How to create a really easy to-do list in Google Sheets

by Sharon

To-do lists – you either love ’em or hate ’em! This step-by-step tutorial will show you where to find a very simple to-do list template in Google Sheets and how to customise it! I hope you find it useful and if you prefer to watch the video, scroll down to the end of this post. 🙂

Firstly log into your Google Drive and click New, then click on the arrow to the right of Google Sheets and select From a template

Scroll down to the Personal section and look for a template called To-do list

To-do list template

And voila! A simple to-do list ready for you to customise…

You’ll notice that as you click on a check box, the task will automatically cross out and a grey fill is applied – this is done via conditional formatting. To view the rule for this, click on Format in the toolbar and go to Conditional Formatting near the bottom…

This opens the conditional format rules pane over on the right hand side of the sheet. You can see there is a rule that if the cell A4 is true (i.e. if the box in A4 is ticked), then strikethrough is applied to the text and the cell fill colour is light grey…

conditional format rules

If you want to change this formatting, click on the rule and it will expand. You can change the colour if you wish by clicking on the fill colour icon, you can remove the strikethrough if you want to, you can add bold, italics or underline to the text, and you can change the text colour if you wish – all in the section called Formatting style. Once you’ve finished making changes, click Done

You’ll notice in cell C1 it tells you how many tasks have been completed from the total number of tasks you have in the list. This cell contains a formula, if you don’t want to know how many tasks are completed, you can always just click on that cell and press delete to remove the formula…

If you want to add extra columns to this list, right click on the column header and choose Insert 1 left or Insert 1 right depending on which side you want the new column inserted…

You’ll notice there is a thick grey line between row 3 and 4 over on the left hand side – this is the freeze line so if you scroll down the page, the headings will stay in place. If you want to unfreeze these rows, you can click on the thick grey line and drag it to the top…

Lastly, if you want to rename the file highlight the To-do list name at the top of the page and type a new name for it. The file is automatically saved in your Google Drive…

Obviously you can make the to-do list as complicated as you like, with more columns, conditional formatting and formulas.

However, if all you want is a simple to-do list for yourself to keep track of things you need to do, then I really think this quick & easy template is enough! And with it being in Google Drive it means you can easily share it with others if you want to and you can access it from your phone – job done 🙂

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Kimberly Snider 23/03/2022 - 4:12 pm

Is there a way to input google calendar events? Like in google docs when you type @ a list comes up and you can choose events from your calendar, or people etc. I seem to not be able to do this in the ToDO List which I also keep track of all my calendar meetings. I want to use this as easier than inputting everything into a Google Doc. But I want this feature like I have in google docs.

Sharon 28/03/2022 - 8:23 am

Hi Kimberly – unfortunately this isn’t available in Google Sheets like it is in Docs (it only gives you the option of people), but maybe Google haven’t rolled it out yet to Sheets. You would have to use a 3rd party app like Zapier or to sync your calendar with sheets. Sorry!

Sharon 14/11/2022 - 2:09 pm

Hi Kimberly, a quick update to your question! Google Sheets now has the @ feature enabled to include the calendar events so hopefully this is what you were after 🙂

Leah Otting 02/07/2023 - 6:20 am

Hello! Do you know if there is a way to make sub tasks under the main task to be able to check off. For example, If I need to book a catering company I want to also be able to add, pick food, pay deposit ect.

Sharon 02/07/2023 - 11:55 am

Hi Leah, you could insert another column for the ‘parent’ task and have the sub tasks in the column next to it. But, to be honest I think you’d be better creating a task list in Google Docs instead then you can easily use the TAB key to create a sub task.
If it’s just for your own personal use, then Google Tasks would be the best solution (which you can access from the side panel whilst in Gmail, Sheets, Docs & Drive) – hope that helps 🙂


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