Wunderlist is an app for lists, loved by many, but gone for good as of May 6, 2020. The website encourages existing users to download and use Microsoft To Do in its place. That’s tempting because it makes it easy to import all of those lists you’ve made over the years. Then again, maybe it’s a chance to Marie Kondo those lists and pare things down. Do you really need 30 lists? (Apparently, I’ve decided that I do, so I won’t judge.)

I have lists for all sorts of things, from “Plants for the garden 2020” to “Gifts for the husband.” Some are checklists, some are To Do lists, and some are lists for list’s sake.

For my husband and me, the most useful list is our shared grocery list. We both have the app on our phones, we both add things to the list, we review it together but separately on our phones before he goes shopping (yes, you read that correctly), and he checks things off as he puts them in the cart. It makes the whole thing surprisingly efficient, and I think we save some money because we’re into sticking to THE LIST.

While its users loved it, Wunderlist isn’t entirely unique. There are a gazillion list apps out there. With Wunderlist, I’ve specifically enjoyed its combination of simplicity and design, and that it managed to implement useful features like sharing and collaboration with others, dynamics checkboxes for lists, and a great user experience across both mobile and web interfaces. I’ve also enjoyed using it for a list that isn’t an “active” document: a list I don’t review weekly or make regular progress on—like my many lists I’ve used for brainstorming an idea (including that novel I’ve been meaning to write…).

From the many wonderful articles we’ve published over the years, I’ve curated a list of open source alternatives to Wunderlist that may work for your needs, from simple task management and to-do lists to complex note-taking and process management. Or, if you are that person scribbling tasks and notes on paper scraps and post-it notes that are lying… er, around somewhere and everywhere… this might be a good time to try one of these digital options out.

Tasks—works with OwnCloud

Tasks is a free and open source app you can install from F-droid. Tasks is a mobile-only application, but it’s extremely flexible in what it can sync to. You can save your lists to NextCloud or OwnCloud, Google Tasks, Apple Reminders, and just about any CalDAV server you have an account on.

The default view of Tasks is a daily view, so any task you enter is assumed to be a task from today onward. If you’re like me and you want to maintain several unique lists, you can do that with Tags. When you create a tag, you create a category for tasks. You can assign a colour and an icon so each list of tasks is unique.

It takes a little getting used to, but tagging has many advantages. Because all tasks are tagged, you can view groups of tasks by clicking the tag you want to filter for, but you can also filter by day and even by place. That means that when you go grocery shopping, your grocery list becomes the active default list, and your everyday life list becomes active again when you return home.

By syncing your data to one of your online accounts, you can share lists with loved ones, collaborators, and colleagues.

Another great feature is that if you the same tasks every morning when you get to work, or the same 20 items in your weekly grocery list, you can create tasks that repeat on a regular basis.

Reviewed by Seth Kenlon

Screenshot of Tasks interface

OpenTasks—best for long lists

OpenTasks is an excellent task management tool for creating individual tasks with a wide variety of settings. It supports a wide range of fields when creating a task, ranging from basic things, such as name and description, to more complex items, such as choosing if the task is private, public, or confidential. The biggest thing that sets OpenTasks apart from the alternatives is its use of tabs on the app’s main screen. These tabs quickly allow you to see the tasks due, tasks starting soon, tasks sorted by priority, and tasks sorted by current progress towards completion. Many of the other apps support doing things like these, but OpenTasks quickly easily accesses these lists.

Read the full OpenTasks review by Joshua Allen Holm

OpenTasks in Google Play store

Mirakel—great for nested lists

Mirakel is a task management app with a modern user interface and support for just about every format you might want in such a program. At Mirakel’s basic level, it supports multiple lists, which are referred to as “meta lists.” Creating an individual task has a plethora of options with deadlines, reminders, progress tracking, tags, notes, sub-tasks, and file attachments, all comprising a part of a task’s entry.

