Straight To The Point: Difference Between Todoist Labels Vs Filters


When I first started using Todoist, I saw how simple the app was. It was so simple that one of the only questions I had left as far as using it was concerned was: what was the difference between Todoist labels and Todoist filters?

Todoist labels separates tasks manually that you tag based on your own descriptions. Todoist filters separates tasks automatically based on Todoists’ system parameters.

While it’s quite clear now the main difference between Todoist labels and filters, their differences cannot be fully captured in just 3 sentences.

More On The Main Differences Between Todoist Filters and Labels

Todoist labels are essentially customised bookmarks that you can create within Todoist that you can use to label any task.

And you can think of Todoist filters like nets where you get to filter many tasks at once depending on the parameters that you’ve set up on a filter.

Because their functions can overlap, I understand how this can cause confusion for some just as it did for me.

Here are the 2 main differences between them to further illustrate the differences between Todoist filters and labels:

  1. You have to apply labels manually to each task, Todoist filters allow you to filter multiple tasks at once.
  2. Todoist labels allow you to give any name that you want to it; Todoist filters must be set up according to a recognised query within Todoist.

We take a closer look at each of these main differences:

  1. You have to apply labels manually to each task, Todoist filters allow you to filter multiple tasks at once.

Todoist Labels

While you can use Todoist labels for an unlimited number of tasks, you will have to go into Todoist to assign these labels on each task manually.

With Todoist labels, you will have to go into each task and tap onto the label option to choose a label(s) to tag your tasks with.

Todoist Filters

Todoist filters allow you to set 1 or more filter criteria and you will be able to display multiple tasks at once.

For example – “view all” is something you can type in as a filtering criteria.

This will allow you to see all the tasks that you have on Todoist that are not yet done.

Where the arrow points is where you set up your criteria for the filter.
With Todoist filters, you can set up a filter once and view all the tasks at once based on your filtering criteria.
  1. Todoist labels allow you to give any name that you want to it; Todoist filters must be set up according to recognised queries within Todoist.

With Todoist labels, you can type anything you want as it’s name and it will work just fine.

With Todoist filters, the name of the filters can be set by you.

But how the tasks are filtered has to follow the naming conventions set by Todoist or it wouldn’t work at all.

When To Use Todoist Labels And When To Use Todoist Filters

Both labels and filter allows for list view which is great.

But certainly, there are times when it’s better to use Todoist labels and there are times when it’s better to use Todoist filters to organise your tasks.

Here are 3 situations when Todoist labels might be better for you:

  1. You want a quick way to organise your tasks that doesn’t require much time to learn
  2. When there are no suitable queries available in Todoist filters
  3. When the need is only to filter a small number of tasks for a short period of time

Here are 3 situations when Todoist filters might be better for you:

  1. You don’t mind putting in some time to learn how to use filters
  2. When you have a large number of tasks to bring into view
  3. When you are organising tasks into labels
  4. When you want to use filters and labels together

When To Use Todoist Labels

  1. You want a quick way to organise your tasks that doesn’t require much time to learn

Todoist labels are quick to implement and learn. All it takes is to set up your label with an appropriate name, and then apply them to the relevant tasks.

Contrary to the Todoist filters where there are many filters that you can explore and combine with a boolean combination – filters can take some time to get used to.

So use labels if you just need a quick way to organise your tasks now rather than later.

  1. When there are no suitable queries available in Todoist filters

You might want to organise your tasks into categories that just doesn’t sit right when you use filters. In those cases, use a label.

  1. When the need is only to filter a small number of tasks for a short period of time

If you only need to organise a number of tasks in the ballpark of 10+, you might just want to set up a simple labelling system for the organising of your tasks.

Additionally, if you are doing it for a short term project, then Todoist labels might be the best option for you.

When To Use Todoist Filters

  1. You don’t mind putting in some time to learn how to use filters

Todoist filters are not rocket science, but neither are they child’s play.

Filters are learnable, but it is not something that you’d want to dabble in if you are in a rush to organise a simple project.

But if you are looking to use Todoist premium for a long time and see a long term benefit in learning how Todoist filters can benefit you, then taking the time to learn the ins and outs of Todoist filters can be a worthwhile investment.

  1. When you have a large number of tasks to bring into view

The possibilities where you might want to organise a large number of tasks can be endless.

If you manage your meeting agenda, grocery list, project to-do and vacation planning all on Todoist, and you want to bring all these tasks into a single view, then Todoist filter is probably the way to go.

  1. When you are organising tasks into labels

Say you want to organise some tasks into labels that you have created and you want to reduce the mess and confusion as you do this – Todoist filters will be able to help you with this.

2 main filter queries can help you specifically in this:

  • The “@NameOfLabel” query – applying this filter will show all tasks that has already been tagged with the specified label.
  • The “no labels” query – applying this filter will show all tasks that hasn’t been tagged with any labels.

Be happy, for the above 2 queries shared can be applied together in a filter with a ‘,’. You can even put 3 or more queries together in a single filter.

  1. When you want to use filters and labels together

A great way to use filter is to combine it with the power of labels.

This way, you can cover the shortcomings that a filter may have but you will also reap the rewards of the benefits of using filters.

More on this in coming next.

Where Can You Learn To Use Todoist Filters

Now that you know how Todoist labels and filters can be used to your advantage, you may want to delve deeper into this subject so that you can take advantage of this excellent feature.

I’ve done a bit of searching on the internet for a list of resources that you might find useful should you want to master the skill of using Todoist filters:

This guide provides a good overview of almost everything that you can do with filters.

It will even prove useful for those who are already using Todoist filters and may be moderately familiar with it.

From the makers of Todoist themselves, this article will help you to gain further inspiration on how you might want to further make use of filters.

Another one from the Todoist team.

If you are already using labels and is looking at ways to integrate filters as well: this article is for you.

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