Tracking appointments and tasks with Task Coach

Convenient Scheduler

Article from Issue 172/2015

The legacy handwritten diary has outlived its usefulness. Task Coach helps you organize your tasks and appointments.

Effective time management is important not just to individuals; freelancers and service providers who bill clients for their time can't survive without it. Task Coach offers a one-stop tailored solution for all user groups.


The Task Coach program package, which weighs in at approximately 7MB and has made its way into only a few software repositories, is available in precompiled versions for various distributions or as source code [1]. Before installation, make sure the packages for Python version 2.6 or newer and wxPython version 2.8.9 are already in place on your system. Then you can easily install the latest version of the software on your hard disk using your package manager. The routine creates a program launcher in the Office submenu.

First Impressions

Upon launching, the software comes up with a neat, but not very intuitive, window: Two list displays called Tasks and Categories provide an overview of the upcoming and completed tasks. A simple button bar and a menubar are arranged above them. At the bottom of the screen is a status bar. The two lists (additionally integrated as separate windows in the program area) also have their own little button bars at the top that can enable context-sensitive basic functions without needing to access the menus (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The main window in Task Coach, showing some appointments, looks neat and tidy.

An initial look at what is sometimes a complex submenu structure shows that the functionality of the program goes far beyond a simple to-do list manager. For example, you can define hierarchical task trees and create several categories. Additionally, the software offers import and export functions for standard file formats, thus supporting an exchange with other platforms such as smartphones.


To adapt the software to your individual needs, your first stop has to be the extensive setup menu, which you can access in Edit | Preferences. The individual dialogs are grouped in different tabs here. The Window behavior, Files, and Language tabs are primarily concerned with the basic configuration of the program, and the Task dates, Task reminders, Task appearance, and Features tabs contain detailed settings for appointment calendars and appointment management.

You will find the basic options for your appointment calendar in the Features tab. As a first step, you can specify the weekday on which your work week begins and the hours that you work. Work periods must start and end on the hour. Next, go to the Minutes between suggested times selection field, and specify the intervals in which the calendar is managed. By default, this value is 15 minutes; this means that the software suggests times at intervals of 15 minutes.

The Task appearance tab is used to enhance visibility for complex schedules. Here you can specify the background and foreground colors in which you want to display the various status indicators. Using additional symbols and different font colors also helps you see the status of a particular task at a glance.

In the Task reminders tab, you can specify the intervals at which the program will remind you of scheduled appointments. Many time intervals are enabled here. You can disable unnecessary reminders by unchecking the matching boxes. If you want to be reminded of appointments by voice output, check the Let the computer say the reminder option (Figure 2). However, check first whether the espeak package was installed from your distribution's software repository, because it is required for voice output.

Figure 2: Task Coach automatically reminds you about impending tasks – using speech output if so desired.

In the Task dates tab, you can specify which default date and which preset times the software uses for appointment scheduling. This setting can be changed by modifying the selection boxes on the right in the Preferences window, but the initial settings are useful for most users. In the selection field Number of hours that tasks are considered to be 'due soon', you can set how many hours before the due date of a task you want to be warned by Task Coach. You can even enter several hundred hours as the value here.

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