Read the full Mirakel review by Joshua Allen Holm

Screenshot from website of Mirakel app

Todo—simple and effective, works anywhere

Todo.txt is one of the two to-do list and task management apps that I keep coming back to over and over again (the other is Org mode). And what keeps me coming back is that it is simple, portable, understandable, and has many great add-ons that don’t break it if one machine has them and the others don’t. And since it is a Bash shell script, I have never found a system that cannot support it. Read more about how to install and use Todo.txt.

Read the full todo.txt review by Kevin Sonney

Drop-down menu for Todo.txt

Joplin—best for private lists

Joplin is a NodeJS application that runs and stores information locally, allows you to encrypt your tasks and supports multiple sync methods. Joplin can run as a console or graphical application on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Joplin also has mobile apps for Android and iOS, meaning you can take your notes with you without a major hassle. Joplin even allows you to format your notes with Markdown, HTML, or plain text.

Read the full Joplin review by Kevin Sonney

Joplin graphical version

CherryTree—great alternative to Evernote / OneNote / Keep

CherryTree is a GPLv3-licensed application that organizes information in nodes. Each node can have child nodes, allowing you to easily organize your lists and thoughts. And, child nodes can have their own children with independent properties.

Read the full CherryTree review by Ben Cotton

CherryTree's hierarchical note layout

Bonus: Wekan—for fans of Kanban

Kanban boards are a mainstay of today’s agile processes. And many of us (myself included) use them to organize not just our work but also our personal lives. I know several artists who use apps like Trello to keep track of their commission lists as well as what’s in progress and what’s complete. But these apps are often linked to a work account or a commercial service. Enter Wekan, an open source kanban board you can run locally or on the service of your choice. Wekan offers much of the same functionality as other Kanban apps, such as creating boards, lists, swimlanes, and cards, dragging and dropping between lists, assigning to users, labeling cards, and doing pretty much everything else you’d expect in a modern kanban board.

Read the full Wekan review by Kevin Sonney

Wekan kanban board

SO Planning

Simple Online Planning

SO Planning is a Simple Online Planning tool. Allows you to plan working periods for each person of your team, in a visual / printable result. Shows a line by person and the corresponding working days.Who does what, when and on what project?SOPlanning is an online planning tool, designed to efficiently organize projects and tasks.Assign work for each member of your teams, regardless of your field of activity.The keys to the tool: a list of projects, a list of users, and tasks assigned to the various projects, all online on the web and in complete security.SO Planning allows you to have real staff management on the internet via your computer or your phone. You can work by department, and organize your project very simply. The management of schedules within several teams is thus facilitated, a global dashboard helps you to visualize the complete schedule of your project.More details on our website : https://www.soplanning.org

Tasks is libre open-source software, based on the original source code from the popular Astrid Tasks & To Do List! Tasks is easy-to-use, feature-packed, flexible and customizable, and synchronizes with a variety of services. Best of all it contains no advertisements and respects your privacy!

• Synchronize with Google Tasks, DAVx⁵, CalDAV, EteSync, DecSync CC, or use completely offline
• Nested, collapsible, unlimited depth subtasks
• Drag and drop manual sorting, compatible with Nextcloud Tasks and Apple Reminders
• Powerful repeating task options
• End-to-end encryption with EteSync
• Share lists with other users when synchronizing with Tasks.org, Nextcloud/ownCloud, EteSync, or sabre/dav
• Location-based arrival and departure notifications
• List, tag, filter, and search your tasks
• Organize your tasks by location
• Highly customizable widget
• Customize your lists with icons and colors
• Automatic backups to internal storage, Google Drive, and the Android Backup Service
• Hide tasks until their start date
• Automatically add tasks to your calendar
• Create new tasks and list reminders with Tasker
• And much more!

Tasks respects your privacy!
• No advertisements
• No ad or location tracking
• Opt-out of crash reporting and anonymous statistics

For questions or support:
• View documentation at https://tasks.org
• Visit r/tasks on Reddit
• Join #tasks on Freenode
• Follow @tasks_org on Twitter
• Email [email protected]

Updated on

Nov 26, 2022


Written by Jane