In contrast to most calendar/todo applications, creating items (events, tasks, and so forth) in etm does not require filling out fields in a form. Instead, items are created as free-form text entries using a simple, intuitive format and stored in plain text files.

Dates in the examples below are entered using fuzzy parsing - e.g., +7 for seven days from today, fri for the first Friday on or after today, +1/1 for the first day of next month, sun - 6d for Monday of the current week. See Dates for details.

Sample entries

  • A sales meeting (an event) [s]tarting seven days from today at 9:00am with an [e]xtent of one hour and a default [a]lert 5 minutes before the start:

    * sales meeting @s +7 9a @e 1h @a 5
  • The sales meeting with another [a]lert 2 days before the meeting to (e)mail a reminder to a list of recipients:

    * sales meeting @s +7 9a @e 1h @a 5
      @a 2d: e; who@when.com, what@where.org
  • Prepare a report (a task) for the sales meeting [b]eginning 3 days early:

    - prepare report @s +7 @b 3
  • A period [e]xtending 35 minutes (an action) spent working on the report yesterday:

    ~ report preparation @s -1 @e 35
  • Get a haircut (a task) on the 24th of the current month and then [r]epeatedly at (d)aily [i]ntervals of (14) days and, [o]n completion, (r)estart from the completion date:

    - get haircut @s 24 @r d &i 14 @o r
  • Payday (an occasion) on the last week day of each month. The &s -1 part of the entry extracts the last date which is both a weekday and falls within the last three days of the month):

    ^ payday @s 1/1 @r m &w MO, TU, WE, TH, FR
      &m -1, -2, -3 &s -1
  • Take a prescribed medication daily (a reminder) [s]tarting today and [r]epeating (d)aily at [h]ours 10am, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm [u]ntil (12am on) the fourth day from today. Trigger the default [a]lert zero minutes before each reminder:

    * take Rx @s +0 @r d &h 10, 14, 18, 22 &u +4 @a 0
  • Move the water sprinkler (a reminder) every thirty mi[n]utes on Sunday afternoons using the default alert zero minutes before each reminder:

    * Move sprinkler @s 1 @r n &i 30 &w SU &h 14, 15, 16, 17 @a 0

    To limit the sprinkler movement reminders to the [M]onths of April through September each year append &M 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 to the @r entry.

  • Grandparent’s day (an occasion) each year on the first Sunday in September after Labor day:

    ^ Grandparent's Day @s 2012-09-01
      @r y &M 9 &w SU &m 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
  • Presidential election day (an occasion) every four years on the first Tuesday after a Monday in November:

    ^ Presidential Election Day @s 2012-11-06
      @r y &i 4 &M 11 &w TU &m 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Join the etm discussion group (a task) [s]tarting 14 days from today. Because of the @g (goto) link, pressing G when this item is selected in the gui would open the link using the system default application which, in this case, would be your default browser:

    - join the etm discussion group @s +14
      @g groups.google.com/group/eventandtaskmanager/topics

Starting etm

To start the etm GUI open a terminal window and enter etm at the prompt:

$ etm

If you have not done a system installation of etm you will need first to cd to the directory where you unpacked etm.

Note: if you change the window size and/or position of the etm window on your display and quit etm from the etm file menu, then the closing size and position will be restored when you restart etm.

You can add a command to use the CLI instead of the GUI. For example, to get the complete command line usage information printed to the terminal window just add a question mark:

$ etm ?

    etm [logging level] [path] [?] [acmsv]

With no arguments, etm will set logging level 3 (warn), use settings from
the configuration file ~/.etm/etmtk.cfg, and open the GUI.

If the first argument is an integer not less than 1 (debug) and not greater
than 5 (critical), then set that logging level and remove the argument.

