Notepad and ToDo Widgets for Mac Dashboard

So many widgets, yet so few of them do exactly what I want. Ok, I am picky. But it is so nice to have everything just the way I like it! Would not you want the same?

Anyway, all I want is a tool or two that would let me take an occasional note (say, when am on the phone), AND will integrate with Leopard’s iCal and Notes, so that I can sync them easilywith .Mac, and maybe even an iPhone (some day).

There is no Utilities or Productivity section in Apple’s widget database, so I went through it randomly, and pulled down whatever seemed vaguely relevant. Let’s see if anything sticks.

Stickies – the ones that come with Leopard. This is the baseline. You can have many, but not too easily, there is no integration with Notes, and I do not know where they go.

Notepad – maintains several easy-to-access text files (one at a time).

  • Good: The files are simple text, located wherever you want, and so can be synced out as files.
  • Bad: No Integration with Leopard’s Notes.
  • I don’t care: You can edit them as text or switch to an external editor.

k-Notes – not as pretty as Notapad, same lack of OS integration.

  • Good: you can have several notes on your dashboard at the same time, even in different fonts and (background colors)
  • Bad: I have no idea where the actual notes are stored.
  • Bad: I am too dumb to figure out how to properly get rid of one of the stickies 😦

iCalGTD – see upcoming events, input new ToDo items

  • Good: iCal integration
  • Good: allows to enter ToDo items into any of the multiple calendars you have going on (but without the due date)
  • Bad: no, you do not get to actually see the ToDo list.
  • Good: Shows you the upcoming events
  • Bad: that’s all you get. Clicking on the event produces no result.
  • Bottom line: kinda confusing. ToDos go in, Events come out, and both are rather rudimentary.

workbench – basically, same as Notepad above.

  • Good: you can have it in two different sizes
  • Good: you can have several notes
  • Bad: I never figured out where the notes are stored.
  • Bad: no integration with Leopard’s Notes.

Upcoming Birthdays – pulls the birthdays from the Address Book.

ToDo Widget by Philippe Fatio – most excellent!

  • See and manage your ToDo list
  • Perfect integration with OS X
  • Bottom Line: my iCal widget search seems to be over (unless someone introduces hierarchical ToDo)

NoteIt – write a text note and sync it with your phone/iPod

  • Good: simple, clear purpose
  • Bad: not really a note taking solution. More of a “this is a note for my phone, but it is easier to type it on my Mac”.
  • Bottom line: perfect for some, but not for my needs.

WikityWidget – a true mini-wiki!

  • Good: simple, text wiki, clean UI
  • Great: supports standard wiki behaviors and link creation
  • Bad: I canot figure out how to go back to the previous page within the wiki. I must be getting old. If you kow the way, please post a comment!
  • Bad: it is somewhat abandoned. At least the “donate” link goes into a file directory on some server, which is clearly NOT the intended way.


After all this trouble I am keeping the Upcoming Birthdays and ToDo Widget for my iCal needs.

There is no sticky notes widget with poper Leopard Mail/iCal integration, so I am settling for Notepad – at least it gives me some control over where the data goes. But I am very open to suggestions.


just 30 hours after I wrote this I stmbled across the DoBeDo widget. Without any doubt, it trumps ToDo widget in more ways than one. The best way to describe it is to say that it is everything ToDo widget has, plus:

  • email the ToDo list from the widget
  • print from the widget
  • multiple beautiful themes
  • viewing ToDo’s from pre-defined groups of calendars
  • “procrastinate” button (to move the due date by 1 day
  • extra lists (beside the ones integrated into iCal)
  • easy insertion of multiple ToDo’s
  • paging instead of scrolling UI

I was really rtempted to switch right there and them and spent agonising 20 minutes pondering on it. Eventually I realised that I am not going to use all those extra features anyway, and I really love being able to scroll up annd down my ToDo list.

But if you like all the power you can get, you got to give DoBeDo a try. It is quite awesome.

Update July 11, 2008

There is a new kid on the block: Organized widget from iSlayer.

It is very new, still has that “new widget” smell, but it does a whole lot of things:

  • multiple clocks (I love the “small clock” setting, my I still think that digital watches are cool)
  • Notes – nice and clean, but without integration into Mac OS ( give the guys a break it’s version 1.02)
  • Events
  • ToDo list – with every essential feature (you may want to play with the sorting settings)
  • Calendar

It may grow to replace three separate widgets for me. Keep an eye on it!


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