Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

Tips: Useful searches

emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Just thought it might be good to start a topic where people can share searches that they've found useful (of course, any of these searches can be saved as Smart Lists).

Here's a few to start off:

Overdue tasks


Tasks due this week (including overdue tasks)

dueWithin:"1 week of today" OR dueBefore:today

Tasks due this calendar month

dueWithin:"1 month of 1st"

Tasks with no due date


Tasks that haven't been tagged


So please feel free to share if you have searches that you think other people might find useful :)
Posted at 9:08am on January 28, 2006
grawity says:
Due this week:
status:incomplete AND dueWithin:"1 week of today"

Recently completed:
completedWithin:"1 week of today"

Incomplete, but without due date:
status:incomplete AND due:never

Today's tasks:
completed:today OR due:today
Posted 12 years ago
mddperkins says:
Classing a week as being Monday through Sunday...

Due this week:
status:incomplete dueBefore:Monday

Due next week:
status:incomplete dueWithin:"1 week of Monday"
Posted 12 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
Tags let me create a call list very easily, and smart lists let me pare it down to just the calls that are over due or due very easily:

tag:call AND dueBefore:tomorrow

I like to have a quick overview of what's coming in the next week:

dueWithin:"7 days of today" AND status:incomplete
Posted 12 years ago
msg35 says:
Posted 12 years ago
fonzerelli says:
On my trillian good news display, i have a feed for both tasks due today AND for tasks due this week. however, i made it so that the weekly tasks do not include today's tasks. First i setup today's tasks by setting:

dueWithin:"1 day of today"

and then i set the tasks for the rest of the week, excluding today by setting:

dueWithin:"6 days of tomorrow"

I also did this for the last 23 days of the month as well.
Posted 12 years ago
rfrancis says:
I'm using (priority:1 OR dueWithin:"2 days of today" OR dueBefore:"today") AND status:incomplete for my "Urgent" smart list... making minor improvements as often as I see new ideas. :)
Posted 12 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
Rfrancis, that's a great basis for a hot list; thanks.
Posted 12 years ago
chadcrowell says:
Some prelim info > I keep all my tasks on the Tasks list and use smart lists to make all other tabs. per is my tag for personal items.

Items for Work that I completed this week: (print and take to weekly meeting with boss)

list:Tasks and completedWithin:"1 week of today" and status:completed NOT tag:per

To Do Today:(also includes overdue items, rather than just items with a due date of today)

list:Tasks and status:incomplete and dueBefore:tomorrow
Posted 12 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
Since I have been whining recently about some small nuisances with RTM, I thought it was only right that I also post a helpful idea.

I created a search that lets me know what's coming up for the coming weekend; very handy to be able to have this ready quickly when my wife says "what's going on this weekend?"

dueWithin:"1 day of sat" OR dueWithin:"1 day of sun"

Maybe there's a better way to phrase that, but that's what works for me.
Posted 12 years ago
goog says:
To quote chadcrowell: "Some prelim info > I keep all my tasks on the Tasks list and use smart lists to make all other tabs. per is my tag for personal items."

That's an interesting idea... and it makes me wonder, with tagging and smart lists, what is the point of actually having different lists? I am considering switching over to chadcrowell's method unless somone can make an argument not to...
Posted 12 years ago
argotnaut says:
I use separate lists because that's the only way to keep them separate when subscribing to iCal or another offline calendar. I don't want one giant calendar there -- I need to have school, home, work all separate or I'd go crazy. You can't publish/subscribe smart lists.
Posted 12 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
I also adopted a one-list arrangement as soon as RTM added tags and smart lists. It's very handy apart from one thing - I shared a list with my wife, and that arrangement fell apart, as you can share lists but not smart lists. I guess I could subscribe her to the feed, but she's not RSS/Atom savvy, so that's a non-starter. Anyway, I restored that one list and now I have one big list and one small special purpose one for the sake of that share issue.
Posted 12 years ago
goog says:
Hmm, those are two good advantages of real lists over smart lists.