If the first (remaining) argument is the path to a directory that contains
a file named etmtk.cfg, then use that configuration file and remove the

If the first (remaining) argument is one of the commands listed below, then
execute the remaining arguments without opening the GUI.

    a ARG   display the agenda view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    c ARGS  display a custom view using the remaining arguments as the
            specification. (Enclose ARGS in single quotes to prevent shell
    d ARG   display the day view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    k ARG   display the keywords view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    m INT   display a custom view using the remaining argument, which
            must be a positive integer, to display a custom view using the
            corresponding entry from the file given by report_specifications
            in etmtk.cfg.
            Use ? m to display the numbered list of entries from this file.
    n ARG   display the notes view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    N ARGS  Create a new item using the remaining arguments as the item
            specification. (Enclose ARGS in single quotes to prevent shell
    p ARG   display the path view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    t ARG   display the tags view using ARG, if given, as a filter.
    v       display information about etm and the operating system.
    ? ARG   display (this) command line help information if ARGS = '' or,
            if ARGS = X where X is one of the above commands, then display
            details about command X. 'X ?' is equivalent to '? X'.

For example, you can print your agenda to the terminal window by adding the letter “a”:

$ etm a
  > set up luncheon meeting with Joe Smith           4d
  * test command line event                      3pm ~ 4pm
  * Aerobics                                     5pm ~ 6pm
  - follow up with Mary Jones
    - Hair cut                                      -1d
    - milk and eggs
    - reservation for Saturday dinner
  ? lose weight and exercise more

You can filter the output by adding a (case-insensitive) argument:

$ etm a hair
    - Hair cut                                      -1d

or etm d mar .*2014 to show your items for March, 2014.

You can add a question mark to a command to get details about the commmand, e.g.:


    etm c <type> <groupby> [options]

Generate a custom view where type is either 'a' (action) or 'c' (composite).
Groupby can include *semicolon* separated date specifications and
elements from:
    c context
    f file path
    k keyword
    t tag
    u user

A *date specification* is either
    w:   week number
or a combination of one or more of the following:
    yy:   2-digit year
    yyyy:   4-digit year
    MM:   month: 01 - 12
    MMM:   locale specific abbreviated month name: Jan - Dec
    MMMM:   locale specific month name: January - December
    dd:   month day: 01 - 31
    ddd:   locale specific abbreviated week day: Mon - Sun
    dddd:   locale specific week day: Monday - Sunday

Options include:
    -b begin date
    -c context regex
    -d depth (CLI type a only)
    -e end date
    -f file regex
    -k keyword regex
    -l location regex
    -o omit (type c only)
    -s summary regex
    -S search regex
    -t tags regex
    -u user regex
    -w column 1 width
    -W column 2 width


    etm c 'c ddd, MMM dd yyyy -b 1 -e +1/1'

Note: The CLI offers the same views and reporting, with the exception of week and month view, as the GUI. It is also possible to create new items in the CLI with the n command. Other modifications such as copying, deleting, finishing and so forth, can only be done in the GUI or, perhaps, in your favorite text editor. An advantage to using the GUI is that it provides auto-completion and validation.

Tip: If you have a terminal open, you can create a new item or put something to finish later in your inbox quickly and easily with the “N” command. For example,

etm N '123 456-7890'

would create an entry in your inbox with this phone number. (With no type character an “$” would be supplied automatically to make the item an inbox entry and no further validation would be done.)


All views display only items consistent with the current choices of active calendars. Click the settings icon on the left side of the top menu bar to choose active calendars.

Week and month views have three panes. The top one displays a graphic illustration of scheduled times for the relevant period, the middle one displays an tree view of items grouped by date and the bottom one displays detail information. Custom view also has three panes but the top one is an entry area for providing the specification for the custom view. All other views have two panes - a tree view in the top pane and details in the bottom pane.

If a (case-insensitive) filter is entered then the display in the tree view will be limited to items that match somewhere in either the branch or the leaf. Relevant branches will automatically be expanded to show matches.

In week and month views, Home selects the current date. In all views other than week and month, Home selects the first item in the tree pane.

In all views, pressing Return with an item selected will open a context menu with options to copy, delete, edit and so forth.

In all views, clicking in the details panel with an item selected will open the item for editing if it is not repeating and otherwise prompt for the instance(s) to be changed.

