ToDoPLUS v3.51

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail
Published by: Hand High Software, go to the web site
Requires: Any PDA device running Palm OS 2.0 and higher including any device with a Palm upgrade card installed

MSRP: US$19.95

Hands High Software, Inc. is one of hundreds of successful small companies which have sprung up over the past few years to make software exclusively for the Palm organizer and compatible devices from HandSpring, Sony, HandEra, IBM, TRG, Symbol and Franklin. Hands High Software began in March of 1997 with the launch of a product called Trip. In March of 1998 Hands High acquired Pilot PLUS, which added Memo PLUS and ToDo PLUS to the product line.

A PDA (such as my Handspring Visor Prism) is only as good as the software running on it and only effective if it's diligently used. While there are literally thousands upon thousands of programs available for PalmOS-based PDAs right now, not all of those programs are as well integrated into the PalmOS environment as they should be.

Enter ToDoPLUS.

One of the most important design features of ToDoPLUS is that it uses the database of the built-in ToDo List which ships with all PalmOS-based PDAs. Any software which synchronizes the built-in ToDo List will synchronize the same information in ToDoPLUS. The only ToDoPLUS data which won't synch are drawings (the standard ToDo List utility is useful but very basic and does not have any sort of drawing or item alarm capabilities). The point of this integration is that it also lets you edit items on your PC in the Palm Desktop software.

ToDoPLUS has an extensive and well-integrated feature and function set. You can alarm any task, attach a drawing to any task, filter your tasks by due date filters (including Radar [past due, next 7 days and no due date combined], Today, Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week, Next 7 Days, Future, No Due Date and Past Due) and create repeating tasks. ToDoPLUS is compatible with any synchronization software that works with the built-in PalmOS ToDo List, has complete Palm III support with beaming and fonts (including font selection for PalmPilot users), a Summary screen, support for the Lefty utility (for left-handed users), alarm sound choices for PalmOS 3.0 and above, and is FontBucket (custom font selection) enabled.

When you create or add a task in ToDoPLUS, it will also appear in the built-in ToDo List. In addition, ToDoPLUS data is compatible with contact managers such as Microsoft Outlook, Symantec ACT and Goldmine. Everything will synch except ToDoPLUS drawings.

Using ToDoPLUS is as simple as launching it. The opening screen shows you a list of the tasks that you have created and lets you add new tasks, attach drawings, notes and sort and prioritize everything. There's a tool bar containing icons which you tap to begin a new task. Tapping an existing entry lets you edit it. Tapping the drawing icon calls a second set of tools below the drawing screen. Select a tool then tap the drawing area and drag to draw. The available tools are pencil, eraser, line, rectangle and ellipse. The line width of each tool is adjustable. If Memo PLUS is installed, also from Hands High Software, you can choose a Memo PLUS template to start a drawing.

Cons: Each to-do and memo item cannot be more than 4,000 characters. To put that in perspective, this review is about 4,200 characters. Not bad, but a needless restriction since memory is not the problem it used to be. Only two notable design flaws: a) 15 category limit (I could really use a dozen more please!); b) the menu bar is not available while in Summary mode. You have to select a category first to gain access to the menu bar. In any case, Summary mode is only of limited use.

Pros: Superbly useful. Being able to attach quick and simple line drawings to field notes and to-do items is fantastic. Being able to sort out your day(s) using priority settings and alarms (or not) for each item, in over a dozen different customizable categories is a true time and effort saver. I have been a registered, daily user of ToDoPLUS for about a year and I will not give it up. Highly recommended.

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