I hope the RTM developers are listening to this conversation, because they could certainly implement options for smart lists to make them 1) publishable/subscribable and 2) sharable

Then again, I think there are some people who might just prefer having different lists to being FORCED to tag everything.
Posted 12 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
We're listening :)

Unfortunately Smart Lists can't be shared or published currently, as they're simply filters on your existing lists. If you shared a filter with someone, it would be applied to their tasks and not yours. If your Smart List was for tasks due today, and you shared that with someone, they would see their tasks that are due today. We'll definitely keep the functionality in mind for the future though.

Also just wanted to note, Smart Lists can be subscribed to via Atom/iCalendar (but require login).
Posted 12 years ago
gmonty says:
I just came across this. Wow what a jackpot of a thread to find. Please keep posting your suggestions, I have already started using many of them.
Posted 11 years ago
ceciliac says:
I would like to search for all tasks with the tag WORK, but that does not have any other tags. Anyone have any ideas?
Posted 11 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
ceciliac, sorry I don't think there's any way to search like that currently (not that I can think of anyway). It's possible to exclude specific tags with NOT, but no way to exclude all other tags.
Posted 11 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
Here's a list I use often, that includes a refinement others might find useful. I have a bunch of recurring items in my lists that are handy for daily check lists, but irksome to see when I am planning ahead, so this smart list omits them:

dueWithin:"7 days of today" AND status:incomplete AND isRepeating:false
Posted 11 years ago
bzpilman says:
After some thinking, I've come up with one great helper in my Weekly review:

completedWithin:"1 week of sun"

Considering my weekly review is every sunday, it will always show things completed from Monday to Sunday of the current week. When it turns monday, the smartlist will get rid of the tasks it has and start showing only the new week's accomplishments.

That's different from the popular completedWithin:"1 week of today", because the that one always shows tasks completed up to 7 days ago, so the list always have 7 days worth of tasks

In completedWithin:"1 week of sun", the list will show only monday on monday, monday and tuesday on tuesday, and so on untill having a week's worth of tasks only on the sunday.
Posted 10 years ago
osamu2001 says:
Posted 10 years ago
jjeudymd says:
I have a list called "STALE" which catches not just overdue tasks but tasks that I've added which I haven't done anything with for more than a month

dueBefore:today OR (priority:none AND status:incomplete NOT addedWithin:"1 month of today"

I look at it every couple of weeks which triggers me to re-examine and reconsider older tasks that have just been laying around.
Posted 10 years ago
pantsbooger says:
Hi, I think I know the answer to this one, but does anyone know if it is possible to search for a tag that contains (but is not entirely made up of) a particular text string?

E.g I have a tag called com-department and one called com-rail (and many others with a com- prefix, many others with a mktg- prefix) - this is because I perform two different roles at work - it would be really useful to have a smart list that shows all my "com" or all my "mktg" work, so that I can turn my focus entirely to the role I am performing that day.

The logical search would appear to be tagContains but this does not seem to work - any suggestions?
Posted 10 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Hate to tell you, especially after helping you out earlier, but this is not the place for questions, Help is the place. As for your question, look here.
Posted 10 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Mental note of new task: Learn to post hyperlinks, due ASAP...

Wild card in searches
Posted 10 years ago
pantsbooger says:
Sincere apologies. Thanks for your help.
Posted 10 years ago
dwr816 says:
This is my "On The Radar" list.

