How to Create a Custom To-Do List in Google Sheets

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How to Create a Custom To-Do List in Google Sheets

Spreadsheet software like Google Sheets are often used to organize and depict data, but they’re also useful for developing custom lists and even apps. With Google Sheets, you can construct a fully personalized to-do list that precisely meets your requirements.

You can use Google Sheets’ to-do list template, but if that list isn’t what you’re looking for, you can also construct a to-do list from scratch. Continue reading to find out how!

The Google Sheets To-Do List Template

As previously stated, Google Sheets has a to-do list template. If you’re searching for a generic list and want to get started fast, the template can be a suitable option.

  1. Open Google Sheets.
  2. Select To-do list from the Start a new spreadsheet drop-down menu on the main page.

Google Sheets will now display a to-do list. The list is already in place. Simply enter your projects and deadlines and begin checking them off!

How to Create Your Custom To-Do List in Google Sheets

If the Google Sheet to-do list template doesn’t meet your requirements, or if you’re simply too much of a spreadsheet whiz to rely on templates, you can always make your own to-do list from start.

To make a to-do list, we’ll start with the overall structure of the list. Then, to identify the state of each job, we’ll add a drop-down list. Finally, we’ll create a filter to sort the jobs, then freeze the headers and conceal the excess columns. With that in mind, let’s get started on a to-do list in Google Sheets.

Step 1. Creating the General Structure

The general structure of the to-do list depends entirely on what you’re trying to get out of the list. In this example, we’re going to add Number, Date, Task, and Status.

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This step is simple, as you only need to type in the headings in the first row of each column. For better readability, both for you and for Google Sheets, it’s best to set the Date column’s formatting to Date.

  1. Choose the Date column. In this case, it is column B.
  2. Hold Ctrl and click the first cell to remove it from the selection.
  3. Go to the Format menu.
  4. Select Number, followed by Date.

Step 2. Creating a Status Drop-Down List

Once you’ve added your headings, it’s time to create a drop-down list for the Status column. To create a drop-down list in Google Sheets, we need to utilize the data validation tool.

  1. Under the Status header, choose the first cell.
  2. Select Data validation from the Data menu.
  3. Set Criteria to Items in a List.
  4. Enter the list of items in the text box next to it. In this example, we’ll provide Not Started, In Progress, and Complete.
  5. Click Save.

Now, you have a drop-down list in the first cell. If you want to add this to the cells below, just grab the autofill handle and drag it to the other cells beneath.

Step 3. Adding Conditional Formatting

Color coding your to-do list can make it easier to read and to get an instant feel of how you’re performing. With the help of conditional formatting, you can set the color of each task to change based on its status.

For instance, we can make the Not Started, In Progress, and Complete tasks red, yellow, and green respectively.

  1. Select Conditional formatting from the Format menu. The Conditional format window will appear on the right.
  2. Under Apply to range, enter the whole range, omitting the headers. This may be as simple as A2:D20. You may easily change this if your jobs exceed the range.
  3. If you want to use a custom formula, change the Format cells setting.
  4. Enter the following script into the formula: =$D2=”Not Begun” Because this is a relative reference rather than an absolute reference, the algorithm will modify for each row appropriately.
  5. Change the formatting style to anything you like. We’ve decided to go with red.
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Now, it’s time to create rules for the In Progress and Complete statuses. The process is the same, with a tweak in the formula and the formatting style. Click Add another rule and change the formula and the style.

The formula for In Progress will be:

=$D2="In Progress"

and for Complete:


Once everything’s set, click Done. Now, if you change the status on each task, the color will change accordingly.

Step 4. Creating a Filter

Creating a filter for your list adds the useful feature of sorting the entire list based on one column. For instance, you could sort the list by date, number, status, and more at any time.

  1. Choose the first row. This is the row with the headers.
  2. Select the funnel icon labeled Create a filter in the right part of the toolbar.

That’s all! Next to the headers, a symbol will emerge. When you click them, you may sort the table to your liking.

Step 5. Hiding the Extra Columns

Because you won’t be interacting with columns other than those linked to the list, it’s recommended to conceal them from view to give the list a more professional appearance.

  1. Choose the first column to be hidden. In this case, it will be column E.
  2. Scroll all the way down to column Z.
  3. Hold down the Shift key and then click on column Z. Columns E through Z should now be highlighted.
  4. Right-click on a column.
  5. Select Hide columns E-Z.

Your list should look much better now!

Finally, freeze the headers so they don’t disappear when you scroll down. When you freeze the headers, they will remain in place regardless of how far you scroll away.

  1. Choose the headers row. In this case, it is A1:D1.
  2. Go to the View menu.
  3. Select 1 row from the Freeze menu.
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Now try scrolling down in your list. The headers remain constant so that you always know what you’re looking at.

Get Things Done With Google Sheets

Google Sheets has improved productivity by making computations and data collecting simpler, but now you can use it to enhance other elements of your everyday life as well.

There are hundreds of to-do list applications available, but none can compare to one you build yourself. Now that you know how to make your own Google Sheets to-do list, it’s time to get your work done!

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