In all views, pressing O will open a dialog to choose the outline depth. Pressing L will toggle the display of a column displaying item labels where, for example, an item with @a, @d and @u fields would have the label “adu”. Pressing S will show a text verion of the current display suitable for copy and paste. The text version will respect the current outline depth in the view.

In custom view it is possible to export the current view in either text or CSV (comma separated values) format to a file of your choosing.

Note. In custom view you need to move the focus from the view specification entry field in order for the shortcuts O, L and S to work.

In all views:

  • if an item is selected:
    • pressing Shift-H will show a history of changes for the file containing the selected item, first prompting for the number of changes.
    • pressing Shift-X will export the selected item in iCal format.
  • if an item is not selected:
    • pressing Shift-H will show a history of changes for all files, first prompting for the number of changes.
    • pressing Shift-X will export all items in active calendars in iCal format.

Agenda View

What you need to know now beginning with your schedule for the next few days and followed by items in these groups:

  • In basket: In basket items and items with missing types or other errors.
  • Now: All scheduled (dated) tasks whose due dates have passed including delegated tasks and waiting tasks (tasks with unfinished prerequisites) grouped by available, delegated and waiting and, within each group, by the due date.
  • Next: All unscheduled (undated) tasks grouped by context (home, office, phone, computer, errands and so forth) and sorted by priority and extent. These tasks correspond to GTD’s next actions. These are tasks which don’t really have a deadline and can be completed whenever a convenient opportunity arises. Check this view, for example, before you leave to run errands for opportunities to clear other errands.
  • Someday: Someday (maybe) items for periodic review.

Note: Finished tasks, actions and notes are not displayed in this view.

Week and Month Views

These views only differ in whether the graphic in the top pane describes a week or a month. All dated items appear in the middle, tree pane in these view, grouped by date and sorted by starting time and item type. Displayed items include:

  • All non-repeating, dated items.
  • All repetitions of repeating items with a finite number of repetitions. This includes ‘list-only’ repeating items and items with &u (until) or &t (total number of repetitions) entries.
  • For repeating items with an infinite number of repetitions, those repetitions that occur within the first weeks_after weeks after the current week are displayed along with the first repetition after this interval. This assures that at least one repetition will be displayed for infrequently repeating items such as voting for president.

The graphic display in the top pane has a square cell for each week/month date. Within this cell, scheduled, busy times are indicated by segments of a square busy border that surrounds the date. This border can be regarded as a 24-hour clock face that proceeds clockwise from 12am at the lower, left-hand corner with 6 hour segments for each side: 12am - 6am moving upward on the left side, 6am - 12pm moving rightward along the top, 12pm - 6pm moving downward along the right side and, finally, 6pm - 12pm moving leftward along the bottom. When nothing is scheduled for a date, the border is blank. When only one event is scheduled for a date, say from 9am until 3pm, then the border would be colored from the middle of the top side (9am) around the top, right-hand corner and downward to the middle of the right side (3pm). When other periods are scheduled, corresponding portions of the border would be colored. If two or more scheduled periods overlap, then a small, red box appears in the lower, left-hand corner of the border to warn of the conflict.

When the top pane has the focus, the left/right cursor keys move to the previous/subsequent week or month and the up/down cursor keys move to the previous/subsequent date. Either Home or Space moves the display to the current date. Pressing J will first prompt for a fuzzy-parsed date and then “jump” to the specified date. Whenever a date is selected in the top pane, the date tree in the middle pane is scrolled, if necessary, to display the selected date first. Whenever a date is selected in either week or month view, the same date is automatically becomes the selection in the other view as well.

Note: If a date is selected for which no items are scheduled, then the last date with scheduled items on or before the selected date will become the selected date in the middle, tree pane.

Tip: Want to see your next appointment with Dr. Jones? Switch to day view and enter “jones” in the filter.

Tip. You can display a list of busy times or, after providing the needed period in minutes, a list of free times that would accommodate the requirement within the selected week/month. Both options are in the View menu.

