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5.1 Basic TODO Functionality

Any headline becomes a TODO item when it starts with the word ‘TODO’, for example:

*** TODO Write letter to Sam Fortune

The most important commands to work with TODO entries are:

C-c C-t

Rotate the TODO state of the current item among

,-> (unmarked) -> TODO -> DONE --.

The same rotation can also be done “remotely” from the agenda buffer with the t command key (see Commands in the Agenda Buffer).


Select the following/preceding TODO state, similar to cycling.

C-c / t

View TODO items in a sparse tree (see Sparse Trees). Folds the entire buffer, but shows all TODO items—with not-DONE state—and the headings hierarchy above them.

M-x org-agenda t

Show the global TODO list. Collects the TODO items (with not-DONE states) from all agenda files (see Agenda Views) into a single buffer. See The Global TODO List, for more information.


Insert a new TODO entry below the current one.

Changing a TODO state can also trigger tag changes. See the docstring of the option org-todo-state-tags-triggers for details.