To-do list apps dedicated to task management are convenient, but they aren’t always practical. Maybe you’re working on a project with a team and need to share the list. Maybe you want to print a list and keep it on your fridge.
Creating a to-do list in Google Sheets lets you customize it to fit your needs and share it, print it, or access it from any device. We’ll show you how to make a to-do list in Google Sheets with a Google template, a third-party template, and from scratch!
How to Make a To-Do List in Google Sheets with a Template
Google Sheets users have access to plenty of free, built-in templates. This is an easy and handy way to generate a quick checklist that includes due dates, task descriptions, and checkboxes for completed items.
Open the Template
Visit Google Sheets and log in to your Google account.
- If recent templates are displayed on your Google Sheets main page, select “Template Gallery” (at the top). Otherwise, hover over the plus (+) sign in the bottom-right corner and pick “Choose Template.”
- Move to the “Personal” section and select the “To-do list” template.
- The template will open with sample data, including details that explain how to use the template.
- Optionally, you can change the name by selecting “To-do list” on the top left and entering your chosen name. Otherwise, jump right into using the template.
Enter Your Tasks and Due Dates
You can start by removing the sample tasks and dates and unchecking the boxes if you like. You’ll then have a clean list to get started.
Next, enter a task name or full description of a to-do in the “Task” column.
On the left, entering a due date in the “Date” column is optional. You can use a common date format (e.g., May 1, May 1, 2023; 5/1/23). The template should automatically convert the date to a numeric M/D format, such as 5/1.
Sort or Filter By Completed, Date, or Task
You can sort or filter your to-do list using any of the columns. Select the “Filter” icon (to the right of the column header) and then sort alphabetically, by date, or by color.
Select the “Filter” icon and select by color, condition, value, or a specific item at the bottom.
Mark Tasks Complete
When you complete a task, check the box in column A. The text will be formatted with strikethrough font, and the row will be shaded in gray.
As you progress through the list, you’ll see the number of completed tasks and the total at the top.
Related: Check out these useful Google Sheets tips and tricks to improve your to-do list template!
Using a To-Do List Template from a Third Party
You may like the idea of using a to-do list template but prefer one that offers spots for statuses or task prioritization. This free to-do list template from Vertex42 is a great choice.
You’ll have spots for tasks, statuses, priorities, due dates, PICK options, owners, and notes.
Download and Copy the Template
- On the Vertex42 site, you’ll see this template at the top of the to-do list options. Select “Google Sheets” on the right.
- Next, click on “Get the Template.”
- Sign in to your Google account. You’ll see the template preview. Select “Use Template” in the top-right corner.
- The template is in “View only” mode, so we recommend saving a copy of the template for your personal use.
- Select “File” > “Make a copy,” provide the copied file a name, select a Google Drive folder (optional), and click “Make a copy.”
Your copy of the template will open in a new tab, ready for you to use.
Enter Your Tasks and Details
Start by entering your to-dos in the “Project/Task” column. Use the columns on the right-hand side for additional details.
- Status: Use the drop-down list in the “Status” column as you progress through each task.
- Priority: Set a high, medium, or low priority for each task.
- Due Date: Enter a due date in a common format. The template automatically changes it to the MM/DD/YYYY format.
- PICK: Optionally, you can assign a PICK option to each task.
- Owner: For a shared to-do list, enter the responsible person in the “Owner” column.
- Notes: Include additional details or items.
Customize Status, Priority, and PICK Lists
To fit your personal needs, you can customize the items in the Status, Priority, and PICK lists:
- Go to the “Lists” tab at the bottom.
- You’ll see the items that currently exist for each of the lists. You can add, edit, or remove these items to tailor them to your project (or the way you manage your tasks).
- When you make a change, you’ll see it automatically reflected in the corresponding list once you return to the “ToDoList” tab.
For example, you can remove the “Pending Approval” and “Pending Review” items simply by deleting the text.
When we return to the to-do list, the “Status” list is up-to-date and reflects that change.
Be Aware of Template Conditional Formatting
In addition to customizing the lists described above, this template includes conditional formatting that quickly helps spot items:
- Priority: “High” will turn the text red. “Low” the text will turn blue.
- Due Date: Any past due dates will be shown in red text.
- PICK: Choose Easy/High Value and the text will turn green. For Hard/Low Value, the text will turn red.
For an effective to-do list template — with bonus features that make task management simpler — this Vertex42 template is a terrific option.