Week View

Events and occasions displayed graphically by week with one column for each day. Left and right cursor keys change, respectively, to the previous and next week. Up and down cursor keys select, respectively, the previous and next items within the given week. Items can also be selected by moving the mouse over the item. The details for the selected item are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Pressing return with an item selected or double-clicking an item opens a context menu. Control-clicking an unscheduled time opens a dialog to create an event for that date and time.

Month View

Events and occasions displayed graphically by month. Left and right cursor keys change, respectively, to the previous and next month. Up and down cursor keys select, respectively, the previous and next days within the given month. Days can also be selected by moving the mouse over the item. A list of occasions and events for the selected day is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Double clicking a date or pressing Return with a date selected opens a dialog to create an item for that date.

The current date and days with occasions are highlighted.

Tip. You can display a list of busy times or, after providing the needed period in minutes, a list of free times that would accommodate the requirement within the selected month. Both options are in the View menu.

Tag View

All items with tag entries grouped by tag and sorted by type and relevant datetime. Note that items with multiple tags will be listed under each tag.

Tip: Use the filter to limit the display to items with a particular tag.

Keyword View

All items grouped by keyword and sorted by type and relevant datetime.

Path View

All items grouped by file path and sorted by type and relevant datetime. Use this view to review the status of your projects.

The relevant datetime is the past due date for any past due task, the starting datetime for any non-repeating item and the datetime of the next instance for any repeating item.

Note: Items that you have “commented out” by beginning the item with a # will only be visible in this view.

Note View

All notes grouped and sorted by keyword and summary.


Design your own view. See Custom view for details.

Creating New Items

Items of any type can be created by pressing N in the GUI and then providing the details for the item in the resulting dialog.

An event can also be created by double-clicking in a date cell in either Week or Month View - the corresponding date will be entered as the starting date when the dialog opens.

When editing an item, clicking on Finish or pressing Shift-Return will validate your entry. If there are errors, they will be displayed and you can return to the editor to correct them. If there are no errors, this will be indicated in a dialog, e.g.,

Task scheduled for Tue Jun 03

Save changes and exit?

Tip. When creating or editing a repeating item, pressing Finish will also display a list of instances that will be generated.

Click on Ok or press Return or Shift-Return to save the item and close the editor. Click on Cancel or press Escape to return to the editor.

If this is a new item and there are no errors, clicking on Ok or pressing Return will open a dialog to select the file to store the item with the current monthly file already selected. Pressing Shift-Return will bypass the file selection dialog and save to the current monthly file.

Editing Existing Items

Double-clicking an item or pressing Return when an item is selected will open a context menu of possible actions:

  • Copy
  • Delete
  • Edit
  • Edit file
  • Finish (unfinished tasks only)
  • Reschedule
  • Schedule new
  • Klone as timer
  • Open link (items with @g entries only)
  • Show user details (items with @u entries only)

When either Copy or Edit is chosen for a repeating item, you can further choose:

  1. this instance
  2. this and all subsequent instances
  3. all instances

When Delete is chosen for a repeating item, a further choice is available:

  1. all previous instances

Tip: Use Reschedule to enter a date for an undated item or to change the scheduled date for the item or the selected instance of a repeating item. All you have to do is enter the new (fuzzy parsed) datetime.


countdown timer

To start a countdown timer press z, change the default number of minutes if necessary and press Return. The time that the timer will expire will be displayed in the status bar with a - prefix.

If countdown_command is given in etmtk.cfg, then it will be executed when the timer expires and the countdown message dialog will appear with the last chosen number of minutes as the default. You can either press Return to start another countdown or press Escape to cancel. If activated, the time that the countdown timer will expire will be displayed in the status bar.

snooze timer

When the last alert of type m (message) is triggered for an item, the alert dialog that is displayed offers the option of snoozing, i.e., repeating the alert after a number of minutes you choose. If activated, the alert corresponding to snooze timer can be displayed along with any other remaining alerts using Tools/Show remaining alerts.

