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5.1 Using TODO states

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 -> (unmarked)

The same rotation can also be done “remotely” from the agenda buffers with the t command key (see Agenda commands).


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

C-c / t

View TODO items in a sparse tree (see Sparse trees). Folds the buffer, but shows all TODO items and the headings hierarchy above them.

C-c a t

Show the global TODO list. Collects the TODO items from all agenda files (see Agenda Views) into a single buffer. See 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.