ToDoList

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ToDoList is an outstanding free task list manager. Despite its broad capabilities, it is easy to learn and use.

ToDoList was designed to support the geeks’ latest rage, the much-hyped Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to time management and productivity. ToDoList has almost everything I really want from a task list manager:

  • Nesting of subtasks: Break a task down into subtasks, and break subtasks down still further. Expand and collapse the task list, and drag and drop tasks to change their positions in the hierarchy.
  • Priorities: Prioritize tasks from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Color-code tasks for any purpose.
  • Deadlines and milestones:Specify the starting date and due date of each task and subtask. Tasks can recur, too. Track the time you spend on a task and its progress toward completion. Allocate tasks to specific resources (that is, people).
  • Detailed data: Comprehensive information is presented clearly. Any detail field can be a column in the task table. Data are stored in XML format, and can be imported and exported in various other formats.
  • Comments: Enter detailed comments about each task or subtask, with rich text formatting.
  • Sort and filter: Sort the task list by any attribute, or simply click the header of any visible column to sort by that attribute. Filter the task list by task status, deadline, priority, category, allocated resource, and other attributes.
  • Multiple projects: Set up separate projects, each containing its own task tree. Each project appears on its own tabbed page.
  • Configurable: Virtually every aspect of the GUI is configurable, making ToDoList very versatile.
  • Ease of use:I found ToDoList to be intuitive and accessible. I figured out the basics in a few minutes, and was fairly proficient in about half an hour, so you can probably learn it in even less time.

ToDoList is not perfect, of course. Here is my to-do list for improving it:

  • There should be a way to see a bird’s-eye view of all top-level tasks in all projects at once.
  • The provided templates for printing task lists are a bit crude and not readable enough. You have to be an XML programmer to modify them or write new ones.
  • It would be nice to have a button (next to Maximize Task List) to toggle between detailed and abbreviated views of the metadata fields (equivalent to the check box in Preferences > User Interface > General (“Only show editing controls for visible columns”).
  • The task status field should change automatically to “completed” or something similar, when the completion check box is checked.

Because ToDoList is an open source project, plug-ins for various needs (including encryption, spelling, pop-up reminders, and PocketPC viewer) are available from the program page.

ToDoList is entirely free, and is supported by the open source community at The Code Project (www.codeproject.com). If you really want to pretend you have a paid version, donate to the author through PayPal (the link is at the bottom of the www.abstractspoon.com page).

Compatibility: Windows 98/Me/NT4/2000/XP. The author says ToDoList also runs on Vista, but with a minor annoyance that has not yet been resolved. ToDoList also requires MSXML v3.0, and will automatically insist on it if it is not there.

[Note: this review was written by Jonathan Plutchok of Ra’anana, Israel; see his blog reviewing free and cheap shareware utilities and web sites at Jonathan’s Tool Bar & Grill– The Freewaregenius]

Version tested: 5.1.1

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (569K).