How to export tasks from Samsung S Planner to Google Tasks

My girlfriend used Samsung smartphones for several years and regularly relied on the app “S Planner” to store tasks and keep track of her daily activities. Now she is moving from Samsung to another Android-phone, and so she wanted to move all her task history to Google Tasks. The issue is that S Planner uses a local calendar and we couldn’t make the tasks it stored export and/or synchronize.

Finally we succeeded, but it took quite a lot of work, so I thought I would summarize the steps here.

The required tools were also a bit surprising, because it ended up being a roundabout way, since we didn’t find any more straightforward solution:

  • The Samsung smartphone with the required tasks, plus a USB cable
  • A Windows PC
  • Samsung Smart Switch installed on the PC
  • Microsoft Outlook (!)
  • The Google Tasks Import browser application.

1. Install Samsung Smart Switch on a PC

Download and install Samsung Smart Switch on the Windows PC. Plug in the smartphone with a USB cable and connect it in Smart Switch. Select the option to synchronize calendar and tasks with Outlook. The synchronization will take a while, and once it complete you can disconnect the phone. Opening Outlook, you should be able to see the calendar events and the tasks that were on the phone

2. Export the tasks from Outlook

The standard export function in Outlook works great for the calendar, but not so much for the task list.

For the calendar: select the calendar pane in Oulook and click on “Save As…” in the File menu. Then choose “.ics” format and use the advanced options to save the whole calendar, including event details. The obtained “.ics” file can be imported in Google Calendar (instructions). This completes the process for the calendar part.

For the tasks: the standard Outlook task export file is not very useful. Instead, download the Export Outlook Tasks tool from the Google Tasks Import website. Instructions are at the link, but basically you will have to select your Outlook task list and, in a minute or two, you will obtain a CSV file with all the tasks.

3. Import the task list in Google Tasks

This is where the magic happens! I used a browser-based app called Google Tasks Import to import the CSV file created above in Google Tasks. You just press on the big “Authorise” button and select your Google account. Then you upload the CSV file created above and the import process starts. This might take a while (for us, ~ 1 hour for 5000 records), but at the end you’ll have all your loved past tasks show up in Google Tasks, and so also visible in Google Calendar.

Spreadsheets as a data source for LaTeX

The problem

In the process of organising ICANN 2016, I made the pdf version of the conference programme, using LaTeX, of course đŸ™‚

The programme includes the list of all the ~170 talks and posters, including authors, divided in the different conference sessions. All these data were prepared by the other organisers in a spreadsheet (an xlsx Excel file, for the records) and the way they had proceeded in previous editions of the conference was to copy paste all these details in the LaTeX file, hoping not to make many mistakes. One problem with this is that I hate copy-pasting đŸ™‚ It is tedious, and every time I do this operation, there is a (small) chance that I will make a mistake. If I have to copy-paste more than 400 times, the chances increase a lot. Also, it happens that we have to change something in the Excel table on the way, and with the copy-paste approach we should always remember to propagate the changes in the LaTeX file. These thoughts led me to the question:

Can we use a spreadsheet as a data source for an LaTeX file, including automatically the data of the relevant cells in the appropriate places in the LaTeX code?

This would solve both the issues above and automate our work! Surprisingly, I found only little help online, in the form of a perl script on the LaTeX stack exchange. I wanted something more flexible, so I decided to make my own script (in Python) to take care of the task. It works with Excel files (both xls and xlsx).

The code


# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

# Spreadsheet to LaTeX - import data in your LaTeX code automatically
# Copyright (C) 2016 Paolo Masulli
# This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# GNU General Public License for more details.
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation,
# Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301  USA

from xlrd import open_workbook
import re
import sys
import os.path

default_sheet_name = "Sheet1" # insert here the default sheet name in the xlsx file

def cell_coords(cell_ref):
    pos ="[0-9]", cell_ref).start()
    col = cell_ref[:pos].upper()
    if len(col) == 1:
        col = ord(col) - ord('A')
    elif len(col) == 2:
        col = 26 * (1 + ord(col[0]) - ord('A')) + ord(col[1]) - ord('A')
    row = int(cell_ref[pos:]) - 1
    return row, col

if len(sys.argv) < 3:
    print "Usage: ", sys.argv[0], "datafile.xlsx templatefile"

xlsx_file = sys.argv[1]
template_file = sys.argv[2]
latex_file = template_file + ".tex"

if not (os.path.isfile(xlsx_file) and os.path.isfile(template_file)):
    print "Cannot find the data file or the template file."

print "Writing output in %s." % latex_file,

tf = open(template_file, 'r')
lf = open(latex_file, 'w')

wb = open_workbook(xlsx_file)

p = re.compile("(<data>(.+?)</data>)")

for line in tf:
    line_rep = line
    for f in p.findall(line):
        sheet_name = None
        coords = f[1]
        if ":" in coords:
            sheet_name = coords[:coords.find(":")]
            coords = coords[(coords.find(":")+1):]
        row, col = cell_coords(coords)
        if not sheet_name:
            sheet_name = default_sheet_name
        sheet = wb.sheet_by_name(sheet_name)
        value =  sheet.cell(row, col).value.encode('utf-8').replace("_",r'\_')
        line_rep = line_rep.replace(f[0], value)
        print ".",


print "Done."

I decided to use xlrd to read the spreadsheet. It seems quite solid, copes well will cells containing the result of formulae and its recent versions read both xls and xlsx.

The code above is a very preliminary version put together in an hour or so. It should definitely be improved (among the other things, I would like to support Libreoffice spreadsheets as well!).


Assume that you have your data contained in the file data.xslx and that you want to include those data in document.tex. Then prepare a LaTeX template where, instead of the data, you include tags of the form:


where SheetName is the name of the sheet in the Excel file and A2 and B3 the coordinates of some cell. Note that you can specify a default sheet name in the Python script at line 8 and then just use tags of the form:








Let's include a number for the spreadsheet: <data>B2</data>.


Once you have the template, open a terminal window (how this is done depends on your operating system — google is your friend!) and then move to the directory where you saved the script:

cd path/to/the/script

Afterwards, just run the script to generate the LaTeX file including the data from the spreadsheet:

python data.xlsx document_template.txt

This will generate the LaTeX file document_template.txt.tex, which you can just feed to pdflatex:

pdflatex document_template.txt.tex
The resulting pdf file
The resulting pdf file

Slides and presentations

My position as former pure mathematician who is now out in the real world allows me to look at slide-show presentation with my critical chalk-dusted eye. Here are some tool that I found useful when I had to make slides for my presentations. No, I don’t use PowerPoint.

Preparing slides

  • LaTeX and Beamer. The right tools to create slides! Much more robust than other programs such as PowerPoint. Making a Beamer presentation is especially easy if you have material that you can reuse from papers and other LaTeX documents. Switching to Beamer could seem a daunting task, but it’s going to be worth it: it just takes to adapt your work-flow, and then you’ll realize the benefits.
  • The LaTeX package listings comes very handy when you have to display source code in your slides.

Presenting slides

  • In a GNU/Linux environment, pdfpc, alias PDF presenter console, is excellent for presenting your beamer slides. It supports external screens and shows useful extra information on your screen as you present (e.g. timer, preview of the following slide, notes, …)
  • Similar to the previous, but for Mac, the OSX program PrĂ© is brilliant for presenting your Beamer slides. It even allows to draw on the slides, show web pages and videos, display pdf annotations as speaker’s notes, etc.
  • Impressive is a new program doing the same task, and it is available also for Windows. I haven’t tried it yet.