Plaintext tools and utilities - Collecting an overview

After collecting possibilities to use vi-bindings everywhere some time ago, I’m going to start a new collection. This time I am looking for tools and utilities that are based on plain-text. Using plain-text as a data format brings several benefits with it. For example you can use standard tools for synchronisation, version control, diffing or encryption. This overview simply represents my current knowledge and beeing that said, I welcome every comment introducing new tools.

Password management


pass is a password manager where every entry lives in a gpg encrypted plain-text file. The organisation of these entries is achieved by using an appropriate directory structure. As the data structure is that simple, there are many tools building up on this. Many more tools can be found on the homepage.

Task management

Org mode

According to the homepage “Org mode is for keeping notes, maintaining TODO lists, planning projects, and authoring documents with a fast and effective plain-text system“. Some personal additions to that: Org mode was one of the main reasons I started using Emacs some years ago. And actually it still is. And meanwhile, there also exist a nice mobile app for handling org files. P.S.: I’m currently writing this article inside Org mode, too. (more on this)


Todo.txt is another task manager/tracker. It is based on a simple text file with a well defined structure. Therefore there are many tools and apps - available for nearly every platform. But basically all you need is a text editor.

Markdown-based tools

It’s not suprising that there are also a lot of task managers using markdown as text format. Examples are: Akiee, Cheddar or Checkvist

If you know other nice plain-text tools or utilities drop me a line in the comments - thanks!

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