Portable Kanban

What is Kanban? Is it possible to use it for personal task management? If you already know answers than you have an idea how kanban board looks typically:

While there is nothing wrong with physical boards it’s very convenient to have an electronic version. I spent days trying to find some suitable software and finally … developed it (seriously, it just took less time!). And if you’re looking for some simple application that could replace physical board then search is over. Now your board can look like that:


Much better! What are pros & cons of electronic board:

  • It’s dead simple.
  • It always can be with you in your laptop: just copy files to some folder.
  • It works in offline mode, no internet connections ever required.
  • It looks nice.
  • It’s even cheaper than whiteboard and sticky papers because it’s completely free.
  • It’s both personal and shared board in the single package.


  • Maybe not for large distributed groups, but it’s OK for small-to-medium ones. Look also for online alternatives.
  • No more cons found.

How to start:

  • Download application (link is below). It has no installer, just unzip it to some folder, e.g. “…My Documents\My Kanban”.
  • Start it. It requires NET 4.6.2 installed, if you don’t have it yet you can download it here. The application creates data file automatically.
  • Click everywhere, try to drag & drop cards. See About/Shortcuts first, then click Setup to configure your own board the way you want. Edit columns, topics, persons etc. Please, read notes on every setup page.
  • Use the built-in timer (aka ‘pomodoro timer’) to track your time. Easter egg: point mouse to the timer to see statistics.
  • One more thing: drag & drop any file to app window to create a new task with attached file.
  • Need more than one board? Copy app to different folders to use 2 or more boards, e.g. “Office”, “Home” etc.
  • Application is fully portable: keep it on flash drive or shared/cloud storage (OneDrive, Dropbox etc).
  • You can also create a common board and share information with your colleagues in office or worldwide. This option requires free Redis database server (3.0.504 is recommended).

Please, feel free to share your ideas for improving the application. It’s going to be updated regularly, so subscribe to this page comments. The current version is 4.3.6578.38136.

Thank you for reading/scrolling down. Now you can download it.

Portable Kanban supports plugins to extend its functionality. If you’re interested in developing your own plugin use this project as a starting point.

See also a very basic introduction to Portable Kanban:

More about personal kanban:

Too complicated for you? Ok, here is a very minimalistic pomodoro-like timer. No installation is required, just expand zip file somewhere.

1,352 thoughts on “Portable Kanban

  1. Hello, I’m trying to set up the Gmail account for sending alerts and even after the settings the emails are not being sent.

    The setting I made was:


    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert assignees on = yes
    Alert method = by e-mail (using SMTP server)
    SMTP host = smtp.gmail.com
    SMTP port = 587
    SMTP delivery method = Specified pickup directory
    Pickup Directory = c:\temp
    SPN =
    Use default credentials = yes
    Enable SSL = yes
    Sender name = marcelo
    sender adressa = marcelohonoratodj@gmail.com
    Sender password = ******
    SMTP server timeout = 5
    Attach file = yes

  2. Very interesing and useful application. As an improvement, can you add a pomodoro “Short break” counter to the right of the “Stop timer” button? It would be nice to have there the number of “short breaks” taken. Many thanks and good job!

  3. Great application … but …
    A few times now I have launched PortableKanban and found that the pk3 and bak files are full of nulls (0x00). Is there any way to avoid this aside from regularly backing them up myself?

  4. Hi Dmitry, I just started evaluating Portable Kanban, very good. So far, one issue: if I fold the “Data” option topic from the setup dialog then close the dialog, I cannot reopen the options dialog without restarting the tool. I get the following error message:
    “Unhandled exception has occurred in your application. lfyou click Continue, the application will ignore this error and attempt to continue. if
    you click Quit, the application will close immediately.

    Gridltem specified to PropertyGridSelectedGrid item must be a valid

    It looks like the development stopped, but if there is a chance…

  5. Hi Dimitry,
    I’m using your tool since a while it’s really great. Unfortunately today, after I restarted my laptop, I have tried to launch portable Kanban and I’m getting the following error message in a popup: Failed to load or recover data from file “C:\Users\myusername\PortableKanban\PortableKanban.pk3.bak” Tyèpe definition should start with a ‘{‘, expecting serialized type ‘Cache’ got string with:

    when I click ok, a second popup appears: Data file is locked by another instance of portable kanban. try to restart once again later.

    seeing the folder i see a lock file being created but just after I click ok on the second popup it goes away.

    Please help.


    1. Before starting PK ensure that there are no .lock files, just delete them. In normal situation PK loads data from .pk3 file, if it’s not available or corrupted it tries to load data from pk3.bak file. If both are broken, then the only way is to restore data from backup.

      1. Hi Dimitry,
        thanks for the reply. there are no .lock files. It seems data files (both .pk3 and .pk3.bak) got corrupted.
        Is there a way at least to recover the configuration or do I have to restart everything from scratch?

