19.9. To Dos

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19.9. To Dos

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19.9. To Dos You've got all this mail piling up with all sorts of things to remember: dinner dates, meeting times, project deadlines, car-service appointments. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to remember to look through your mailbox to find out what you're supposed to be doing that day?

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  1. 19.9. To Dos You've got all this mail piling up with all sorts of things to remember: dinner dates, meeting times, project deadlines, car-service appointments. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to remember to look through your mailbox to find out what you're supposed to be doing that day? It would, and it is, thanks to Mail's To Do feature. And the best part is that Mail accesses the same To Do list as iCal. The same task list shows up in both programs. 19.9.1. Creating To Dos You can use To Dos in several different ways. For example, when you get an email message that requires further action ("I need the photos for the condo association newsletter by Friday"), highlight the important part of the text. Then do any of these things: • Click To Do in the message window's toolbar. • Choose File New To Do. • Press Option- -Y. • Control-click (or right-click) the highlighted text, and then choose New To Do from the shortcut menu. In each case, Mail pops a copy of the selected text into a yellow strip of note-style paper at the top of the message, as shown in Figure 19-22. That task is also listed in the Reminders area of the Mailboxes list. If you need to see all the tasks that await you from all your mail accounts, click the flippy triangle to have it spin open and reveal your chores. The number in the gray circle indicates how many To Do items you still need to do. Tip: Control-click (or right-click) any item in this To Do list to open a shortcut menu that offers useful controls for setting its due date, priority, and calendar (that is, iCal category). When you click the To Do area of the Mailboxes list, all your tasks are listed in the center of the Mail window. Click the gray arrow after each To Do subject line to jump back to the original message it came from.
  2. Tip: Not all of your life's urgent tasks spring from email messages. Fortunately, you can create standalone To Dos, too. Just click the To Do button at the top of the Mail window when no message is selected. A blank item appears in your To Do list with the generic name "New To Do." Select the name to overwrite it with what this reminder is really about: Buy kitty litter TODAY (or whatever). 19.9.2. Completing and Deleting To Dos When you complete a task, click the small checkbox in front of the To Do subject line— either in the message itself or in the Reminders list. Once you've marked a task as Done this way, the number of total tasks in the Reminders list goes down by one, and that's one less thing you have to deal with. To delete a big yellow To Do banner from a message, point to the left side of the banner until a red handwritten-looking X appears. Click the X to zap the To Do banner from the message. You can delete a To Do item from the Reminders list by selecting it and then pressing Delete, among other methods. Figure 19-22. Top: If a message brings a task that you need to complete, you can give yourself an extra little reminder, right in Mail. Highlight the pertinent text and click the To Do button to add a large, colorful reminder to the top of the message. Bottom: Click the arrow next to the first line of the To Do for a quick and easy way to set a due date/time and alarm, and also choose which calendar you want to use for this particular chore. 19.9.3. To Do List: Mail/iCal Joint Custody Seeing your To Do items in Mail is great—when you're working in Mail. Getting them into iCal is even better, though, because you can see the big picture of an entire day, week, or month. As it turns out, Mail and iCal share the exact same To Do list. Create a To Do in one program, and it shows up instantly in the other one.
  3. Tip: You can even set the due date and priority of a task from within Mail. Those controls are in the To Do Options balloon (Figure 19-22). You open this balloon by Control-clicking the task and choosing Edit To Do, or just by clicking the large arrow button that appears to the left of a To Do banner in an email message window. Later, in iCal, if you double-click a To Do item, and then click "Show in Mail," you get whisked back to the original message, sitting right there in Mail.  
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