due:never or dueWithin:"30 days" or dueBefore:today

It filters out things that are due a long time from now but keeps things that are overdue or due fairly soon or that don't have any due date -- because those are things I try to do as I have time. I just added this list tonight, so will probably end up tweaking it some. For example, 30 days might to be too far out -- 14 might work better.
Posted 10 years ago
paul.sinclair says:
I have something similar, but I think you should have dueBefore:tomorrow, otherwise you will exclude today's stuff
Posted 10 years ago
dwr816 says:
Paul, regarding the "On The Radar" query: the dueWithin:"30 days" takes care of the "today" part so today's items do show up on the list (since all the conditions are ORed).
Posted 10 years ago
joleary says:
Is there a way to search for tasks completed within the last workday? I've been using RTM as the source to answer the 'what did I complete yesterday?' question during our daily Agile/SCRUM meeting. Using 'completedwithin: 1 day of today' works great Tuesday through Friday, but not on Mondays. Is there another way I might accomplish this?
Posted 9 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Why not try this question in the Help Forum instead? This is the Tips&Tricks forum, on top of that this is a sticky thread showing some smart searches.
Posted 9 years ago
grant.lovell says:
Is there a way to limit the number of items in a list? For example if I have 100 items tagged as "work" can I make a smart list with only the first 3?
Posted 9 years ago
jstout says:
Items due next month: dueWithin:"2 months of 1st" NOT dueWithin:"1 month of 1st"
Posted 9 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Just thought I would post my favourite search here once and for all instead of posting it every time someone asks for a way to have a start date for a task.

The method allows you to decide how far in advance (in relation to the due date) a task appears in an RTM smart list.

Create a smart list with the following criteria, save the list as "¤zzz":
(tag:zzz AND dueAfter:now)
OR (tag:z1d AND dueAfter:"1 day of now")
OR (tag:z2d AND dueAfter:"2 days of now")
OR (tag:z1w AND dueAfter:"1 week of now")
OR (tag:z1m AND dueAfter:"1 month of now")
You can create and use as many tags as you like using this pattern, using tags like z5d, z2w or z3m as long as you include them in the search above.

I use this in my other smartlists in order to hide tasks I don't want to see yet:
Smart list I use at work: location:@work AND NOT list:¤zzz

Some typical tasks could be (this trick works especially well with repeating tasks in order to hide a recently completed task):
- Buy birthday present to spouse, due: 1 june, repeat: yearly, tag: z1w
- Clean fridge, due: friday, repeat: weekly, tag: z1d
- Change to studded tires on car, due: 1 dec, repeat: yearly, tag: z1m

For this to work, you have to:
1 Set up the smart list ¤zzz as above (once)
2 Add AND NOT list:¤zzz to your smart lists (once)
3 Add tag zzz/z1d/z1w/z1m etc to the tasks you want to hide until later (every time)
Posted 9 years ago
inkygirl says:
Rajjan: Thanks so much for posting this! I have a lot of repeating tasks, so your method will be of huge help in cleaning up my lists.
Posted 9 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Glad you like! It has helped me in keeping the lists clean (showing only task I can do anything about right now).
Posted 9 years ago
stujohnson says:
I'm a complete beginner with RTM and GTD, but thaks to your posts in various places I now have several really useful smart lists. I'm trying to do personal and work stuff all together and the zzz one is esp great for birthday reminders. Ta!
Posted 9 years ago
marc.garcia.marti says:

it took me a while implementing this trick.. at first I found it a little complicated and automatically skipped it but I've just given it a try and it works superb. Hats off!!

Thanks for the information man,

Posted 9 years ago
dave.lehrer says:
Looking for tips on how to make the following search more elegant so that I don't have to go back and fix it every time I add a new Location:

NOT location:work AND NOT location:home AND NOT location...

I've tried things like location:false, location:none, and location:null all with no success.

Posted 9 years ago
leo.nordwall says:
Hi, I'm new to RTD!

Here's something for people that want a cue on what to do when having, say, 15 minutes to spare:

status:incomplete and timeEstimate:"< 16 min"

If you set up multiple intervals (I have 5, 15, 30 and 60 minutes) and only want to see the tasks that is close to the interval, you can try:

status:incomplete and timeEstimate:" 5 min"

for seeing all tasks longer than 5 min but no longer than 15 minutes. (This is similar to a pro account feature in ToodleDo, by the way.) I find this trick useful, especially when combined with tags.
Posted 9 years ago
leo.nordwall says:

The second query was cut off. I try again:

status:incomplete and timeEstimate:" 5 min"
Posted 9 years ago
leo.nordwall says:
No, it seems the forum software cuts the query for some reason. *sigh*
Posted 9 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
A favorite search that stops your newly added task from disappearing from the smart list you added it to:

Normally, if you have fairly complex smart lists, and try to add tasks to them, they will not meet the smart list criteria and therefore they will disappear from view. The reason for this is that RTM can't figure out what tags, locations, due date etc to give this new task (it tries to copy all the fields.) Having no success in adding all this info, RTM gives up, resulting in a task not meeting the smart list criteria, hence it disappears.

