Tips & Stories

Quick Tip: Create Checklists Faster with Auto-Checkboxes

Quick Tip: Create Checklists Faster with Auto-Checkboxes

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 14 Sep 2012

Posted by Kasey Fleisher Hickey on 14 Sep 2012

Comment

We know a lot of Evernote users love checkboxes for to-dos, grocery lists, and more. Creating checkboxes in Evernote is easy: you can add them to notes from your desktop or mobile device. [Read the detailed post here.] A quick refresher:

  • Find the checkbox feature in Evernote on your iPad, Windows and Mac formatting bar. Tap the checkbox icon to create a new one.
  • To add checkboxes using your iPhone, tap on the note you’re working in and hit the ‘A’ icon in the lower right-hand corner to bring up formatting options. From there, tap the checkbox icon to add a new one.
  • When editing a note using your Android device, swipe the bar above the keyboard to display formatting options and select the checkbox icon.

Turn a list into a checklist in Evernote for Mac

In Evernote for Mac, you can turn a new or existing list into a checklist by simply highlighting the list, then selecting checkbox mode.

As you can see, you can create checkboxes from any version of Evernote, but on your Mac, iPhone, and Android device, you can now create checkboxes faster than ever. When you’ve selected the checkbox option, you’ll notice that when you move to the next line of text, a new checkbox will automatically be added. This feature lets you get into serious list-making mode so you can get more organized in your work and your life.

A number of platforms also support more advanced checkbox options, including indentation. Have you noticed that many versions of Evernote now let you create auto-checkboxes?

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108 Comments RSS

  • James

    I would really rather see an integrated to do list.

    • Ariel Beery

      Agreed — it would be great if Evernote could aggregate all Checklist-marked To Do items into one single note or class that we could view, simultaneously. That way we wouldn’t have to search all notes to see what the “To Do’s are

      • Greg

        +1, this would be a great feature to add.

      • Mike

        If you can’t aggregate all the to do items, it would be a nice feature to be able to search for notes with open to do items (unchecked).

      • New to Evernote

        Yes! I’ve been searching the web to try to find this feature. Has anyone discovered a workaround for this?

      • Véronique

        how about a “todo” tag ?

        when you create a note with todos in it, just hit F3 (to activate the tag list input box) and type something like “todo” (I use “.todo” so the tag comes top of the list in the left panel)

        then simply click on the tag to get the list of your todos

        • Steve

          Or just use the Evernote search function. To search for your checkboxes in Evernote

          To find notes containing one or more unchecked boxes, type in todo:false into the Evernote search box. To find all notes containing a checkbox, type in todo:*.

          • Taylor Pipes

            Great point, Steve. We just published a post that discusses all sorts of great search tips, including the checklist trick you mention. Here’s the link to the post from this weekend: http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/09/01/11-evernote-search-tips-power-productivity/

          • Jed Ervin

            What’s wrong with just making a “TO DO” notebook or “CHECKLIST” notebook?

      • Adam

        +1 I’ve been searching for an easy way to do this for months. This functionality would truly make Evernote the killer app.

        • Kris

          That’s a valid input, which seems to be quite supported by other users. Improvements like these need to be Echoed, so company like Evernote can hear their customers clearly and innovate from that. Thats why I am really looking forward to Echo it platform – hopefully we start changing things for the better.
          BTW, Evernote is a great app and I am sure they have an innovative business model which allows them to listen to their users and improve from their input.

      • Lisa

        Agree. Aggregating the to do lists would be very helpful

    • Barbara

      James, I am a big fan of Toodledo for that.

    • Marc

      I agree with the integrated TO DO list. Also, a evernote calendar would be great with notes on the calendar that would automatically sync with google and/or hotmail calendar

  • Clark

    Is Evernote going to become a solely Mac program? It appears that all the new development is going that way. I think it would be nice to have some of these cool features for my Window base systems.

