iCal Fixed Date To-Dos

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MacN, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. MacN macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2007
    Hi, everyone.

    I have been using Macs for a long time. Recently, while moving to Leopard, I decided to expand my Mac horizons, and thought I might try using iCal. However, I can't seem to find a way of doing one of the things that would be essential for me in a calendar app (and I tried the same on Mozilla Sunbird, and it didn't work there either, as well as freezing all the time).

    I want to put to-dos with a start date and an end date, so that they don't appear in the to-do list until the start date and they stay in the to-do box until the end date (and for any views which include any of the relevant dates) and then do not appear in subsequent days, weeks, or months. E.g. two weeks before a birthday, a 'Buy present for X' to-do appears, and goes when the birthday is past (whether completed or not). E.g. I want to visit a certain nature reserve in a certain week, but not on any particular day, so I want the to-do to appear for that week only.

    There are various workarounds, but all of them are only partial.

    I can have an event (not a to-do) with a start and finish date, but this looks stupid, because what I am inputting is not a continuous event, and anyway, I might have 20 or 30 of these 'fixed date' to-dos in a month, and using the event method makes the calendar unusable.

    I can give the to-do a due date and set the calendar to hide the to-do if the due date is after the current calendar view. But I can't set 'hide when the due date is past', so it appears for eternity after the due date. Therefore if I set a to-do for 1 April, it will not appear until the view includes April (good) and it will show up in the day and week and month views for April (quite good, but what if I want only the first two weeks of April?), but it will then appear for eternity afterwards.

    There's no way I can get a to-do to show itself once and once only for every day, week or month of April, for example, and not after or before that month.

    I want to be able to look forward and see the things I should try to do sometime in April, and the things I should do sometime in May, and so on. Since I can't hide them, then the whole effect is cumulative, and a year from now I have an entire year's worth of to-dos in view.

    I'm not a business person, but surely business people must have to use to-dos such as 'sometime in August, contact customer Y and see how he likes the product he bought today (a date in May)'. How do they input this on iCal? If they can't do this, how can they use iCal? Or surely they must have to enter events that they know will happen in a certain month, but whose precise date has not yet been fixed?

    Am I missing something? I've played around for hours, and I can't do this. I hoped Bento would allow custom fields in iCal, but only the fixed fields are linked between the two applications, so it's no use.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated. I hope I've explained the problem clearly. I only need a simple application, and this one fix would make iCal fine for me. I don't need OmniFocus at $80, or a similar high-powered project manager app.

    Is there a fix in iCal, or a simple alternative (to repeat, Sunbird seems to be the same as iCal)?
  2. djejrejk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    I'm curious if you have checked out the omnifocus beta (even though you say that you don't want it).. its pretty amazing. It syncs with iCal.. and they are running a 50% off promotion until sometime in January. It allows quit a bit of customization, not exactly as you have described it, but pretty close.

    Also, if you have an omnioutliner pro license, it is only 25$ until the promotion ends. If OO came bundled with your mac, this means that you can purchase the 20$ upgrade to OOPro, and get OF for 25$. If you have not checked it out, I would recommend that you try it before you make any judgements.

    Pretty nice imo.

    (I know I sound like I work for the OmniGroup but I think that they really hit a home run with this one.)
  3. MacN thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2007
    Omnifocus Too Complex and Expensive

    Thanks for the comment.

    I looked at Omnifocus, but it's far too complex for the one simple thing I want to do. And it's too expensive, too -$39 is the half-price offer. It doesn't matter that it syncs to iCal, because iCal doesn't support what I want (it seems).

    In iCal, I could get a to-do to appear after a certain date, but not to disappear again, unless I marked it done. All I want is for something to appear only in calendars in which a certain range of dates appear, but as a to-do not an event (or in a sidebar, rather than as an event repeated once for each day in the range). I'm sure it would be really easy to program if Apple wanted to. Presumably, there is little demand (although, as I said, I am a little surprised at this).

    Anyway, thanks again.
  4. djejrejk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    Yeah, sounds like your needs are pretty specific. I have had my issues with the iCal/Leopard to do system (which is very flawed), which is why Im switching to OmniFocus. Of course I can't say that I blame Apple, not many people are into ToDo's, etc*.. but It would be nice to have some extra options.

    I wish you luck.

Share This Page