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Creating a Smart Mailbox in Mail can automatically filter your To Dos for you.
I’m trying to wrap my head around the new To Do feature in Leopard’s Mail. In iCal, I can hide any To Dos that have already been completed or haven’t arrived yet. But in Mail, it lists all of my To Dos, even if they’re completed or they’re from the future. Plus, it doesn’t show me the notes I’ve typed in for each To Do. Annoying!
Yes, the implementation of To Dos in Apple Mail is quite perplexing, to say the least. If you click To Do in the left-hand margin of Mail’s Viewer window, it will indeed show you every single To Do that you have ever typed into your Mac, with no regard for its status or date. Since Apple provides no way to filter this list on the fly, you’ll have to create a Smart Mailbox to do the filtering for you.
Let’s say you want to see all of your overdue To Dos, along with any that are due this week. Pull down from the Mailbox menu to New Smart Mailbox and type in a name for your mailbox. Choose To Dos from the first menu and Any from the second menu. For your first condition, choose To Do Is Overdue. For the second condition, choose Date Due Is This Week. Then you’ll have a Smart Mailbox that gives you the functionality that you’ve come to expect from iCal.
To see the notes that you’ve typed for your To Dos, choose View > Columns > Notes, and a new Notes column will appear. Since it’s difficult to edit lengthy notes within a tiny column, you may want to switch to iCal and edit your notes there instead.