    • George

      Considering desktops/laptops aren’t the big sellers anymore, they should concentrate on mobile developments. And considering that Android holds 50% of the market, they should add functionality to that platform. Apple products are “cool” but not the leader in regards to the shear number of devices in the market.

  • Lee Smith

    How about a way to sort the unfinished to the top? Too many times I spend a ton of time going through the list to see what needs done.. Tf I could hit a button to sort them, that would be AWESOME!!!

    • Tom

      Yes! Every time i use a checklist for my shopping or a to-do list, i think how useful this would be. Either sorting them, or an option to simply hide any checked item.

      My shopping list, for example, has 63 items on it, of which no more than five are likely to be unchecked at any moment in time. Being able to focus on just those five would make going shopping that little bit smoother.

      • RD

        It would make sense if the checked items automatically moved below the unchecked items when selected. This would re-sort the items in the list into the order in which they were completed and keep them as a lower priority that the currently unchecked items…

      • RJS

        Related to checklists, this is the most important missing feature. I hope to seeit soon.

      • FDD

        Frankly, this is where dedicated apps like Out of Milk handle such lists in a much-better fashion.
        Obviously though, we all like Evernote because it is the Swiss Army Knife of note and information-collecting programs, and would prefer to have this part of it work a little better.

    • Tim Tierney

      Sorting with the unchecked at the top would be tremendously useful. I vote for it.

      • Gonzalo

        there is an app named ‘Keep’… I love it for ‘supermarket list’… you just create a checklist with of the item, as you buy you mark them and they goes down leaving the ‘unmarked’ items at the top…

  • Colin Henderson

    Its worth noting that the integrated search capability significantly enhances checkboxes. These can be set up as saved searches and dragged into toolbar to instant access.

    Some examples.

    todo:false displays all notes with checkbox unticked (to do)
    todo:true displays all notes with checkbox ticked (Done)
    todo:* displays all notes with checkboxes
    tag:@waiting todo:false as above and with tag

    • Kasey Fleisher Hickey

      Great tips, Colin!

  • Kimberly

    If Evernote had a task list available with an option for repeating tasks – I wouldn’t need any other programs and could solely use Evernote. Please let us know if this is something you plan on doing in the future. Thanks!

  • Thalia

    With all due respect, but instead of playing with textboxes, shouldn’t you be fixing the webclipper plugin for firefox? It has more one-star ratings than five-star ones now and your overal developer rating has been sliced in HALF. I know evernote is free, but if this is representative of your overal customer service, then I am going to stay clear of the paid version.

    Also, I agree with Clark. If this is going to be a mac program, come out and say it. Don’t create a program for both and then ignore all windows users. Or at least warn them upfront that they should not get their hopes up with every new site update.

    • SanTang

      I fully agree with you Thalia about versions for specific platforms. There are products advertised on Evernote page that are strictly for iOS and “not” for Windows or Android.

      There should at least have a grid of platforms for which a product is available. For instance, Moleskine, Skitch and Penultimate,those are interesting products but please let us know where they can be used before we loose time searching if they are available for Android or Windows. Just a matter of respect for your users.

      • ArtWench

        Welcome to what Mac users have been up against for almost 30 years!

  • Maulik

    How do we delete completed tasks?

  • Travis

    I agree with the above comments: I love evernote, and I have the paid version, but I’m also a Windows user. Enough with Mac’s already! haha

  • Dlu

    Thanks for the comments.

    Thalia, regarding the FireFox clipper, I believe we have a new version waiting for approval that should solve the main issue that’s been brought up. We’ve been watching the reviews and are continually looking for customer feedback via multiple channels.

    Clark, Thalia & James, we’re definitely not abandoning Windows. We still have a team that develops for Windows full time. Heck, our Windows desktop app works on everything from Windows XP to Windows 8, and is one of the most stable clients we have. That’s practically every PC sold in this millennium

    Plus, we’re *hiring* for all sorts of Windows positions (Windows positions outnumber Mac 3 to 1 at http://evernote.com/careers/)

    Trust me, Windows isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

    • Matt

      When will the “Turn a list into a checklist” feature described above for Mac be available for Windows? Seems strange that you wouldn’t keep the two platform’s feature sets in parallel with each other.

