Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I create a new project? Clicking the + button at the bottom of the list adds a bulleted item, not a folder.

A: In What ToDo, projects are simply items that happen to have sub-items. To create a new project, add an item with the project name you want and then add sub-items to that new item. If you remove the sub-items, the folder turns back into a single item. The goal is to allow you to quickly turn an amorphous to do item into a list of distinct, easily achievable sub-steps.

Also, the Shelf isn't so much a list of projects as a list of shortcuts to tasks you want to keep an eye on. You can drag items and projects to and from the shelf and the other views. Clicking + on the shelf simply adds a new item under the 'All' project and adds a shortcut to it at the end of the Shelf.

Q: How do I add a Web item like the Pay Phone Bill in the Shelf, the Read About Getting Things Done items, or the Cooking For Engineers item?

A: These items are all Web items, with icons taken from their site's favicon. To add a Web item to What ToDo, just drag a link or address from Safari or Firefox and drop it onto the Shelf, under an item in the Project view, or under a Context in the Context view.

Q: How can I edit the contexts?

A: You can edit the contexts by selecting View By Context from the popup menu or the View menu. There you can add new contexts, remove them, add new items under contexts, etc.

Also, in the Project view, if you edit an item's context and set it to a context name that hasn't been used yet, it will create a new context with that name and add the item to it.

Q: How do I synchronize multiple computers using .Mac?

A: You'll need a .Mac account to enable .Mac syncing. Turning on .Mac syncing is a two-step process:

  1. Open What ToDo and select "Preferences..." from the What ToDo menu. Select the the orange Sync tab and check "Sync using .Mac"
  2. Open System Preferences and choose the .Mac preference pane. Then select the Sync tab and check the item marked "What ToDo Items."
Note: .Mac isn't always as prompt as you might like getting data from your machine to its servers. I find it useful to check "Show status in menu bar" in the Sync tab in System Preferences and use the menu item to initiate sync manually when I want to force a sync with .Mac immediately.

Q: Why doesn't the Shelf synchronize between different computers?

A: I assumed that most people would have different items on their work Shelf and home Shelf, etc. If syncing shelves is important to you, let me know. (

Q: How to I use the Quicksilver Module?

A: To use the Quicksilver Module, your must first have Quicksilver installed. To load the What ToDo Quicksilver Module open What ToDo's Preferences and select the "Quick Entry" tab. Click on "Load Quicksilver Module." This will launch Quicksilver, if it is not already running, and install the What ToDo Module.

What ToDo's Quicksilver module provides two actions, "What ToDo Add To Inbox", which will add the selection to your designated Inbox, and "What ToDo Add Quickly", which provides a custom syntax to specify details about the added task.

An "Add Quickly" entry might be as follows:

Call John about coffee @phone //His cell is 303-555-4567

Here the description for the task is "Call John about coffee", the context is "phone" and the note attached is "His cell is 303-444-4567".

Any text after the //is considered part of the note. The context can also be specified at the beginning of the entry. You can use double quotes to escape entry parsing, so for example, you can specify a context with a space in it with:

@"some context"

I'm still experimenting with the Add Quickly syntax; if you have any suggestions, please let me know (

Q: I lost my serial number, what should I do?

A: Send me an email ( with your name and the email you used when purchasing What ToDo (if you remember what it was) and I'll find it for you.

Q: What is this Getting Things Done (GTD) thing you speak of?

A: Getting Things Done is organization system designed by David Allen. It helps you reduce the stress in your life by moving the lists of things you are always reminding yourself to do into a separate list for each context in which you can accomplish tasks. The goal is to not worry about getting something done until you are in a position to actually do it.

Q: Where can I find more information on Getting Things Done?

A: The canonical source is David Allen's book Getting Things Done. Another excellent source of GTD and productivity nuggets is Merlin Mann's 43folders. A couple of really good posts are:

Q: Does What ToDo support syncing with iCal?

A: No, but this will is also coming soon.

Q: I'm not down with hierarchically organized projects — my life is already too complicated! Do you have any suggestions for more pure Mac GTD programs?

A: Actiontastic (still in beta) is an excellent pure GTD implementation for the Mac.

Q: Can I have a pony?

A: No, absolutely not.

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Requires MacOS X 10.4.9 or later.


Purchase IconPurchase What ToDo for only $29.
To buy with a credit card, simply launch the What ToDo application on your computer and choose "Purchase What ToDo..." from the What ToDo menu.


  • .Mac syncing
  • Extensive Drag and Drop support
  • Export to XML
  • Quicksilver integration
  • Automatic update

Screen Shots

  • View by Project
    Project View
  • View by Context
    Context View
  • View By Due Date
    Due Date View