Building a Simple To-Do List in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide πŸ€“πŸ“…

Welcome, everyone! In this tutorial, I will demonstrate a simple and easy method to create a to-do list using Google Sheets. Let’s begin by discussing how you can access Google Sheets.

If you have a Gmail account, you can navigate to the Google search home page. In the top right-hand corner, you’ll find an icon for Google apps. Click on it, and then scroll down to locate the Google Sheets icon. By clicking on the Google Sheets icon, you will be directed to a page displaying all the spreadsheets you have previously worked on. Additionally, you can create a new spreadsheet by clicking on the designated icon.

Creating a ToDoList

As you can observe, a blank spreadsheet has opened up where you can begin working. The first step is to add a name for the spreadsheet. For instance, I’ll name it “To-Do List.” Additionally, you can name the tab you are working in. Let’s assume we’re creating a to-do list for February 2022.

The next step involves adding the columns you want in your to-do list. I’ll include the following columns, which are typically found in my own to-do lists. However, feel free to modify them according to your requirements:

  1. Task Number
  2. Task Category
  3. Task Description
  4. Due Date
  5. Status (Started, Completed, In Progress)
  6. Priority
  7. Notes

I’ll highlight the cells for these column headers and expand them slightly to provide more space. Then, I’ll apply some formatting to make them distinct. This can include adding color, making the font bold, and changing the font color to white. I’ll also center-align the Task Number, Due Date, Status, and Priority columns. However, alignment preferences can vary, and you can choose to leave them left-aligned if you prefer.

To maintain a clean and neat appearance, I usually delete the remaining columns. I’ll highlight them and delete them by right-clicking with the mouse. This ensures that the spreadsheet ends at the Notes column.

Now, let’s see how we can populate the spreadsheet and add additional features to make updating easier throughout the month of February.

For instance, if we have Task Number 1 under the Category section, let’s assume you are a university student with tasks related to coursework, student clubs, part-time jobs, and hobbies. It can be time-consuming to input the category each time you add a new task.

Dropdown List

To simplify the process, it would be beneficial to have the different categories as a drop-down list. Let’s explore how we can add a drop-down list in Google Sheets.

First, delete the existing content in the cell below the header, and let’s learn how to add a drop-down list together. Click on the first cell in the column (right below the header), then press Ctrl + Shift + the down arrow. This will highlight the entire column until the last row.

Next, go to the “Data” menu and select “Data Validation.” In the criteria section, choose “List of items.” Here, you can add the different categories separated by commas. For example:

  • Coursework
  • Student clubs
  • Part-time job
  • Hobbies

Remember to separate each item with a comma. Once you’ve added the items, click “Save.”

You will notice a downward arrow has appeared in the cell. Clicking on this arrow will display the list of items you just entered. You can now select the appropriate category for each task, such as coursework, student clubs, part-time job, or hobbies.

Moving on to the task description, this is where you describe the specific task you need to accomplish. For example, for coursework, you could enter “Submit the chemistry assignment.”

To ensure the text is properly displayed, let’s wrap the text within the cells. Highlight all the cells, go to the “Format” menu, and select “Wrap.” This will wrap the text within the cells, preventing it from overflowing.

In some cases, the text may be aligned at the bottom of the cell. To adjust the alignment, go to the “Format” menu, select “Vertical alignment,” and choose “Middle” to align the text in the middle of the cell. This will enhance the overall appearance and cleanliness of the spreadsheet.

Due Dates

When it comes to due dates, manually adding the date each time can be time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to streamline this process. Follow these steps:

First, select the entire column by clicking on the first cell and pressing Ctrl + Shift + the down arrow.

Next, go to the “Data” menu, select “Data Validation” once again. This time, choose “Date” as the criteria, and click “Save.”

Now, if you double-click on a cell in the column, a calendar will pop up, allowing you to easily select a date. For example, you can choose the 9th of February as the due date or the 16th of February for next week. This method makes it incredibly convenient to add dates, ensuring they are consistently formatted.

By following these steps, you can automate and simplify the process of adding due dates to your to-do list, saving you time and effort.


Alright, let’s move on to the task status. There are different statuses you might have for a task, such as:

  1. Not started: You haven’t started working on it yet.
  2. In progress: You have started working on the task but haven’t completed it.
  3. Completed: You have finished the task.
  4. Delayed: The due date of the task has passed, but you still need to submit it.

To incorporate these statuses into the to-do list, we’ll repeat the steps we’ve used before. Follow these instructions:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + the down arrow to select the full column.
  2. Go to the “Data” menu and select “Data Validation.”
  3. Choose “List of items” as the criteria and add the following options:
    • Not started
    • In progress
    • Completed
    • Delayed
  4. Click “Save” to generate the drop-down list for the task status.

To enhance the visual representation of the status, you can assign different colors to each status. For example:

  • Completed tasks can be highlighted in green.
  • Delayed tasks can be highlighted in red.
  • In-progress tasks can be highlighted in yellow.
  • Not started tasks can be highlighted in gray.

However, manually coloring each cell according to its status can be time-consuming. To simplify this process, let’s delete the existing coloring.

By following these steps, you can easily manage and track the progress of your tasks using the colored status indicators.

Conditional Formatting

Let’s reset the colors and then proceed to set up conditional formatting to automatically change the cell color based on the selected status.

To apply conditional formatting, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight the entire column by clicking on the header and pressing Ctrl + Shift + the down arrow.
  2. Go to the “Format” menu and select “Conditional formatting.”
  3. In the conditional formatting window, click on “Add another rule.”
  4. For the first rule, select “Text contains” and enter “In progress” as the text. Choose the yellow color for the cell. Click “Done.”
  5. Add another rule for “Not started” and select the gray color. Click “Done.”
  6. Add a rule for “Completed” with the default green cell color. Click “Done.”
  7. Finally, add a rule for “Delayed” and choose the red color. Click “Done” and close the conditional formatting window.

Now, when you select a status from the drop-down list, the cell color will automatically change to reflect the chosen status. For example, if you select “Not started,” the cell will turn gray. Similarly, “In progress” will be represented by a yellow cell, “Completed” by a green cell, and “Delayed” by a red cell.

This visual representation allows you to quickly assess the status of each task based on its color. Additionally, you can apply similar conditional formatting techniques to prioritize tasks by using different colors or formatting rules for high, medium, and low priority levels.

For notes related to the task, you can simply add relevant information, such as “Submission via email to the teaching assistant.”

Freeze Columns

I believe that covers everything. There is one more thing I’d like to mention regarding the visibility of column headers when scrolling through the to-do list. By default, the column headers disappear as you scroll down, which can be inconvenient. However, there is a simple solution to always keep the column headers visible.

To achieve this, follow these steps:

  1. Select the first column of your to-do list.
  2. Go to the “View” menu and choose “Freeze.”
  3. In the drop-down menu, select the option “Up to row 1.”

By freezing the first row, whenever you scroll up or down, the column headers will remain fixed at the top, ensuring they are always visible. This feature enhances the usability of your to-do list.

Before we conclude, I’d like to show you how to access your to-do list again in case you accidentally close it. Simply navigate to your Google Apps and click on Google Sheets. You will see a list of all the sheets you have worked on, including your to-do list. Alternatively, you can find your to-do list by accessing your Google Drive, where it will be saved.

I hope this information is helpful for managing your to-do list effectively. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

How to Build Simple To-Do-List Using Google SheetsπŸ€“πŸ“…

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