If snooze_command is given in etmtk.cfg, then it will be executed when the snooze timer expires and the alert message dialog will appear with the last chosen number of minutes as the default. You can either press Return to snooze again or press Escape to cancel.

action timer

For people who bill their time or just like to keep track of how they spend their time, etm allows you to create an action by pressing T to start a timer. You will see an entry area with a list of any existing timers below. As you enter characters in the entry area, the list below will shrink to those whose beginnings match the characters you’ve entered. You can either select a timer from the list to start that timer or enter new name in the entry area to create and start a new timer. If a timer is running, it will automatically be paused when you start a new timer or switch to another timer.

Tip. Devoting time to two different clients this morning? Create two timers, one for each client and just switch back and forth using T when you switch from one client to the other. The timers are ordered in the list so that the most recently paused will be at the top.

While a timer is selected, the name, elapsed time and status - running or paused - is displayed in the status bar along with the number of active timers in parentheses. Pressing I toggles the timer between running and paused. You can configure etm’s options to, for example, play one sound at intervals when a timer is running and another sound when the selected timer is paused and you can also specify the length of the interval and the volume.

When one or more timers are active and none are running, idle time is accumulated and displayed, by default, in the status bar. The idle time display can be toggled on and off and accumulated idle time can be reset to zero. It is also possible to transfer minutes from accumulated idle time to the current action timer.

When you have one or more active timers, you can press Shift-T to select one to finish. The selected timer will be paused if it is running and you will be presented with an entry area to create a new action with the following details already filled in: ~ timer name @s starting datetime @e elapsed time. You can edit this entry in any way you like and then save it. When you do so, this timer will be removed from your list of active timers. You can also press Shift-I to select a timer to delete. Any accumulated time for the selected timer will be added to the accumulated idle time and the timer will be removed from the list of active timers.

It is also possible to start a timer by selecting an event, note, task or whatever, from one of etm‘s Views and then choosing Item/Klone as timer from the menu or pressing K. A start timer dialog will be opened with the summary of the item you selected as the name together with any @-keys from the selected item that are listed in action_keys in your etmtk.cfg. You can edit this entry if you like or just press Return to accept it and start the timer. If you already have an active timer with this name, it will be restarted. Otherwise a new timer will be created and started.

Tip. Suppose you have a client, John Smith, and will be doing some work for him this morning relating to the project “Motion”. If you don’t already have a task relating to this begin by creating one for today, June 16, 2015, by pressing N and entering

- work @k SmithJohn:Motion @s +0

The first activity related to this task involves a phone call to Sally. Select the task you just created and then press K to start a timer. Change work to call Sally and press Return to start the timer. When you’ve finished the call, press I to pause the timer. Based on this phone conversation, you decide the next activity should be to review Local Rule 4567, so once again select the task, press K and then change work to review Local Rule 4567 and press Return to start this timer. When you’re done, once again press I to pause this timer. You can repeat this process as often as you like. If you need to spend more time on 4567, press T and select it from the list of timers. When you’re done, you can press Shift-T to select a timer from the list and finish it. Selecting the “call Sally” timer would produce an entry for the new action something like the following

~ call Sally @k SmithJohn:Motion @s 2015-06-16 9:27am @e 12m

You can edit this action if you like, but it is already set up to bill 12 minutes to the “Motion” project for client “John Smith” for an activity labeled “call Sally” and will appear as such in reports you generate for this period, so you can just save it as it is. Do the same with your other timers and you will have a complete record of time spent by client, project and activity for the day.

The state of your active timers is saved whenever you quit etm using by choosing Quit from the file menu or using the shortcut so that whenever you restart etm on the same day, the active timers will be restored.

If etm is running when a new day begins (midnight local time) or if you stop etm and start it again on a later date, in-basket entries for each of your active timers will be created in the relevant monthly file. These entries will be exactly the same as if you had finished each of the timers save for the use of $ (in basket) rather than ~ (action) as the type character. You can edit or delete these as you wish. If a timer is selected (displayed in the status bar), then a new timer with the same name will be created for the new date but with zero elapsed time. If the timer was running at midnight, then the new timer will also be running. Idle time will automatically be reset to zero.

