How to get the most out of Google Tasks in Gmail

Google Tasks is appealing for its simplicity, but still has plenty of nice features to help you organize your tasks. Get more out of Google Tasks with these tips.

Google Tasks on laptop
Ed Rhee/CNET

Google Tasks graduated from Gmail Labs almost four years ago, but have you really taken a look at what it can do? It's true that part of its appeal is in its simplicity, however, if you haven't taken a deeper look into its features, you might be missing out on some great tools for organizing your tasks. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of Google Tasks for Gmail:


1. Quickly get to Tasks. The keyboard shortcut, G followed by K, quickly opens Tasks in Gmail. If Tasks is already open, the shortcut will move the cursor to Tasks. Remember that for Gmail keyboard shortcuts to work, they first need to be enabled in settings.

Google Tasks related e-mail
Link an e-mail to a task for quick reference. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

2. Add a related e-mail to a task. If you want to create a task based on an e-mail you've received, you can link that e-mail in the task for reference. To add the related e-mail, open the message, then go to the More button, then select "Add to Tasks." Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Shift + T. Once the e-mail is added to the task, you can click on the link at any time and bring up the e-mail.

3. Use multiple task lists. Create multiple task lists to keep your tasks organized by category. Click the Switch List button in the lower right-hand corner, then select "New list." Keep one for work-related tasks and another for personal tasks.

4. Add details, like a due date. You can keep your task list extremely simple, but adding a due date and some additional details can make the list more useful. Select a task, then click on the right angle bracket (>) to edit details or use the keyboard shortcut, Shift + Enter. Adding a due date will also allow the task to appear in your Google Calendar.

5. Print or e-mail an entire task list. If you use Google Tasks extensively, your list is probably pretty long. It might be easier to look at the entire list from time to time by printing it or e-mailing it to yourself. Just go to Actions, then select "E-mail task list" or "Print task list."

6. Pop-out Tasks to its own window. The tasks window is fairly small and being stuck inside Gmail might be a hindrance at times. To break Tasks out of Gmail and into its own window, click the pop-out arrow in the upper-right corner of the Tasks window.

Google Tasks pop-out window
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

7. Screen reader-friendly version. A screen reader-friendly version of Google Tasks can be accessed at http://mail.google.com/tasks/m.

About the author

Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.

 

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