Needs Mac OS X 10.4
Review Date: 26 Nov 2007
Price when reviewed: (about £9)
Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull
There are all sorts of clever methods, tricks and techniques to help you keep your life organised, but most of them can be boiled down to something very simple: make a list of the things you need to do, and cross them off once you've done them.
That's the philosophy behind TaskPaper. This application is incredibly simple, but it has hidden power that belies its basic appearance.
TaskPaper looks just like a typical notepad, which is deliberate. The idea is that you simply start typing the things you need to remember into it. There are no extras, such as alarms, due dates or categories. It's a list, just like the kind you might jot on the back of an envelope.
However, your TaskPaper list is smarter than it looks. You can separate different projects with large headings, and each task beneath is delineated with a hyphen and a small circle (which doubles as a checkbox) in the margin. Simple shortcuts have been built in to the application to speed up the process of adding projects, tasks or new documents; TaskPaper is one of those applications that you can use without ever touching the mouse if you don't want to.
You can categorise any entries you make by typing a tag, starting with an '@', next to it. For example, you can tag all the phone calls you need to make by typing '@phone'. These tags are as flexible as you want them to be. They also work as hyperlinks: simply click on a tag to view all the tasks marked with it, or Command-click to open that sub-list in a new viewing tab. You can also use tabs to view single projects or search results.
Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of TaskPaper is that the documents it creates are standard plain text files, which you are free to edit in any other application or on any other device you can email them to or sync with. This opens up interesting possibilities for accessing your to-do list when you're away from your computer. While you're on the road, you can mark completed tasks with the '@done' tag and paste the results into your TaskPaper window when you return. It's simple, but it works.
Don't buy TaskPaper if you're looking for a sophisticated personal information manager, because it's nothing of the sort. All it can do is manage smart lists for busy people, but it does this very well indeed.
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