Sharing with other calendar applications

Both export and import are supported for files in iCalendar format in ways that depend upon settings in etmtk.cfg.

If an absolute path is entered for current_icsfolder, for example, then .ics files corresponding to the entries in calendars will be created in this folder and updated as necessary. If there are no entries in calendars, then a single file, all.ics, will be created in this folder and updated as necessary.

If an item is selected, then pressing Shift-X in the gui will export the selected item in iCalendar format to icsitem_file. If an item is not selected, pressing Shift-X will export the active calendars in iCalendar format to icscal_file.

If icssync_folder is given, then files in this folder with the extension .txt and .ics will automatically kept concurrent using export to iCalendar and import from iCalendar. I.e., if the .txt file is more recent than than the .ics then the .txt file will be exported to the .ics file. On the other hand, if the .ics file is more recent then it will be imported to the .txt file. In either case, the contents of the file to be updated will be overwritten with the new content and the last acess/modified times for both will be set to the current time.

If ics_subscriptions is given, it should be a list of [URL, FILE] tuples. The URL is a calendar subscription, e.g., for a Google Calendar subscription the URL, FILE tuple would be something like:

['https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/.../basic.ics', 'personal/google.txt']

With this entry, pressing Shift-M in the gui would import the calendar from the URL, convert it from ics to etm format and then write the result to personal/google.txt in the etm data directory. Note that this data file should be regarded as read-only since any changes made to it will be lost with the next subscription update.

Finally, when creating a new item in the etm editor, you can paste an iCalendar entry such as the following VEVENT:

PRODID:-//ForeTees//NONSGML v1.0//EN
SUMMARY:8:00 AM Tennis Reservation
LOCATION:Governors Club
DESCRIPTION: Player 1: ...


When you press Finish, the entry will be converted to etm format

^ 8:00 AM Tennis Reservation @s 2014-06-30 8am
@d Player 1: ...
@z US/Eastern

and you can choose the file to hold it.

The following etm and iCalendar item types are supported:

  • export from etm:
    • occasion to VEVENT without end time
    • event (with or without extent) to VEVENT
    • action to VJOURNAL
    • note to VJOURNAL
    • task to VTODO
    • delegated task to VTODO
    • task group to VTODO (one for each job)
  • import from iCalendar
    • VEVENT without end time to occasion
    • VEVENT with end time to event
    • VJOURNAL to note
    • VTODO to task


Date and time calculator

Enter an expression of the form x [+-] y where x is a date and y is either a date or a time period if - is used and a time period if + is used. Both x and y can be followed by timezones, e.g.,

4/20 6:15p US/Central - 4/20 4:50p Asia/Shanghai:



4/20 4:50p Asia/Shanghai + 14h25m US/Central:

2014-04-20 18:15-0500

Fuzzy dates (other than relative date expressions using + or -) can be used to specify date entries. The local timezone is assumed when none is given.

Available dates calculator

Need to see a list of possible dates for a meeting? Get a list of busy dates from each of the members of the group and then use an expression of the form

start; end; busy

where start and end are dates and busy is a comma separated list of the busy dates or intervals for the members. E.g., if your group needs to meet between 6/1 and 6/30 and the members indicate that they cannot meet on 6/2, 6/14-6/22, 6/5-6/9, 6/11-6/15 or 6/17-6/29, then entering

6/1; 6/30; 6/2, 6/14-6/22, 6/5-6/9, 6/11-6/15, 6/17-6/29

would give:

Sun Jun 01
Tue Jun 03
Wed Jun 04
Tue Jun 10
Mon Jun 30

as the possible dates for the meeting.

