Make tags on task rows clickable ==> add to/remove from Search filter


I just discovered a VERY cool feature in WorkFlowy that I think GTDNext could use, which is: as soon as you have entered a tag, simply by clicking on the tag it itself, puts the tag straight into the search box! (i.e. the filter). And now all you see is you list of tasks filtered by that tag.

(A nice/fun bonus is that the user sees a very rapid animation of the text shooting over there, which helps the new user understand what’s going on but it’s so fast it doesn’t get in the way of advanced users.)

Other nice features:

  • You can enter a tag without any fuss ( e.g. #something or @person )… no confirmation is required for new tags. [Confirmation feels so ‘last century’ !]
  • Also the tags are “additive” so you can click on #A and then @fred and see results filtered tasks that are both #something AND @fred.
  • Tags toggle on/off: i.e. To remove the tag from the filter just click on the tag (in the task row) again and it is removed.
    (Or you can to remove the filter of course just tick the “x” in the search box of course.)

In fact, I know this is a bit radical, but there is a slight question in my mind as to whether one really needs tags in their own field at all, or whether it would be better to just do what WorkFlowy does and make #whatever and @whatever text in the task titles automatically become tags.

So - is there any good reason for not making MLO tags become click-able at the task level?


P.S. Personally I don’t recommend WorkFlowy for task management however I find it great for keeping hierarchical lists of stuff you wish to store (rather then do!), particularly if you want to change the sort orders quickly & easily.

For me, I prefer tag creation to be very restricted - either with explicit confirmation or with a separate tag edit mode. This is because I do no want misspelled tags to be created accidentally and pollute my tag list and create confusion. My tags are all stable, well-defined contexts that I never want to change or create “on the fly”.

Perhaps a user preference setting could solve this.

AND filtering certainly has its uses. So does OR filtering (i.e. what GTDNext has now). And NOT filtering. The only safe and complete solution is to have all three and let the user combine them as he or she pleases (for example using ctrl-click, shift-click and alt-click).

Personally, what I would use most is NOT filtering. This would allow me to eliminate all contexts (tools, people, places etc) that are definitely unavailable right now. It is only quite rarely that I can say that I definitely MUST do something from just one specific narrow combination of contexts, but there are usually at least a number of contextual factors (people, tools. places …) that I can definitely rule out. Elimination filtering seems to be the safest way to reduce the size of the Next list and make it show all the options that are truly relevant right now, without hiding anything.

NOT filtering would also allow me to reach a higher degree of precision in my filtering as I could have many more tags without incurring more work. This is because I would not have to spend any effort on tagging for the “normal” case, just for the exceptions. For example, I could tag Outdoors tasks only, but not Indoors tasks, and save work; and then by filtering for NOT Outdoors, i.e. hiding the Outdoors tasks, I would still be able to see only the Indoors tasks, without needing to have them tagged as such.

Folke, we can debate the fine tuning about what happen next (AND OR NOT etc - a good point, btw!) but what to you make of my central idea - to make the tags clickable where they are visible on the task rows?

Have you seen what I mean on WorkFlowy?

Regarding which logical operators to use between multiple tags (i.e. AND… OR… NOT…) I can certainly see the value of NOT. … Of course the ultimate answer is to be allowed to build your own logic complete with brackets!

One could probably have a useful function of inverting (i.e. putting NOT around whatever is the current filter) by say clicking on a little box or right clicking or similar. But the question is what would be

  • most easy to learn and
  • useful to most people most of the time.
    Personally I’ve not used multiple tag filters enough to have an informed opinion, but tentatively I suggest default to ANDs but to have NOTs if you shift click.

PS I tried to do a screenshot however, I can’t get the image upload thing to work either on GIF nor JPEGs in Firefox nor in Chrome.

Oh, that is great. Totally agree. It is normal practice, I had thought. (Nirvana, Doit, Zendone … ) no ?? (Apparently Workflowy, too). I probably had the absence of it down as a teething problem, but you are right in pointing it out.

I do not use Workflowy on a regular basis. I kind of like it but have not found much use for it. i believe they probably have some very nice features here and there, in particular the ability to accommodate unlimited hierarchical levels, but so do Todoist and MLO in a more intuitive way (for managing tasks, anyway). I would be careful about modeling too much on Workflowy. In particular I think the complete outline is not something you want to look at very often. I for one would usually want to go straight to the desired project (subtree) straight from the left menu.