Let Google Tasks Make Your Life Easier

Use the task manager hidden inside your Gmail inbox

To Do List on Notebook Page With Laptop and Coffee Mug

Constantine Johnny / Getty Images

Google Tasks takes the procrastination out of organizing a to-do list because it's built into Google Gmail and Google Calendar. There's no need to download specific task software to use it, so you can jump straight to making lists and checking items off. While Google Tasks is a simplified version of a task manager, it has the features needed to get started creating to-do lists.

Instructions in this article apply to the web, Android, and iOS versions of Google Gmail and Google Calendar. Google Tasks works in all major web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.

How to Use Google Tasks in Gmail

Google Tasks exists alongside your Gmail inbox. To use it, open Gmail in a web browser.

  1. If the side panel isn't visible, go to the lower-right corner of Gmail and select the arrow to display the panel.

  2. In the side panel, select Tasks to display the Tasks panel.

    Google Tasks icon in Gmail sidebar
  3. To add a task to the list, select Add a task, type a description of the task, then press Enter.

    Add a task option in Google Tasks via Gmail
  4. To reorder the task list, drag task items to a different location.

  5. To mark a task as complete, click the task to fill the circle next to it.

    Subtask in Google Tasks in Gmail sidebar
  6. To edit a task, hover over the task, then select Edit details (the Pencil icon). Add details and subtasks, assign a date and time to a task, or change the list the task is assigned to.

  7. To add a new list, click the name of the current list, then select Create new list. Make as many lists as you like.

    Create new list option in Gmail

How to Access Google Tasks in Calendar

One of the features that makes Google Tasks so useful is its integration with Google Calendar as well as Gmail. Add to your Google Task lists from your Gmail inbox or assign a date to a to-do item to display the information in Google Calendar along with your other events, meetings, and notifications.

By default, Google Calendar shows Reminders instead of Tasks. To turn on Tasks in the Calendar:

  1. Open Google Calendar.

  2. In the left panel, go to the My calendars section and select the Tasks check box.

  3. To assign a color to tasks, select the More icon next to Tasks and choose a color.

    Color options for Tasks
  4. To open the Tasks list in Calendar, go to the side panel and choose Tasks.

    Tasks icon in Google Calendar
  5. Make new entries or edit existing entries. Any changes you make to tasks in Google Calendar appear in the Gmail Tasks panel.

How to Use Google Tasks as a Task Manager for Work

If you send and receive work correspondence through Gmail, Google Tasks makes staying organized easy. One of the most powerful features of Google Tasks is the ability to attach an email to a specific task. You can do this from any open email message.

  1. Open an email. Or, select the check box next to the email.

  2. Go to the top of the Gmail screen, then click More (the three vertically aligned dots).

  3. Choose Add to Tasks

    Add to Tasks menu option

When you add an email message as a task, Google uses the email subject line as the task title. It also provides a related email link that goes to that specific email. 

The ability to go through a task list, mark off completed items, and immediately pull up a related email message makes Google Tasks a good work manager for people who use Gmail regularly.

Using Google Tasks on Your Mobile Device

Google Tasks is an excellent list editor for many of the same reasons it is a good task manager — accessibility and integration with both Gmail and Google Calendar. Your spouse can email you that you're out of eggs, and you can add eggs to a grocery list using Google Tasks.

However, to be a good shopping list manager, you need access to Google Tasks (and your grocery list) on a smartphone. Tasks apps are available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. They work similarly to Tasks on the desktop, and any changes made on the smartphone app syncs with Gmail and Calendar.

  1. Tap the Tasks app to open it.

  2. Tap the three horizontal lines at the bottom of the screen to display your to-do lists.

  3. Select a list.

  4. As you shop, tap the circle next to the item you put in the shopping cart. Never get home without something on your list again.

    Menu icon, Grocery List, checkboxes for list items in Google Tasks