Yearly calendar

Gives a display such as

    January 2014           February 2014             March 2014
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
       1  2  3  4  5                    1  2                    1  2
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12     3  4  5  6  7  8  9     3  4  5  6  7  8  9
13 14 15 16 17 18 19    10 11 12 13 14 15 16    10 11 12 13 14 15 16
20 21 22 23 24 25 26    17 18 19 20 21 22 23    17 18 19 20 21 22 23
27 28 29 30 31          24 25 26 27 28          24 25 26 27 28 29 30

     April 2014               May 2014               June 2014
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    1  2  3  4  5  6              1  2  3  4                       1
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13     5  6  7  8  9 10 11     2  3  4  5  6  7  8
14 15 16 17 18 19 20    12 13 14 15 16 17 18     9 10 11 12 13 14 15
21 22 23 24 25 26 27    19 20 21 22 23 24 25    16 17 18 19 20 21 22
28 29 30                26 27 28 29 30 31       23 24 25 26 27 28 29

     July 2014              August 2014            September 2014
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    1  2  3  4  5  6                 1  2  3     1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 7  8  9 10 11 12 13     4  5  6  7  8  9 10     8  9 10 11 12 13 14
14 15 16 17 18 19 20    11 12 13 14 15 16 17    15 16 17 18 19 20 21
21 22 23 24 25 26 27    18 19 20 21 22 23 24    22 23 24 25 26 27 28
28 29 30 31             25 26 27 28 29 30 31    29 30

    October 2014           November 2014           December 2014
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su    Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
       1  2  3  4  5                    1  2     1  2  3  4  5  6  7
 6  7  8  9 10 11 12     3  4  5  6  7  8  9     8  9 10 11 12 13 14
13 14 15 16 17 18 19    10 11 12 13 14 15 16    15 16 17 18 19 20 21
20 21 22 23 24 25 26    17 18 19 20 21 22 23    22 23 24 25 26 27 28
27 28 29 30 31          24 25 26 27 28 29 30    29 30 31

Left and right cursor keys move backward and forward a year at a time, respectively, and pressing the Home key returns to the current year.

History of changes

This requires that either git or mercurial is installed. If an item is selected show a history of changes to the file that contains the item. Otherwise show a history of changes for all etm data files. In either case, choose an integer number of the most recent changes to show or choose 0 to show all changes.


etm supports using the directory structure in your data directory to create separate calendars. For example, my wife, erp, and I, dag, separate personal and shared items with this structure:

root etm data directory

Here, our etm configuration files are located in our home directories:


Both contain datadir entries specifying the common root data directory mentioned above with these additional entries, respectively:

In ~dag/.etm/etmtk.cfg:

- [dag, true, personal/dag]
- [erp, false, personal/erp]
- [shared, true, shared]

In ~erp/.etm/etmtk.cfg:

- [erp, true, personal/erp]
- [dag, false, personal/dag]
- [shared, true, shared]

Thus, by default, both dag and erp see the entries from their personal files as well as the shared entries and each can optionally view the entries from the other’s personal files as well. See the Preferences for details on the calendars entry.

Note for Windows users. The path separator needs to be “escaped” in the calendar paths, e.g., you should enter

- [dag, true, personal\\dag]

instead of

- [dag, true, personal\dag]

Data Organization

etm offers many ways of organizing your data. Perhaps, the most obvious is by path, i.e., the directory structure inside your data directory. Path View presents your data using this organization and, as noted above, calendars can be specified using this structure to allow you to choose quickly the calendars whose items will appear in other etm views as well.

The other hierarchical way of organizing your data uses the keywords you specify in your items. Keyword View presents your data using this organization. E.g.,

- my task @k A:B:C
- my other task

would appear in Keyword View as:

            - my task
~ none ~
    - my other task

There are no hard and fast rules about how to use these hierarchies but the goal is a system that makes complementary uses of path and keyword and fits your needs. As with any filing system, planning and consistency are paramount. For example, one pattern of use for a business might be to use folders for departments and people and keywords for client and project.