      …”In Evernote for Mac, you can turn a new or existing list into a checklist by simply highlighting the list, then selecting checkbox mode.”

      • EllieC

        On this subject, I had a long list that was developed over the best part of yesterday….I wanted to add check boxes so I highlighted my list, clicked ad checkbox from the Format>To Do menu….and promptly deleted my entire list! Tears and cursing ensued as there is no undo feature that worked to retrieve all this work…..

    • ArtWench

      Oh geeze… As a Mac user, this is not encouraging…

  • Thalia

    @ Dlu: thank you for clearing that up. I apologize if I came on a bit harsh, but I’ve been fruitlessly trying to get a reply from the brick wall known as ‘Sony’ since 2011, when a firmware update broke support for Playstation 3 controllers for the handicapped. I wouldn’t say Windows/Firefox users are handicapped… but my first knee-jerk reaction was: “oh, goddammit, not again!”.

    Evernote isn’t perfect, but at least you tell us you’re working on it. That is worth a lot! :)

  • Robert

    Since I have not gotten my wife to understand how great Evernote is, she e-mails me grocery lists instead of using a shared notebook. I then make a note by forwarding it to Evernote. It would be great if I can take that note on my iPhone and convert it to a checklist without adding boxes one line at a time.

    • RD

      Good idea…if the email was formatted as a list with bulletted items, Evernote could interpret this as a list to be formatted with check-boxes. Of course, an approval of the action could be sought prior to the reformatting inside Evernote, on the off-chance that this was not the user’s intention, with an option to “remember” the selection if the user desires this action be completed in the future without approval.

    • ArtWench

      Robert, I feel your pain… I’ve been trying to turn my family on to Evernote… Sigh! On the plus side, I did organize my husband’s surprise party by sharing all my to do lists amongst my friends who were helping! It was awesome to be able to immediately update our lists on the fly and came in particularly handy when on the search for lime sherbet ice cream, of all things!

  • Clark

    Many thanks for the update!

  • Blake

    I’d like to see an additional option for “New Checklist” or “New Task” in both the File menu and shortcut bar at the top of the window on the desktop application.

    This would populate the first line in the note with a checkbox to build a task or list… would save a step.

    On the mobile apps, I’d like to see a sub-menu to the + key (new note) to choose “Note” or “Checklist”, saving MANY touch screen taps.

    Using Evernote more everyday, saving me time and stress. THANK YOU!

  • Bruce Phillips

    To Lee Smith,
    I had the same problem. For “actionable” notes I run a macro the places the date in this form 120925 in the title of note. I then use keywords for topic and tag appropriately. Actionable items that do not get completed I merely change the title to 120926 or to any future date that I need. This way my list of things that need accomplished is in date order. Note you can click the title col. to get ascending or descending date order.

    cheers
    bnp

  • Eric

    The checkbox list works great on my Samsung tablet but unfortunately it still doesn’t work on my Sony xperia Android phone. This bug is already there since the beginning of this year and has been reported frequently on the forum. As a paid user I even issued a ticket #16051-131146 but I never got a solution :-(
    Can you please try to find out the status of this bug ?

    Thanks, Eric

  • Eric S

    How about an app that converts hand written text into typed text (for those who can write faster than they can type) – take a look at this functionality on the Samsung Note tablet.

  • Marcel

    Am I as Android user not important enough? It seems that all new released features are apple only..

  • Mikey

    If Evernote ever becomes exclusive to Mac it will be cheerio from me. Windows and Android forever! Just remember – One Note isn’t too far behind…

  • Tony

    As with a lot of the other comments, please make it clear what is available on what platform. It seems at the moment you are too Apple orientated. It’s time the Android and Windows platforms had the same facilities as the Apple platforms. Multiple logins would be especially useful for Android tablets.