  6. Dear Dmitry,

    First of all, many thank for this tool, it’s really one of the most better kanban I tested.

    Some ideas for the future:

    – possibility to display the subtask directly on the card
    – having the possibility to assigned a task to multiple people
    – and perhaps the most difficult things, possibility to have column insert in another column to separate some action (but it will be the icing on the cake 🙂 🙂 )

    Once again, thank for your job and this tools 🙂


  7. Hi Dmitry! Great tool, I do like it, thanks a lot! Unfortunately, I experienced the same as Alf, see above (and have lost all my data…). Both files (.pk3 and .pk3.bak) are “empty” i.e. contain only a long series of 00h (as shown by a hex editor) while maintaining the original file size. Looks like they have been accidentally overwritten when Kanban Portable was not closed normally (system reboot). While this hard restart should not happen too often, I think there is a bug in the program because at least the .pk3.bak may not be empty. Any idea? Best regards, Felix

  8. Hi Dmitry! Have you seen my comment above (in reply to Alf) regarding “corrupted” (in fact, rather overwritten) database files? Any solution in sight? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Jim- you, can- visually. Under Settings/Options/Tasks you will find Warm Task Threshold and Hot Text Threshold. Set these values to something that makes sense to you (eg- warm =3, hot =1) and then set the background colours for each to something that contrasts with the your colour scheme for your normal tasks. I use fairly muted colours for my normal tasks, then Goldenrod for my warm tasks and Yellow for hot tasks. So as the due date of a tasks approached, it will go from say DarkSeaGreen to Goldenrod when within three days, and then Yellow on the due day.

  9. Hello,
    Dmitry thank you for your job. This tool is perfect for my needs.
    Only a suggestion: I think that it could be very usefull the possibility to create a view for the tasks that have deadline equal to a specific date (for example deadline = “today” or “tomorrow”)

  10. Hi Dmitry,

    Just a thank you! This is a great tool. Perfect for what I need. Not too complicated, but powerful enough to handle my tasks as a freelancer working at home.


  11. Is it possible to:

    a) specify the database on the commandline
    b) specify the location of the portablekanban.cfg file on the commandline (so I can place the software on a central location, but have multiple people make use of it with their own config?

  12. Hello Dmitry,
    Thanks for this great tool ! I now use it on a daily basis at my work 🙂
    A little suggestion for an addition : could it be possible to add to a task a customizable icon, in order to be able to have a visual trend of the task (let’s imagine so red / orange /green light, or up arrow / down arrow, and so on).
    Again, thanks for your work !

    1. Aaaaaaaarg, I’ve just seen that the dev was stopped. Sorry to have bothered you, and again, thanks for this 🙂

  13. Is there a way (shortcut?) to say that a task moved to an “auto complete” column is “cancelled” instead of “completed”?

  14. Hi Dmitry,
    When changing anything in the text of a card which is in time tracking mode (after Shift+F1), savfing the changes toggles Shict+F4. Is it by design or a kind of bug? 🙂

  15. Program is what I was lookign for this week. Just have one question – do we have possibility to predict time required for task completion in pomidoros and can we track task completion in pomidoros too?

  16. Hi,
    It has been an awesome application and I have been using this for more than year for managing all my projects task, Personal and Professional. I am in very hi-tech env and myself is also technology expert.
    Recently i observed few things so i went back to old version I had and noticed those and please let me know if those can be fixed or any new settings introduced to fix it.

    1. Attachment: I can browser and copy paste file in the task but when I now copy the emails after upgrading, the paste option does not highlight which makes me to save email somewhere browse and then attach it. Paste button was always enabled but it seems like now it is enabled when a physiclal file saved in desk are copies, in past it was always enabled and which helped me to attach email directly copying from outlook, Can you fix this asap, i keep all communication attached in the task.

    2. Column from different board: In paste I could see all columns in all dashboard irrespective of view but no more after upgrade and i don’t when this feature was pulled back:
    Background: I manage the board in different way, for me columns are my team and i have quite large size team, so i have two board one for WIP item, one for all completed items: i have two column for each of my team member one with actual name and one with name-done. Purpose is to track by column in 1×1 to see what has been done and what has been pending with user but at same not having WIP and completed column for each person in same board so i assign -done column once task is completed it is moved to -done column and task moves to different board.

    Can you bring those features back or help me, right now i reverted back to old version software which i had backed up but i would like up upgrade but not without missing these featurs.

    1. 1) You do not have to copy/paste, try to drag&drop e-mail message or attached file into PK. It works well with Outlook 2016, Thunderbird and The Bat. If you have some issues try to turn off e-mail parsing: Settings/Options/Misc/Parse e-mails = No.
      2) You can turn off this behavior: Settings/Options/Tasks/Select any column = Yes.

