Things - calculate start date relative to due date?

Does anyone know if Things recognizes any syntax to set start dates that are relative to a project due date? I run a shortcut that pulls from a template to create a project. It would be great to set my project due date in the template, and then have the various start dates of individual tasks calculated off that due date.

Not really, so far as I know. There’s some information here about natural language input: (scroll down to the section labeled " Type ahead: Use natural date input").

I tried typing a start date of “Five days before deadline” or “Five days before due date,” to no avail. However, if I’ve set a due date of, for example, March 29, it will recognize a start date of, say, “Five days before March 29.”

For a single task, at least for me, it’s probably just as fast to use the date picker. But I can see using the keyboard for entry saving a good bit of time if a project has a lot of tasks.

If you have Shortcuts do the calculation you can have it set the start date if I understand you correctly. In the Things action select “On Date”.

Thanks for the replies. I ended up going with a hodgepodge of automation steps, all wrapped up in a Shortcut that launches everything. The first part of the shortcut pulls from a template, as explained in a post by Mark over in the Automators forum. That template only sets up my project and its headings, as it doesn’t appear to support start dates.

I then have a pretty long series of steps in the shortcut that creates the tasks within the project. For anyone who might stumble upon this, here is what one of the date calculation looks like (an earlier step asks me to input a “trial date” and then this step subtracts 3 months from that and stores it as a variable. Yes, I’m probably missing out on using a magic variable, but this worked):

I then use that “3 months before trial” variable as the date in the “Add Things To-Do” action. You need to make sure you select the variable in the action, and choose “Relative” date. I also picked “none” for Time Format.

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