Use Alfred (Mac) to automate the creation of structured sub tasks

By Leighton Price, Todoist Ambassador

Last updated: 4 Sep 2022 - Note: These workflows now work again after Todoist re-introduced the ability to indent a subtask with a keyboard shortcut. Todoist had deprecated the use of ⌘+→, but ⌘+] now fulfils this function. The Alfred workflows available for download have been updated to reflect this.


One of the nice things about Todoist is its ability to accept multiple tasks pasted into it. However, what that help article doesn’t mention is that you can also include Todoist-specific syntax that gets parsed by Todoist, post-entry. This includes dates, such as “next week” or “in 2 days” etc. (1).

On a slight tangent, one of the issues with Todoist is that when you filter for subtasks, you lose visibility of the associated parent task, thus losing context for the task (2).

So, I was thinking. Wouldn’t it be good if you could automate the creation of a parent task, with all its associated steps in the process, as subtasks with due dates (1) and also have the sub tasks all contain the same nomenclature as the parent, created automatically (2)?

I have Alfred with the Powerpack installed on my Mac. With the Powerpack you can create Workflows that can do all kinds of complicated stuff, much of which is way beyond my understanding.

However, the main thing for me was, when the Alfred workflow was triggered, I wanted to be able to create some variables (e.g Name, Company & Purchase Order) that could then be used later on in both the parent task AND all the subtasks featuring in the workflow.

You’ll see in the gif that, once I’ve triggered the workflow using the keyed snippet “:tap”…

So here’s the workflow in action following its triggering.

And here’s how it looks in Todoist after it’s run.

And finally, here’s a screen-grab of how the workflow looks in Alfred.

So there you have it. A relatively easy way to automate the creation of ‘rinse/repeat’ subtasks and also ensure they all feature a clear indication of the parent task they belong to.

You can download your copy of the workflow from here.

Of course, once you’ve got the hang of creating these kind of workflows, many possibilities unfold. In the example below, you can enter a task with optional date info and task description. The date, if entered, will in turn get passed to all the subtasks so they are the same as the parent task. This is how it looks in Todoist after actioning.

You can download this additional workflow, here.

And finally, my expanded takes on Todoist Filters and Todoist dates are both well worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Cheers.

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