Using Drafts as a Template Engine for Things

I have become obsessed with checklists since reading The Checklist Manifesto. Automating checklists is even better!

Here is a video explaining how I use Drafts to write, store, and revise my checklists (e.g., project templates) to use in Things.

Making This System Work For You

If you would like to implement this solution for yourself, you will need Drafts with a pro subscription and Things 3, both installed on the same device. You will also need both of Peter’s Drafts Actions installed.

Peter’s Drafts Actions

Learn Taskpaper

While Taskpaper is its own app, it has also generated a de facto standard for formatting projects and tasks in plain text.

You can learn more about the Taskpaper syntax in their guide.

4 replies
  1. Matthew
    Matthew says:

    Hi there Mike,

    This video was so helpful.

    Do you know of a way where a Drafts template can add a set of “to dos” (with their own checklists) to an existing project in Things 3?

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      Thanks Matthew, for your kind words; I am glad you found it useful!

      Great question about using this process on an existing project. I just tried to run through the process from this video twice while using the same project name to see if the tasks from the second run would be added to the first project. I hoped it would be a conflict-merging scenario, but no dice.

      But all is not lost!

      If I understand your question correctly, there is a different Drafts action that can add items to a specified project in Things. You would need to edit this action to identify the project you are targeting, so this would be useful if you have a long-term project that you will use this for.

      Unfortunately, it will only move the first line of the Draft over as an action; the rest of the lines will be a note for the action made by the first line.

      Because my scripting skills are limited, I would likely build a solution in Keyboard Maestro or ask for help on the Drafts Forum. There is an excellent community of very talented people over there!

      • Lou Plummer
        Lou Plummer says:

        There is a whole action group for Things in the Drafts Directory called Things for Things,
        With it you can create projects, assign items to certain areas etc. I watched your video on using Task Paper format with mustache prompt and the Things parser and spent the who afternoon yesterday making templates. Your work was incredibly useful and your instructional skills really shown through. Thanks yet again.

        • Mike
          Mike says:

          Thanks very much for your kind words and the resource share, Lou!

          I’ll take a look at that action group and see how it can fit into my workflow.

          Good luck templating!


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