The idea is to create a new smart list that does all the necessary checks (in this case that the task has a tag, a location and a duration):
Smart list Check, criteria:
isLocated:false OR NOT timeEstimate:">0 min" OR isTagged:false.
Many reading this already have such smart lists, checking that all is added as needed by your system.

This list should then be used in all the smart lists where you normally add tasks. I have one for work related tasks:
Smart list Work, criteria:
(location:@work OR location:@pc OR location:@phone)
If I add a task when viewing this smart list, the task will disappear as RTM can't decide which location it should give this new task.
By adjusting the Work smart list criteria to:
(location:@work OR location:@pc OR location:@phone) OR list:Check
the new task will remain on screen as it meets this last part. You can then add tags, location etc and suddenly it will not meet the Check smart list criteria but the original criteria for Work and remain on screen.
Posted 9 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
When you add tasks to a smart list, RTM tries to copy the meta information. In order for this to work, all the smart list criteria must be un-ambiguous (see more here:

All these are un-ambiguous:
as long as you avoid NOT and OR. Also avoid ">" and "<" in time estimates, priorities and postponed.

The rest results in ambiguous searches:


Some meta info is set indirectly:

Some you can't set yourself:

Hope that helps!
Posted 9 years ago
andresfulla says:
I think this:

dueBefore: "1 month"

is better than:

dueWithin:"1 week of today" OR dueBefore:today
(This doesn't works, at least for me)

For see tasks due this calendar month

and same for another period.
Posted 8 years ago
martin.jamieson says:
I don't suppose there is a wildcard character we can use in searches? seems a few other people have mentioned the need for it above too...

Anyway, I've just started using RTM in the context of GTD and have setup what I find to be a really useful list. I tag all my next actions with a context such as @work, @phone, @computer, @home, @errands, @any - and have made a smart list that shows all my next actions:

tag:@any or tag:@computer or tag:@errands or tag:@home or tag:@phone or tag:@work

would certainly be a lot easier if there was a wildcard symbol, tag:@* for example would be a lot easier to write ;)

While I'm at it, It would also be nice to sort by tag too :)
Posted 8 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi Martin,

You can use tagContains to search for a partial tag name, e.g.:


Hope this helps!
Posted 8 years ago
martin.jamieson says:
Thanks emily - I just found the page with all the operators on it helps a lot :)
Posted 8 years ago
stephan.schubert says:
Help me,

I`m a new user. my english isnt good for this help.
Do you know a german help for a new fan from this tool

greetings from the alps of bavaria
Posted 8 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi Stephan,
Unfortunately, the forums are English only. However, feel free to submit an issue report and I'll try to get back to you personally.

Servus Stephan,
(Mein Deutsch ist nur so-so; vergib mir!)
Leider sind unsere Foren nur auf Englisch. Aber du kannst Email Hilfe anfragen und ich werde dich antworten!
Posted 8 years ago
dhensch says:
is there a way to search multiple lists, at once? for instance, I have one list that is "marketing" and another named "PR". I tried using the following search criteria but it came up empty:

list:marketing and list:PR
Posted 8 years ago
mehardin says:
use and OR instead of an AND. Using AN mean's the task must be in BOTH lists for it to show up. You want tasks to show up if they are in either list.

"list:marketing OR list:PR"
Posted 8 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
@dhensch Try list:foo OR list:zed

I think that'll do the trick for you.
Posted 8 years ago
twelvety says:
I've been wanting a search that would show me tasks that I've added in the last (rolling) seven days but haven't completed yet. After reading about jjeudymd's "STALE" list above, I came up with this and it works great as a Smart List:

status:incomplete AND addedWithin:"1 week of today" NOT dueAfter:today
Posted 8 years ago
harsh4us says:
Is there anyway to search for tasks completed last week, not last 7 days?
Posted 8 years ago
janvanderploeg says:
@harsh4us, try this
completedWithin:"1 week of today"
Posted 8 years ago
wcitypoe says:
An Example of How to Be Far Too Complex with RTM's Advanced Search:
Posted 8 years ago
robin.pelham says:
So the million dollar feature we're all waiting for is the ability to create a "Reports" tab and have all our favorite searches saved there!

