this way:
$ task list priority.not:L priority.any:
This filter states that the priority must not be 'L', AND there
must be a priority assigned. This filter then properly lists
tasks that are 'H' or 'M', because the two logical restrictions
are not mutually exclusive as in the original filter.
Some of you may be familiar with DeMorgan's laws of formal logic
that relate the AND and OR operators in terms of each other via
negation, which can be used to construct task filters.
Q: How do I delete an annotation?
Taskwarrior now has a 'denotate' command to remove annotations.
Here is an example:
$ task add Original task
$ task 1 annotate foo
$ task 1 annotate bar
$ task 1 annotate foo bar
Now to delete the first annotation, use:
$ task 1 denotate foo
This takes the fragment 'foo' and compares it to each of the
annotations. In this example, it will remove the first
annotation, not the third, because it is an exact match. If
there are no exact matches, it will remove the first non-exact
$ task 1 denotate ar
This will remove the second annotation - the first non-exact
Q: Why Lua as an extension language?
Lua has many positive attributes:
- Lua is written using tight, fast, standard C - Lua is a breeze
to integrate into any product - The Lua source code is
beautifully written - Lua is a small language
Guile, Scheme and Neko were also considered.
Q: How can I help?
There are lots of ways. Here are some:
- Provide feedback on what works, what does not
- Tell us how task does or does not fit your workflow
- Tell people about task
- Report bugs when you see them
- Contribute to our Wiki
- Suggest features
- Write unit tests
- Fix bugs
CREDITS & COPYRIGHTS
Taskwarrior was written by P. Beckingham <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Copyright (C) 2006 - 2011 P. Beckingham
This man page was originally written by P. Beckingham.
Taskwarrior is distributed under the GNU General Public License. See
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.txt for more information.
task(1), taskrc(5), task-tutorial(5), task-color(5), task-sync(5)
For more information regarding task, the following may be referenced:
The official site at
The official code repository at
You can contact the project by writing an email to
Bugs in taskwarrior may be reported to the issue-tracker at