    • ArtWench

      Can we please NOT be rude to Apple users here?

  • Don

    I have enjoyed using Evernote and often bragged about the ease of use
    to others. Please fix the web clipper plugin for Firefox users. What was impressive and productive is somewhat counter productive. Thank you for listening!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t attempt to turn a list into a checklist in Evernote mobile. You’ll lose everything you selected! And of course, there is no Undo yet…..

  • Lewis e Gilbert

    This would be even better with a tool that would compile action items from multiple notes.

  • Carla

    Sure wish I didn’t have to flip through all my notes to find incomplete ‘To-Dos’. It would be really awesome if there were a function that would find them for me. Better yet, find them put them on a page that would reference back to the original location in case I don’t remember what the context might be…

    This is a really good product for a busy executive assistant with multiple execs to support. Taking the next step with development would be really great!

    Best,
    Carla

  • Michael Coffey

    For example purposes, could you use the iOS display? The Droid system is SO ugly and unappealing. Even Google admits that. Thanks.

    • ArtWench

      Hehehehe!

  • Richard Doughty

    Echoing a couple of other people here, I’d love to see evernote produce a fully integrated ‘to do’ feature similar to any.do that can be installed as an app on chrome/safari/firefox as well as apps on iphone/ipad

  • Rob Habisreitinger

    You forgot about Android even though your picture shows an Android user interface.

    “Find the checkbox feature in Evernote on your iPad, Windows and Mac formatting bar. Tap the checkbox icon to create a new one.”

    But at least you chose a better looking OS. Forget Coffey, he must be as old as my mom.

  • David Phillips

    The check box feature should work the same as the bullet and numbered list feature. Currently it acts as a special character, and requires moving the hands from keyboard to mouse to click on it. Quite tedious. Much better would be to create the list, select all, then select a check box tool that would put the check box at the front of each new line.

  • John

    I have a collection of checklists for all occasions (things to pack for business trips, the contents of my gym bag, etc.).

    Is there a way to clear all of the checkboxes at once? That would make re-using the lists so much easier than having to go through and manually uncheck everything.

    If not, consider this a feature request. Thanks!

  • Bob

    Thanks for the checkbox improvements. Next I’d like to request improved appearance of the checkboxes when printed. The Mac client used to print checkboxes that looked on paper the same as on-screen, including the blue tint when checked. Some time ago this changed and now they print as a tiny B&W box. When checked, the little checkmark is even tinier inside the box.

  • Tim Tierney

    The ability to indent and outdent paragraphs without bullets or numbers would be extremely useful. I use bullets a lot, but having the ability to indent paragraphs is sorely needed.

  • jwhiteman

    Are others having issues with making a check list note – and then trying to copy and paste the checklist into another note – if you paste it without formatting all checkboxes are lost – very frustrating – any advice would be appreciated .

  • Dechen

    It would be awesome it due dates were associated to the checklists that would function with iCal or reminders!

  • Phoenix

    I’m a pro Evernote user, utilising it on Mac, Windows XP, iPhone and until recently Android. Not only does it work very well on all platforms, but it’s the ability to be up to date with my writing on whatever platform I’m using that day which is priceless. So few applications do this as well.

    But to the guys who feel that the development is all going the way of the Mac: using it on all these systems on a daily basis I have to report that for my purposes the Windows version still wins! The Mac version needs some developing to catch up! (How about word counts at the bottom of each document, for example?)

  • Ron

    I don’t see how to reorder a checklist! Totally useless if you can’t quickly re-order the items in a list. See Mobisle Notes to see how it’s done.

  • Yasha

    speaking of Mac vs. Windows, why does Windows client get a useful “uncheck all checkboxes” menu command while Mac client does not?

  • richard van der knaap

    I like to use check boxes in a number of notebooks

    If I use check boxes in a number of different notebooks I would like to a list of just the check boxes and the description along side the check box. Not a list of the notebooks which contain the check boxes I would also like these is some date or priority order

    Or maybe I am missing something?