      1. Thanks for response.
        1. Drag and drop works well but it is not my preferred copying email to task. But i believe tool does not recognize the copy email from outlook as clip board, the paste enables when i copy file from drive. Is there a solution or i can live with drag and drop if there is not.

        2. Column worked like chart.

        i appreciate your tool and help.

      1. Hi

        Sorry to hear you stop the development. Are you going to commercialize the tool?


        Alf ________________________________

  17. Hi

    With recent update everytime I open PK it says my files directory is invalid (I use windows share path like \\server\folder\subfolder). Then dialog is displayed that alows me to choose path (I use the same, and it works).

    Other thing which worked (back then) was that new task had its title automatically generated from e-mail title when dragging from Outlook (2013) to PK, now it is always empty.

    Last thing is that sometimes when I try to drag tasks within column to change order they jump not where I pointed but kinda randomly.

    Thank you for this program. It’s awesome.

    1. Update:
      Today I opened PK and it did not ask for folder, which makes me think it was some else factor and not PK update.

  18. Is there any way to automate/schedule the backup process and any way to restore a single task from a backup file?

    1. Try to setup daily backup: Setup/Options/Misc/Daily backup & Backup time. There is no way to restore the single task, but you can you can restore all data from backup using another instance of application (just copy it to another folder), copy task to notepad (Ctrll+C from PK, Ctrl+V in Notepad). Then restore it in the current PK instance.

  19. Hello Dmitry, I just started your plguin TimeTrackingReport. It does not get anything from the call to ‘kanban.TimeTracks’.
    I picked the date from the date picker, so I assume the dateformat will be correct.
    Any sugesstion?

    Thanks for hints.

  20. Hi

    Again great tool, enjoy working with it!

    A question; is it possible to set how the comments are ordered? Now the last entry is on the bottom, but I like to have the option to have the latest on top. Also it would be great if the date and time can be changed. Sometimes you enter an entry to also capture an event/decision for a specific day.

    1. That’s a great point. When you run through the comments, you want to read them top-to-bottom, with the most recent on top, so you immediatly see the most interesting ones.

  21. Hi Dmitry,
    Portable Kanban is an excellent tool! Thank you!
    I’ve got two improvement ideas which might be worth considering:
    1. Start Timer / Stop Timer are now two separate key combinations =(Shft F1/F4). I feel that a single key with toggle function would be more comfortable.
    2. When the active (i.e. “Timer started”) card is pulled to a column which sets the “Completed” flag, the timer still remains “Started”. Could setting the Completed flag stop timer automatically?

  22. Things come up as tools are used …

    how would it be to be able to select multiple Tasks and process them all at once?

    * If they are all in the same column, they can be moved all at once to a target column.
    * If you right-click on them and change the priority/assignment/…, the priority/assignment/… of all are changed.
    * Doing a right-click and select “move to the next column”, they all become shifted right (if not already at the final column)

    What do you think?

  23. Important notice: after upgrade to version 4.3.6539.38802 or from 4.3.6539.38802 to 4.3.6540.40984 or newer one all the passwords (logon, redis servers) may be reset to default blank values. This issue has been fixed. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  24. Dimitry, I just updated to the latest version of the app & lost my connection to the database (had to re-enter the password for the Redis database). When I connected to the database, all of the passwords assigned to my users were gone – even unchecking the “hide passwords” box didn’t rectify the situation. My login didn’t work with my assigned password and the Admin login defaulted back to a blank password. Can you recommend the best way to get that back?

  25. Hi,
    in the last version, you have added this functionality:
    Columns are limited to the current view in “Edit task” dialog. 4.3.6539.38802
    can be this behavior changed somewhere?
    Because sometimes is good to move a task in a column also if this is not viewable in the current view.

  26. Hi Dmitry

    I’m having a problem adding new topics. When I try, I get a dialogue box saying Failed to save data to file: “….Kanban/PortableKanban.pk3” Unable to remove the file to be replaced.

    I’m using it on dropbox between two computers but it is the same response on both. What can I do? Is it a corruption?



    1. I figured it out. It’s dropbox sync somehow blocking the config change to be saved in the pk3 file. I exited dropbox and it works ok. Only seems to happen with additional topics. Adding tasks etc in normal workflow is not affected by dropbox.



  27. Dmitry,

    I’d like to discuss a paid feature that I’d quite quickly see in the product.

    Could you please drop me a personal e-mail? I assume have my mail address from this posting.

    Thank you very much.

  28. And another idea to make PK more awesome than it already is: have a collapsable list of the open subtasks.

    I could create a task “Roll out PK” with the subtasks “Test”, “Document”, “Preprod”, “Prod”, and whenever I need to know what to do next with the task, I could expand it to Show me what’s left.