Create a Google Sheets To-Do List from Scratch
If you’d rather create and customize your to-do list in Google Sheets, you can absolutely create one from scratch. Create a list that utilizes elements you need or want. Keep reading to learn how to use:
- Checkboxes for completed items
- Drop-down lists for task statuses
- Conditional formatting for past-due items
Related: If you like the template we’ve created below, click on the button below and select “Make a Copy” to open it in Google Sheets.
Open a Blank Workbook and Enter the Basics
Head to Google Sheets and sign in if necessary.
- On the main Google Sheets page, either select “Blank” in the template section or hover over the plus (+) sign (on the bottom-right corner) and pick “Create new spreadsheet.”
- Name your to-do list in the “Untitled spreadsheet” spot in the top-left corner.
You can use something like “My To-Do List,” “Our Project Tasks,” or whatever works for you. You can also format the title using the font and the fill section of the toolbar.
- Enter a column header for each item you want in your list. Here, we’ll include columns for Complete, Task, Date, and Status. Again, these headings can be in bold or any color you choose.
Insert Checkboxes for Completed Tasks
In the “Complete” column, add checkboxes to quickly mark off completed tasks.
- Select the first cell where you want a tick box, open the “Insert” menu, and pick “Checkbox.”
- Click the fill handle. This is found at the bottom-right corner of the cell containing the checkbox. Drag down to fill the remaining cells.
For additional options, take a look at our how-to for inserting checkboxes in Google Sheets.
Format the Date Column
To keep due dates consistently formatted, apply a date format:
- Select the “Date” column or the date cells. Click the “More formats” button in the toolbar.
- Choose the “Date” option that appears in the list.
- Alternatively, you can choose a custom date and time in a different format. Select an option (or use the fields at the top to select it) and click “Apply.”
Automatically Format Past Due Items
After you format the Date column, you can add conditional formatting to emphasize past dates. This is a great way to see overdue tasks.
- Select the cells containing the dates and click “Format” > “Conditional formatting” in the menu.
- When the sidebar opens, click the “Single” color tab and confirm the cell range in the “Apply to Range” field.
- Below “Format Rules,” choose “Date is before” in the first drop-down box and “today” in the second drop-down box. This applies the rule to any past date.
- Beneath “Formatting Style,” determine how you want to format the text or cells. For example, you can make the font white and the fill color red. You’ll see a preview above the formatting toolbar as you make your selections.
- When you finish setting up your list, select “Done” to apply it to the selected cell(s). Close the sidebar by clicking the X on the top right.
Test your formatting rule by entering yesterday’s date and another in the future. You can then delete the test dates.
Add Drop-Down Lists for Statuses
If you decide not to use checkboxes for completed items and use a status list instead (or if you prefer to use both), adding a drop-down list for these statuses is easy.
- Select the cell where you want the first drop-down list and click “Insert” > “Dropdown” in the menu.
- When the sidebar opens, confirm the cell reference and make sure that the dropdown displays the below criteria.
- Enter the status list items in the “Option” boxes and choose a color (to the left of each option). For example, you can include the following:
- Not Started
- In Progress
- For additional actions such as help text, warnings, and the display style, click “Advanced options” and make your selections.
- When you finish setting up your list, select “Done” to apply it to the cell and close the sidebar by clicking the X.
- Test your new drop-down list to make sure it looks correct. If you want to make a change, select the “Edit” button (pencil icon) to make those changes.
- Click the fill handle (in the bottom-right corner of the cell containing the drop-down list) and drag it down to fill the remaining cells.
Use Your Custom To-Do List
Once you finish setting up the basics, you can put your custom to-do list to work.
Enter your tasks and due dates, choose your statuses, and mark your tasks complete when the time comes!
You can use any or all of the above suggestions or implement your own ideas. For instance, you can:
- Set up conditional formatting based on another cell
- Give your to-do list some pizzazz by inserting an image into your Sheet.
Get to Work on Those To-Dos
Whether you need a task list in a hurry for a new project or have time to customize your own, you currently know how to make a to-do list in Google Sheets.
Want to take your Sheets knowledge to the next level? Take Spreadsheet Point’s Google Forms and Sheets Masterclass to become a spreadsheet ninja.
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With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. To help others learn how technology can enrich both business and personal lives, she has shared her tips and how-tos across thousands of articles. You can find more of her work in publications such as Lifewire, How-To Geek, Online Tech Tips, and MakeUseOf, among others.