Why can’t I use an ampersand (&) in Todoist?

todoist ampersand
Photo by Mark Wieder on Unsplash

If you’ve not come across it, Todoist is a productivity app with an emphasis on organisation. Personally, I couldn’t do without it. If you don’t need to do much with it, or just want to try it out, then it’s free.

I recently went to add a new project (projects are like folders, where you can group similar things together) and wanted to add an ampersand in the title. When saved it turned to an underscore. This was odd as, elsewhere on my list, was a project with an ampersand happily nestling in its title.

I contacted Todoist and they confirmed that the ampersand is no longer allowed.

Why can’t I use the ampersand?

The ampersand can be used when creating filters, and indicates a boolean “and”. Indeed, many “special characters” are used by Todoist for other things – e.g. the @ symbol is used when referring to tags. To ensure consistency, avoid confusion and, possibly more crucially, prevent them from causing technical problems, Todoist have stopped these characters from being used in project, label and section names.

Which characters can’t I use?

/ ” ( ) | & ! ,

In all cases, these will be replaced with an underscore, once saved ( _ ).

Why do I have one of these characters in my existing names?

Todoist is validating these names when you save them, so existing use is unaffected. However, if you try and change the name, the invalid character will be changed.

Is there a way to add an ampersand to a name?

We hate long titles, I get it. I’m the same. So when I wanted to add “Home & Garden” to my category list I ended up with “Home _ Garden”. However, there is an answer to this.

There is an emoji for ampersand, and you can use this in Todoist without issue (it just looks slightly different). So, this then appears as “Home ﹠ Garden”. The same applies for some of the other characters too.

READ NEXT: Todoist review: the replacement for Wunderlist?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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