  29. Hi Dimittry,

    Two small issues:
    – If a subtask is marked done and I try to move it up or down (without closing the Task before doing so) then the mark does not move with the subtask.
    – For Tasks that are already created it is not possible to attach files/links by drag and drop. (This worked it the past.)

    A Suggestion for subtasks:
    – Could you make it possible to select the whole subtask list for copying into another progam?
    – Could you make it possible to paste a series of subtasks into OK (each Task on a seperate line)?

    Thanks a lot for continously improving PK!

  30. Version 4.3.6527.40726 seems to have lost its capability for drag and drop for files. It seems that I need to browse to get to the file or folder. Have I missed something?
    Also, Paste on the Files tab doesn’t seem to do anything.

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply. This works when using the link in other programs, but I tried to add a link in another task and doing that results in a plain text string

    1. Thank you for this advice, but in a corporate environment, it’s typical to have internet access only through an HTTP(s) proxy.

  31. Hi Dmitry,

    if you ever search for a new idea to implement … it would be great to have the possibility to Access a NoSQL DB over HTTP, like CouchDB, or support Webdis (www.webdb.is).

    With this, a user can host his Kanban DB anywhere on the web, and access it from any PC – home, business, office, …

  32. I seem to change my mind between sub-task and new Kanban frequently. is there any automation to help with converting an item from one to the other?

      1. Hi I have it is lot. Sometimes a sub task become a major task with its own subtask. I was thinking of a mechanism to right click the subtask > make task > keep the sub task, but make it a link via the checkbox. Create a new task with reference to origin. Just an idea

  33. Hello.
    Have a problem since the last update:
    Every time I try to create a task out of an existing one I got a message “Failed to copy file(s) to…” followed by a path with a nonsense last element (f.e. “c2ad1f5fdbbd …”).
    Though I have no file in the original task.

    Settings: local DB, relative path to “Files”, but also remote DB and/or absolute path

    Any suggestions?

    Regards, Fred

  34. Hello

    My system crashed while the tool was open and now it reports that the data file is use by another instance 😦 I hope there is a solution to recover?

    1. There is no .lock file, it reports Failed to load or recover data from file: PortableKanban.pk3.bak Type definitions should start with a ‘{‘ expecting serialized type “Cache”, got string started with:

      When I click OK, I get the message that another instance is in use

        1. Hi Dmitry! Great tool, I do like, thanks a lot! Unfortunately, I experienced the same as Alf (and have lost all my data…). Both files (.pk3 and .pk3.bak) are “empty” i.e. contain only a long series of 00h (as shown by a hex editor) while maintaining the original file size. Looks like they have been accidentally overwritten when Kanban Portable was not closed normally (system reboot). While this hard restart should not happen too often, I think there is a bug in the program because at least the .pk3.bak may not be empty. Any idea? Best regards, Felix

  35. Hello,
    I’ve got Kanban installed with Redis DB in a server and it’s working great. I create another instance of Kanban using the same DB but I don’t get an empty instance but the first one cloned. What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks in advance.

  36. Is it possible to hide the user passwords in the Users tab (not display in clear text, use encryption) and also allow a currently logged in non-Admin user the ability to change their password?

  37. Добрый день. Возможно как-то восстановить базу? Отключился свет и при открытии выдает ошибку.

  38. Love the new recurrent task feature- absolutely brilliant!

    Is there a setting to have the task recur once moved to a particular column? For example, if I create a recurring task and have it recur 15x, there are (naturally) 15 tasks added to the backlog. It would be good (if possible) to have a task added to the backlog once I move the task from ‘Backlog’ to the next column (as an example). Is this possible?

  39. Hi,
    probably someone has already reported but from last (more or less) update the drag & drop of an email (in my case lotus notes) into PK stop to work correctly. The new task is created, the link is put in the “file” tab but the name of the task is a generic “new task” instead of the title of the e-mail.

    1. I’ve tested it only with Outlook and Thunderbird, but most likely it should work with any e-mail client. Please, try the latest version, at least it should show e-mail subject if e-mail content cannot be completely parsed. You can also turn off e-mail parsing: Setup/Options/Misc/Parse e-mails.

      1. Hi,
        I have tested 4.3.6517.42395 with Parse e-mails.on and off but not change. Unfortunately, I have not saved the PK version where this behavior works correctly.

            1. Hi,
              the 4.1 not works well, the 4.2 works well, the 4.3 is a wrong link. In any case the 4.2 import correctly the subject of email as name of task instead the last version as a generic NewTask

              1. I’ve tested email drag and drop with Outlook on v4.3.6540.40984. It works there. However, it fails in the version that I have after that.

  40. Hello

    I have looked for a KANBAN tool and this one is great because it does it in a simple way.
    I wonder if it is possible to change the report layout?

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