It is also possible to add one or more tags to items and use Tag View to see the resulting organization. For example

- item 1 @t red, white, blue
- item 2 @t red @t white
- item 3 @t white @t blue
- item 4 @t red, blue
- item 5 @t white

would appear in Tag View as

    - item 1
    - item 3
    - item 4
    - item 1
    - item 2
    - item 4
    - item 1
    - item 2
    - item 3
    - item 5

A final important way of organizing your data is provided by context. This is designed to support a GTD (Getting Things Done) common practice where possible contexts includes things like phone, errands, email and so forth. Undated tasks such as

- pick up milk @c errands
- call Saul @c phone
- confirm schedule with Bob @c email

would appear Agenda View as

        - confirm schedule with Bob
        - pick up milk
        - call Saul

When you are next checking email, running errands, using the phone or whatever, you can check Agenda View to see what else might be accomplished at the same time. Note that, unlike tags, items can have at most a single context.


Versions of etm after 3.1.39 support custom settings for both foreground (font) and background colors in the GUI. If a file named colors.cfg is found in the etm directory on startup, then the color settings in this file will override the default color settings. If this file is not found, then it will be created and populated with the default color settings. This file can be opened for editing in etm using File/Open/Configuration file from the main menu.

Example files for both dark and light backgrounds are available for download and customization. You can also download colors.py, set your preferred background color inside this script and then run it to see how the different font colors would appear against your chosen background. See also the setting for style under Preferences.


Versions of etm after 3.1.20 provide support for languages beyond English.

End User

If you, for example, are French and would like to use a version of etm in which menu items and standard phrases are French then you need to download the file fr_FR.mo either from GitHub locale or from etmtk languages and copy it to the following location in your etmdir:

<your etmdir>

creating the corresponding directory structure when necessary. Be sure to get the file with the .mo extension, not the one with the .po extension. Next you need to create a file named locale.cfg in your etmdir with the line:

[[fr_FR, UTF-8], QLocale.French, QLocale.France]

perhaps modifying UTF-8 to reflect your actual file encoding.

That’s it! When you next start etm, locale.cfg will be read, fr_FR will be set as the desired locale and, if it can be found in the specified directory, the translations in fr_FR.mo will be loaded. Now, e.g, instead of Agenda you will see Ordre du jour.


If you would like to assist in providing etm for a particular language, the process is pretty simple. You will need to download the program poedit. A free version is available for all major platforms.

In the etm source code, whenever a word or phrase appears that will be seen by the user, it is wrapped in a special format using _() so that, e.g., Agenda appears in the source code as _("Agenda"), Today as _("Today") and so forth.

When etm is being prepared for distribution a program called gettext is used to extract the _() entries from wherever they appear in the source and copy them to specially formatted file called etm.pot. This file can be then be used in the open-source program poedit to create a special translation files for different languages. This is how fr_FR.po was created, for example. Translation files are available from the above sources for French (fr_FR.po), German (de_DE.po), Spanish (es_ES.po) and Polish (pl_PL.mo). Alternatively, etm.pot is also available and you can use it to create whatever translation files you wish.

When a .po translation file is opened in poedit, two columns are displayed, the first lists the _() entries from the source code and the second lists the corresponding translation. E.g.,

Agenda          Ordre du jour
Today           Aujourd’hui

Initially, of course, the translation column is empty and it is the job of the translator to provide the translations. The pro version of poedit (~ $20) provides a third column with likely guesses about the appropriate translation. Most of the choices in fr_FR.po, in fact, came from accepting these best guesses since my knowledge of French is miniscule.

Whenever a .po file is saved in poedit, a compiled version with the extension .mo is automatically created. This compiled version is the one actually used by etm and the only file that an end user needs.

When an end user has followed the steps given above to enable support for a particular language, the actual translations will, of course be limited to those with “second column choices”. Extending the example above, suppose the translator has omitted some items

Agenda          Ordre du jour
Today           Aujourd’hui

Then whenever _("Agenda") appears in the source, it will effectively be replaced by "Ordre du jour" and whenever _("Yesterday") appears, it will be replaced by "Yesterday". I.e., when a translation is available, it will be used; otherwise, the original text will be used.

A translator can thus do as much or as little as he or she pleases and then send me the resulting .po file. I’ll replace the current on-line version with this updated version so the next translator can improve upon prior results.