Use a Unicode Text Trick to Make Lists with Checkboxes

Why bother with complicated webapps when you just want to make a simple list? With a few handy Unicode characters, you can make a visually appealing and easy-to-skim list with plain text!

The Unicode symbols that you’ll want to copy and paste are:

☐ ☑ ☒

Their meanings can change depending on the context, but for almost any list that we can think of, these symbols convey all the information you need with just one character.

Now, rather than signing up for that new todo list webapp, just open up a text file and copy in this template.

☐ todo ☑ completed ☒ postponed

☐ Item
☐ Subitem
☑ Completed item
☒ Postponed item

Which results in a nice looking list that took no time at all to set up.

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You can then copy this into an email without having to worry at all about formatting.

Since this is plain text, there are some other neat things that you can do. If your text editor supports it, you can easily highlight all of your “todo” items.

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You can even search for one of the Unicode characters to quickly skim through all of a certain type of item.

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Another great use for this trick is in tracking attendees for events that don’t warrant the full Facebook event treatment.

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We’re sure there are other geeky uses for these handy unicode characters. If you have one, let us know in the comments!

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.