Rather then polluting our tab space.
Posted 8 years ago
robin.pelham says:
Or just allow list items to link to a search.

That way people could make there own reports tab and even a projects tab where each project linked to all sub tasks (using a tag search)!
Posted 8 years ago
robin.pelham says:
Btw a tip for anyone who wants to save all these but not see them all the time is to archive the lists.
Posted 8 years ago
binkbok says:
anyone know how to so something like:


This would allow me to select all of my "personal" lists in a search.

It looks like RTM is setup so the only search for a list is a exact match.
Posted 8 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
This is a good question, probably you will get good answers if you post it in the Help forum.
Posted 8 years ago
ranbarton Power Poster says:
The ability to search for tagContains, and not listContains, is one of the many reasons I suggest people use tags and smartlists, as opposed too many lists, when setting up their RTM system. Sharing issues are the only drawback of this suggestion.
Posted 8 years ago
osamu2001 says:
Tasks completed this month.

Posted 8 years ago
matthew.bassett says:
I use the following smartlist to narrow my focus to what I should be worried about next (I call this list 'next'):

dueBefore:tomorrow or
(not dueAfter:"2 days from today" and priority:3) or
(not dueAfter:"1 week from today" and priority:2) or
(not dueAfter:"2 weeks from today" and priority:1) or
(due:never and not priority:none and not tag:someday)

This gives me all the items that are overdue or due today; priority 3 items due within two days; priority 2 items due within 1 week; priority 1 items due within 2 weeks and finally: any items that are prioritised but that do not have a due date (providing they are not tagged someday which is supposed to mean due some undefined day in the future).

The theory here is that the more important an item is, the more warning I want before it is due, BUT that if I have not set a due date, then setting any priority makes it appear (and the someday tag lets me prioritise things as important but exclude them from the list until I do set a due date)

I use this smart list with other smartlists that further narrow my focus based on my location: next@Work is:

list:next and location:@Work

next@Home is:

list:next and location:@Home

The beauty of the above is that I can change my criteria for what I consider to be 'next', without having to alter the next@Home or next@Work lists.
Posted 8 years ago
matthew.bassett says:
OK so no one spotted my deliberate (or at least I am claiming so) error above...

the "(not dueAfter:"2 days from today" and priority:3)" lines should actually be "(dueBefore:"2 days from today" and priority:3)" otherwise they also match the tasks with no due date, meaning the "(due:never and not priority:none and not tag:someday)" does nothing useful.

I've been using the above smartlists for sometime, without the "(not tag:someday)" and had not realised my error.
Posted 8 years ago
rhauer says:
I have a list of companies that I am following however they are not truly tasks. There are times I want to look at all my list but dont want to see these categories. Can i set up a search to include everything except this one list.
Posted 8 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
Sure: you can set up a Smart List (any of the examples above) and add NOT list:Companies to it. (The Companies list can be either a list or a Smart List.)

Hope this helps!
Posted 8 years ago
dburdi says:
Took me some time to figure this one out today so I figured I'd post it.

I wanted to create a Smart List for tasks that were due within the next hour. Here is the search I came up with which seems to work.

dueWithin:"1 day of today" AND dueBefore:"1 hour of now"

Posted 7 years ago
gamma3000 says:
dueBefore:today doesn't actually pick up all overdue tasks. If it's noon and I had a task that was due at 10am today, that gets missed, for example.

The actual search for overdue tasks is "dueBefore:today OR (dueBefore:now AND dueAfter:today)"
Posted 7 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
You could try dueBefore:Now instead.
Posted 7 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
I initially thought that also, but gamma3000 is trying to capture a Smart List that shows "overdue tasks or any tasks that are already overdue today", excluding tasks that can be done anytime today.
Posted 7 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
My mistake, sorry!
Posted 7 years ago
andrewski (Remember The Milk) says:
No need to apologize; you made a good point on the other thread that I hadn't seen until after I posted this.

