When Apple updated OS X to Lion and introduced iCloud, several updates were made to iCal, Mail.app, etc. One of these "updates" is moving To-Do functionality into iCal, which before was managed in mail.app. Add the introduction of iCloud and the iOS reminders app to the mix, suddenly tasks/todos/reminders become much more useful as an Apple user. With the time I spend in email and browsing the internet, I need a simple way to create reminders without having to switch to iCal (which runs as fullscreen app) and typing or copy/pasting information. I am a big Automator and services fan, the stock Automator action to create reminders is limited though - e.g. I use notes extensively - so I created my own:
- Preset basic information in your Automator workflow
- When text is passed into the action, it is used as the title of the reminder
- A popup window will allow overriding these settings
- Add notes to the reminder
- Add URL to the reminder
- iCal-like input/text fields
- Creating the reminder can be aborted
- Outputs an iCal Todo object that can be further used in your Automator action
I've been testing and tweaking over the last week and feel it works good enough to share. I'd love your get input/feedback, as I want to continue to make it better. Please see below TODO's for known limitations and issues. As I make updates, I will post them on my blog. So make sure to check back regularly. If you have any questions, comments or issues please drop me an email.
This Automator action is provided on an AS-IS basis, which means I am not liable if anything goes wrong with or because of it. Here is the long version of the disclaimer.
With that out of the way :-), here is what you need to do:
Download the action here
Unzip the downloaded file if needed. Double click the unzipped file and follow the dialogs to install the action
Create a new Service
From the middle panel select "New iCal Reminder" and drag it to the right hand panel
Adjust any of the settings on the screen. Note: Not all calendars will accept reminders. If you are an iCloud user you most likely should choose "Reminders"
Save the service with a telling name, like "Create new Reminder"
Head over to any app, select some text and right click. You should see your new service (maybe in the Services sub-menu). If you are using iCloud, these reminders will be sync with your subscribed iOS devices.
- Fix issue when iCal is not running. If you receive an error message, please start iCal manually an try again.
- Pasting into the notes field on the popup only works with right-click (or control-click) mouse
- Show only calendars that can actually store reminders
- Drag and Drop to Title, Notes and URL text fields
- Popup UI needs some (serious) work
- Add the ability to include URLs in reminders
- Error handling and logging needs improvement
- Tweak and optimize
- Add popout tray with existing reminders for selected calendar
- Add alarms?
I just uploaded version 0.4 with following main Fixes/Updates:
- URL's can be added to the reminder through the HUD window
- Visual notification if URL is not properly formatted and therefore not be accepted my iCal (reminder will still be created though)
- iCal-like text fields. Sleek look, dynamically expanding text fields, graphical calendar for picking due date
- Tab will cycle through the text fields (title, url, notes) for quick data entry
- Optimized the code; creating reminder should be a bit quicker
You will need to manually remove the previous version by navigating your Finder window to ~/Library/Automator/ and delete the existing Automator action. Going forward this step should not be needed. As always, thanks for your patience whilst testing and continue to let me know your feedback or any issues you come across.
I just uploaded version 0.5 with following changes/fixes:
- Ability to drag and drop to Title, URL and Notes field from any application
- Accepts any type of URL; tested mainly with mail.app and web browser though
- Bug Fixes
As always, I appreciate taking your time witht this action. Please keep the feedback coming...
I just uploaded verision 0.5.1 with the following Fixes/Updates:
- URLs are better parsed before saving to the CaledarStore. E.g. Evernote "Note Link" works.
- HUD now has a proper Title
As always, thanks for you comments and feedback ... keep it coming!