Todoist with Keyboard Navigation via Nativefier

My MacBook Pro displaying "TODOIST"

Todoist is a powerful task manager. It offers a MacOS Application that provides a desktop experience and a dedicated quick task adding feature. I am a poweruser of the keyboard (i.e., I use Vimium in Chrome), and my big issue is that Todoist doesn’t offer strong keyboard navigation. Fortunately, todoist-shortcuts adds much-needed keyboard navigation to the web client as a browser extension.

I enjoy having dedicated tools/applications for tasks and tend to keep my browser for ephemeral tasks. Therefore I wanted to keep Todoist as a desktop application but with the keyboard navigation extension.

Web Application -> Desktop Application

I’ve used nativefier in the past to create a desktop version of various web applications. Quick searching showed the following issue mentioning that adding a Chrome extention isn’t supported, although it is possible to inject custom JavaScript to be executed within the newly created application.

The following command will build the application while injecting src/todoist-shortcuts.js in it. The injected file contains all of the keyboard navigation of todoist-shortcuts. In addition, other options were provided to nativefier so that we have support for badge counts and bouncing the dock icon on changes when out of focus (MacOS).

nativefier '' --name 'Todoist' --icon ./todoist-icon.png --inject ./todoist-shortcuts-22/src/todoist-shortcuts.js --counter --bounce --single-instance

The produced application works as expected. Keyboard navigation exists within the nativefier created application. Unfortunately, the badge count aspect did not…

Supporting Badge Count

The reason the badge count didn’t work is because nativefier is looking in the title of the window/application for the number (using a regular expression). To solve this, we will need some additional JavaScript that will propagate the number of tasks in Today into the title (while handling edge cases). It isn’t the prettiest, but the following counter.js snippet does the trick:

// Returns the count for the 'Today' list (defaults to 0)
function currentCount() {
  return document.querySelector('#top_filters > li:nth-child(2) > span.item_content > small').innerText || 0;

// Returns the title without any annotated count
function titleWithoutCount() {
  const title = document.title;
  const indexOfCount = title.indexOf(" (");

  if (indexOfCount >= 0) {
    return title.substring(0, indexOfCount);
  } else {
    return title;

// Returns the existing count from the title (defaults to 0)
function existingCount() {
  const title = document.title;
  const indexOfCount = title.indexOf(" (");

  return title.substring(indexOfCount + 2, title.length - 1) || 0

// Update badge count based on the number in Today
function updateBadgeCount() {
  const count = currentCount();
  const title = titleWithoutCount();
  var newTitle = document.title;

  if (count === 0) {
    newTitle = title;
  } else if (count !== existingCount()) {
    newTitle = `${title} (${count})`;

  if (document.title !== newTitle) {
    document.title = newTitle

// Update the badge every 5 seconds
setInterval(updateBadgeCount, 5000);

// Update the badge when the title changes
new MutationObserver(function(mutations) {
  document.querySelector('title'), {
    subtree: true,
    characterData: true,
    childList: true

Unfortunately, nativefier has an issue with injecting multiple JavaScript files. As a workaround, we concatenate the JavaScript into one file before injecting it (which fortunately works with the JavaScript we have).

cat ./counter.js > todoist.js; cat ./todoist-shortcuts-22/src/todoist-shortcuts.js >> todoist.js
nativefier '' --name 'Todoist' --icon ./todoist-icon.png --inject ./todoist.js --counter --bounce --single-instance --overwrite

Desktop Todoist with Keyboard Navigation

At this point, we’ve successfully wrapped the web client of Todoist for Desktop while injecting todoist-shortcuts. Badge support is preserved and notifications continue to function.

I still like the quick task adding feature of the original Todoist application on the desktop, but unfortunately, that was outside the scope of what I could do with nativefier. As a workaround, I’ve renamed the original application to Todoist-store and moved the new application over with no naming conflicts. I run both applications so that I can continue to use the quick task adding feature, although I hide Todist-storein the tray and prevent any notifications from appearing.

To simplify the process of extending/modifying/building this solution, I’ve put together the following repository on GitHub. I hope that Todoist simply adds better keyboard navigation in their client by default… but until then, I’ll be using this solution.