  • Daniel Cowan

    Wunderlist and Evernote integration?

  • Chris

    Wow, lots of interesting comments. Love the check boxes, have used the before but stopped because there is no way to process them. I recognise this is a ‘wish’ but I (can’t speak for everybody else) don’t use Evernote as a ‘to-do’ list product. If you want to take this to the next level, somehow work out how to push the check boxes into a reminders list or (… outlook list, sorry windows peeps, not sure how outlook handles task lists). Even if it’s a user process of clicking a button that says “Send to Reminders” or Send to Outlook, that would be a massive productivity enhancement.

  • Mike B

    When I highlight an existing list and click the check box button, my highlighted list is deleted and replaced with a single check box. What sort of (surely) user error am I committing? Many thanks.

  • Paul

    i use mindjet mindmanager for my to do’s. It now syncs with dropbox but I’d prefer if it would synch with evernote, which I use for everythig else. Is that on the horizon?

  • Ric

    I find the check boxes as only partially helpful. Before Evernote I was using Voodoo Pad for all note taking and checklists. Its scriptability was fantastic, its sorting and formatting features made running everthing out of it painless. Unfortunately it was Mac only and I needed a solution that was PC, iOS and WebOS compatible as well. So that is when I discovered Evernote. Granted not all of the features from one OS are available on the others but the data is all available and can be added…with the caveat of the limitations and bugs of that version of Evernote for that device.

    For Task Managment I use Toodledo, from Toodledo.com, which is available on all of the OS platforms I work on. I use this as my EXECUTIONERS List, where stuff gets checked off and it appears with a line through it and sorted to the bottom. The calendar feature allows me to schedule the tasks and the history feature tracks everything. I have tried to do something similar with Evernote by creating the following folders
    – Today –
    – Tomorrow –
    – Week Later –
    – Whenever –
    And then I actively move around note tasks I have emailed my self from folder to folder as I beleieve I can get them done. But you must be honest with yourself when doing this. Once sorted, the items in Today get emailed to my Toodledo email, where they are executed. At night I check back to see which of the today notes can be deleted or archived as Toodledo is now tracking them. Hope that helps.

    • DeeDerHDG

      Great idea about the folders, thanks for sharing! This will be really useful for me.

  • John R Graham

    Is there a checklist version on the web version of Evernote? I don’t see it. I’m running Chrome.

    • Skip

      John, I discovered it by accident. When you open a new note, move your curser somewhere in the note and click. The format bar pops up and from there, you can select the “insert to-do” button, along with other formatting options.

  • Eric Wentorf

    In the Windows version you can right click in a note with a checkbox list and select check or uncheck all.

  • Eric Wentorf

    In the Windows version you can right click in a note with a checkbox list and select check or uncheck all.

    • Ray

      The “uncheck ALL” feature is what I couldn’t find, until now. Thanks for the tip!!!

  • James LaCorte

    There needs to be a way to trigger a reminder for each task or check box

  • Mori

    This app is not user friendly and I think it is too early to push the PREMIUM version when free version is not there yet.

  • James

    The iphone directions are wrong. You don’t hit the A icon, you hit the icon to the left of the A.

  • Peter Chiou

    It is slightly useful. What would make it more useful is a smart folder on the sidebar to show all the checklist items that has been created so I can go back and see what all remain to be checked. With as many notes as I have, it’s hard to keep track and a pain to go thru past notes to find unchecked items. The remind button helps but what happens if you have multiple items in the note? Or if I forget to click it? Don’t mean to sound whiny but this is a product enhancement that would add a lot.

    • Zac Courie

      Create a Saved Search with “todo:false”, which will return results of notes that contain only unchecked checkboxes.

      Scott Ellis talks more about it on his blog: http://www.vsellis.com/evernote-power-tip-dynamic-todo-lists/

      • Taylor Pipes

        Zac, thanks very much for sharing that tip for Peter. Appreciate it!