Seems like both are useful depending on what you prefer to look at. :)
Posted 7 years ago
sethcnorris says:
I apologize if this was already shared, but it's one I find useful:

I use a smart list to show tasks tagged "@Home". The tasks that make their way to this smart list include repeating as well as non-repeating tasks. For my repeating tasks, I don't want them to show up until the day I have to do them. For instance, I don't want "Take trash out to street" to show up the day after trash day and sit on the list for 6 days. Here's what I came up with (na = next action):

(tag: na AND tag: @Home AND isRepeating: false) OR (tag: na AND tag: @home AND isRepeating: true AND due: today)

This way tasks with no due dates also show up.

Posted 7 years ago
sethcnorris says:
I'm updating my post from yesterday. These are the types of tasks I want to show in my Smart Lists
If anyone has a simpler alternative, please share!!
(Note: DSUD stands for Don't Show Until Due)

Tasks with no due date
Tasks with due dates that can be completed at anytime
Tasks that are repeating and I only want to show up on the due date (take trash to street)
Tasks that can't be done until their due date so I don't want them showing up until then

(tag:na AND tag:@home) AND ((due:never) OR (isRepeating:true AND due:today) OR (noteContains:DSUD AND due:today) OR (isRepeating:false AND hasNotes:false AND (dueBefore:today OR dueAfter:yesterday)))
Posted 7 years ago
will.hopkins says:
Responding to a question from 5 years ago: regular lists are useful (for me) because they sync to my BlackBerry's task app, while smart lists do not. If I had an iOS device I doubt I'd ever use them.
Posted 6 years ago
matt.sturing says:
dueBefore:"1 week"

this shows everything that is overdue, due today, and due this week
Posted 5 years ago
osarjeant says:
For those that want a "This Week" smart list:
(week starts on Monday and does not show overdue task)

dueBefore: monday and dueAfter: yesterday

"Next Week":
dueBefore:"next monday" and dueAfter:sunday
Posted 5 years ago
osarjeant says:
Correction to "Next Week" Search:
dueBefore:"next monday" and (dueAfter:monday or due:monday)

the old search would not show anything when today=sunday
Posted 5 years ago
gelasial says:
this do help me a lot, thanks
Posted 5 years ago
bullishabhi says:
Thanks for the useful information
Posted 5 years ago
mikejd30 says:
Thanks for this. However I would like to recommend something.

I don't think it is a good idea to use smart lists / search for overdue tasks, other than to change the date.

What I mean is, I don't think any task should be kept overdue. Each day those tasks should be reviewed, and if still important to do today, change date.
Posted 5 years ago
thomas.kerstens says:
Hi, I would like to create a list of my incompleted tasks for the last week. How do I do that? I tried dueBefore:today AND dueAfter:"-1 week of now" but this doesn't wok. Can we use past periods at all?

Thanks - Thomas
Posted 4 years ago
xtoq says:
@thomas.kerstens - Try this:

dueBefore:today AND NOT dueBefore:"1 week before today"

And no, I don't believe you can use negative time frames. You can use the syntax "X days/weeks/months before" instead.
Posted 4 years ago
chris.siret says:
Hi, I would like to create a list of my incompleted tasks for the last month. I tried what you said but I ended up with old tasks such 2012.

Posted 4 years ago
cfgauss says:
I can't get the "before" syntax to work. E.g.

due: "1 day before today"


due: "1 day after today"

both give tomorrow's tasks.. How do I reference time in the past?

I'd like a "last week's" task list, similar to @thomas.kerstens.
Posted 3 years ago
abinoam says:
Hi @cfgauss,

I'm having the same problem here. Have you found the solution?

For example, today is Tuesday. I would like a search query that gives me 2 week scenario from last monday to next monday.

All over this week bellow I would like to see the due tasks.

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun mon -> TUE <- wed thu fri sat sun

How could I express dates in the past?

Would it be something like "dueAfter:last monday" ?!?!
Posted 2 years ago
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