Checkboxes and checklists in Amplenote (lightweight tasks that don't show up in Tasks Mode)

Amplenote doesn't natively support "checkboxes" or "mini tasks that don't show up as tasks." That said, tasks in Amplenote can perfectly fill the roll of checkboxes, and we will explore how in this article.

linkCheckboxes vs tasks (checklists vs to-do lists)

The semantic difference between tasks and checkboxes, as Amplenote users have presented it to us, is pretty significant. Where for most people, "tasks" tend to model real-life, one-time objectives that have measurable impact (and consequences if not done), "checkboxes" are more akin to smaller, more abstract items inside a list of steps needed to complete a chore.

Under this framework, a task might be:

✍️ Write the upcoming blog post

- while a checklist associated with that task might look like:

✅ Finish first draft

✅ Add links and images

✅ Do editing pass

✅ Do proof-reading

✅ Publish and send emails

Besides modeling smaller action items, the cool property of a checklist is that, in most cases, checklists are reusable. That means that no matter what "kind" of blog post one might be writing, the individual checkboxes needed to complete it will always be the same.

Team Amplenote hears from customers about checklists at least once a month. People have patiently explained to us that not everything deserves to be a full-blown task, and we understand! For very small action items, for repetitive actions or for things such as shopping lists, native tasks in Amplenote can feel a very overqualified tool for an otherwise trivial job.

Furthermore, some people think about tasks as these serious, non-negotiable action item on their schedule. Using the same "tasks" to model smaller, less consequential things can insert additional stress and anxiety into one's day. Not to mention that when one starts using tasks to model non-important things, one can risk developing immunity to tasks as a whole, and maybe start neglecting the important things as well.

The final drawback of tasks is that, by default, marking a task as complete removes it from its context and moves it to the "Completed" tab of the note. While that can be fine for tasks, it's often not the preferred behavior for simple checklists.

With all this in mind, let's look over how to create checklists in Amplenote!

linkHow to create checkboxes and checklists in Amplenote

One of the biggest drawbacks of "tasks as checkboxes" is that creating a task anywhere will also display it in Tasks and Calendar Mode. This can be undesirable, since it's hard to differentiate between checklists and "real tasks". So let's explore three scenarios and the recommended solutions for each.

linkI am often employing reusable checklists

If you're the type of note-taker that has a checklist for everything, then the best solution for you is to use Note templates. Note templates are regular notes that are usually locked and rarely edited. Instead of editing the template note, you are duplicating it every time you need to use it, for example by typing @= inside your editor and searching for your template's title.

Using @= (the legacy [[=) to find a section of a note and insert it in a Daily Jot

The big advantage of this method is that, even though we are using "real tasks" to represent our checklists, tasks from locked notes are hidden from Tasks and Calendar Mode. This means that only the actual working copy of your checklist will be shown in your to-do lists.

To complete a task and have it stay inline, simply choose the "Cross out" option from the task details or us the Ctrl-Shift-Space hotkey. If you'd still rather not use "real tasks" with this method, you can safely use bullet points instead. The hotkey for crossing out a bullet point is the same.

Note templates are a fan-favorite feature and team Amplenote highly recommends using them for repetitive checklists and routines!

linkI am creating checklists in specific notes

For those times when you manually create checklists inside specific notes, this method is the way to go:

Create your checklists as normal task lists

In Tasks and Calendar Mode, make sure to filter out the notes containing checklists

Tag your checklist notes with checklists or a similar tag, to help distinguish them from notes containing regular tasks.

To exclude checklists from Tasks Mode, you can either:

Deselect your checklists tag (and select a different tag combination)

To exclude checklists from Calendar Mode, you can either:

Omit adding your checklists tag to your Task Domains

linkHere's an unofficial checklists plugin

Finally, thanks to David Trapp, the creator of the Checklists plugin, you can install and configure your own version of interactible checklists. You can follow the instructions on the plugin's homepage.