This page was written by Steven J. DeRose on 2008-09-03, and was last updated on 2008-09-03.
If you have a PalmOS device and get an iPhone, you'll have a lot of data to move over. The Calendar and Address List are pretty easy, but iPhone doesn't have a built-in Task List or Memo/Notepad application. This page gives a solution.
Note: If you find any errors here, or parts that are unclear, please let me know!
If you have a PalmOS device, and you get an iPhone, you need to move everything over. At least if you're on a Mac, here's how you do it (remember to sync your Palm to your Mac first!!!):
Unfortunately, the iPhone has no built-in Task List or Memos applications, so you need some third party Palm (and Mac) application for this. A tool called OmniFocus is the best application I've found for both purposes. It costs $20, but is much better than the Palm Apps (for example, you can arrange your tasks and notes in hierarchies, like folders on your disk, instead of only into one level of categories). It also syncs well (via MobileMe or WebDav, with Bonjour sync coming shortly), has a Mac version too, and has been around a while. But perhaps the biggest advantage, is that you can get Palm data across to it fairly easily.
So, how do you get your Palm items into OmniFocus? OmniFocus unfortunately doesn't have direct import for Palm files; but it's not too hard to accomplish:
OmniFocus doesn't have a notion of priority or category. The easiest thing is to make a folder for each priority or category (I prefer category), and then copy all the items for a given category into the right folder. If you sort by category before you export from Palm Desktop, all items with the same priority will be together, and you can do this in one step. To sort by category in Palm Desktop, just click the heading over the "Priority" column. Note: this way you lose the priority settings; if you prefer to keep them and lose categories, just sort by priority instead. I haven't found an easy way to keep both, but I may write an AppleScript to help with that eventually.
Now choose File/Export.... Then choose Module:To Dos and Format:Tab and Return. The "Items" menu should display how many (uncompleted) tasks you have visible. Click the "Columns" button, and uncheck everything but Task, Priority, and Category 1 (if you leave other items checked, they will show up after the name of the task when you paste into OmniFocus -- you might perhaps like that for priority). Choose a place to save it (let's say, "PalmToDo" on the Desktop), and click Export.
Here it gets a little trickier than for Calender and Address List. First, start up a text editor (such as Apple's TextEdit), and open that file. You'll see one task on each line. Do these next steps for each category (or priority):
After you've repeated this process for each category (hopefully, you don't have an enormous number of categories!), you should be in good shape on the task list. Of course, don't throw away your original Palm Desktop file, or the file you exported from it; you neven know when you may want that data again!
Congratulations, your primary Palm data is now in Mac apps that can sync to your iPhone. Follow the directions for OmniFocus to set up syncing (for the moment, it's set up separately than regular iTunes sync!).
If anyone knows a practical way to have AppleScript control Palm Desktop, please let me know (System Event control works for some things, but how do you get at things like clicking on column headers?)
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