      • Willette

        This is a LITTLE helpful, for now… But wouldn’t it make a LOT more sense for the developers to enable reminder alarms for individual items inside a note?? THAT, plus being able to sync with the iOS (or even a 3rd party) Reminder app would make Endnote make more comprehensive sense for me. Why, in this day & age of cloud computing, should a user have to “search” thru scores or hundreds of notes to find unchecked to-dos???

  • Chris

    I’ve recently found and implemented TaskClone which is a great solution to syncing up the checkbox tasks in Evernote with my task manager. I use OmniFocus across my devises!

  • Dave

    I have received information re checkboxes etc. – and the ease of using reminders… but nowhere can I see this icon ‘checklist’ or checkbox’. I appear to be negative, but please, when you advocate a thing, supply clear instructions. Perhaps a diagram? Create quick checklists? I have been all over my Evernote account – I can’t even see one! This is becoming a waste of my precious time trying to suss out, quite what it is you are saying.

  • Flora

    On the web page version on my PC, using Chrome, if I highlight a list & click the checkbox icon the whole list disappears and is replaced with 1 checkbox. What am I doing wrong?

  • Jim McNabb

    How do you get rid of checkboxes once you have checked them?

  • mudrubble

    Can we add numbers of items? For a packing list I want to say Pants but each time I pack and travel the number of pants changes. Is there a way to add a column for number of items? If not, it won’t really be a packing list…. And what about categories? Does Evernote allow us to put list items in separate categories? Toiletries? Clothes? Electronics, etc.?

  • Doug S.

    When I make a list, every time I hit enter for a new item, I have to manually enter a new check box. This is not how I expect the UI to work. Every other place I’ve seen that has this function, assumes you’re in the same list and automatically creates a new check box when you’re going on tot he next item. It makes much more sense for it to automatically create a checkbox when I hit enter. IMO, this almost renders the feature unusable. Please fix it. By the way, I see this behavior on the web version and on a linux client. Does this function exist on Windows or Mac? There’s no way I’ll migrate to one of those.

    • edward

      Agreed, its insane that upon “return/enter” that another checkbox is not created. Seems like a pretty simple option to add…and I figured Evernote would have it…being that they superseded Springpad.

    • Joe

      Hmmm – on my iPhone, Enter / Return to a new line does automatically create a new check box item. And I’ve read that it’s a new feature in Evernote. I’m not sure why it’s not working for you, probably since you’re using a different device.

  • Russ

    It is a real shame springpad had to shut down, far superior to evernote!

  • Bruce

    Is there any way to rearrange/prioritize a check list?

  • Sonia

    Can evernote integrate w/Google address.calendar?

  • Trent

    Please work on upgrading Evernote to just DO the to-dos for me. Thanks.

  • MarcusB

    I would love to see the same feature in Checklists as Google keep has, in that as you tick an item, then it moves to the bottom and is greyed out, leaving only the items left to do.

    Great for those lists that you have to repeat every week / month /

  • Jonathan

    I’d really like to see a proper to do list system. That is the biggest lacking feature from Evernote

  • Don

    Is there a way to have a to do list or reminder list sent to you every day rather than having to set the reminder each time?

  • wijayatama wisata

    I will try the Create Checklists tip thanks.

  • kelvin

    The word is great already ok

  • Tebogo maphere

    What’s wrong in making to do or checklist note book

  • Pam

    I’d love to be able to import my existing notes/lists from Google Keep and Google Calendar! This having to manually migrate info from one Windows OS version’s apps to another is really a rectal pain. It would have been nice to be able to keep Cardfile.

  • Dan

    I’d like to see a calendar/due date capability.

  • fanta

    Is it possible to set some automatic styling of ‘checked’ items on the to do list? At the moment ‘done’ items look exactly the same as other items, with barely visible tick in the checkbox…. (on Mac at least…)