Ilium Software ListPro 4
(Updated April 1, 2004)
(Updated June 14, 2007)
Are you the list-making type of person? Do you have collections that you want to list on your Pocket PC? If so, ListPro might be for you. Read on to find out why.
UPDATE: Since this review was written, Ilium has released ListPro 4.1, which is still the current release as of June 14, 2007. As that was only a point release, not a major update, most of the information here should still be useful.
You can skip to any section of the review here.
ListPro is a program that allows you to create and manage almost any type of list. This review covers version 4.0 of ListPro. Most of the testing was on my iPAQ 5555 running Windows Mobile 2003, but I also installed it on my iPAQ 3870.
ListPro has been around for quite a while, so it's a mature program. I first used the version that shipped free with my iPAQ 3650 back in July 2001. Version 4.0, released in January 2004, added support for
- A list creation wizard
- Improved filtering and sorting
- The ability to add a note to a list (not just each item in the list)
- Indenting by dragging
- List E-mailing
- Exporting improvements
- Column clearing
- List flattening
ListPro installs like most Pocket PC programs. If you have the Professional Edition, which includes a PC version as well, that will be installed like most PC programs. I didn't have any problems installing the program on my laptop and iPAQ 5555. I also installed it on an iPAQ 3870 with no issues.
During installation on your Pocket PC, you'll get a license agreement, as the following screen shot shows.
This is a bit annoying; most programs give you the license agreement on your PC during installation. However, from the company's point of view, it will always show the user the license agreement, even if it's being installed from a CAB file.
When you execute the program, if you aren't registered, you'll be given the opportunity to register. If you have a key, you'll get the Registration Information dialog.
Ilium has a fairly innocuous registration scheme — you only need your name and a six-digit key. They don't make you type in some 25-character registration code or, worse, have an activation scheme.
Ilium Software says that ListPro works on Pocket PCs running Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002 or Windows Mobile 2003. It ran fine on both my iPAQ 3870 and iPAQ 5555.
ListPro takes about 675 KB of storage memory on a Windows Mobile 2003 device. The default My Lists and Templates take another 34 KB. Any lists you create will obviously take more memory.
When running the program with a simple list open, it took about 580 KB of program memory.
There are four main views in ListPro:
The following sections will cover each view.
When you first start the program, you'll see a list of your ListPro files.
If you select New, you'll be presented with a standard file dialog to create a new list file.
New File Dialog
The Tools menu has only one item in it, allowing you to receive lists that are beamed to you.
File View Tools Menu
If you tap and hold a file in the list, you'll get the context menu shown here.
File View Context Menu
All of the items there are fairly self-explanatory, but I will explain one a bit further. If you select Send via E-mail..., Inbox will open a new E-mail with the list added as an attachment.
If you tap a file in the File view, you'll see all the lists that file contains.
The name of the file, My Lists, is shown at the top, with the lists it contains shown below.My Lists is a sample file that comes with ListPro, and contains three lists — Using ListPro, ListPro Features and Get Free Lists.
This brings us to an important point — one file can contain several lists. This has its pros and cons. The good side is that it adds some flexibility by providing another level of grouping. The bad side is that it can make it more difficult to find a given list, as all lists don't show up when you open ListPro. Of course, if you don't like that, you can just put one list in each file. That would have the effect of showing all lists in the file view.
If the file being opened was created with a previous version of ListPro, you'll get a message box indicating that and the opportunity to convert the file to the current format.
While I appreciate the ability to read older files, it would be nice if you'd only get this message if you were trying to change the list. ListPro will optionally save a backup of the file in the old format, but that doubles the space the list takes even if you're just looking at the file.
If you do change the file, you won't be able to share your changes with other people unless they are also running the current version of ListPro. While this benefits Ilium by giving people an additional reason to upgrade, it would be nice if older versions of ListPro could read files created by newer versions. The older version might not support some features in the list, but it would be better than nothing.
UPDATE: Ilium does offer a backward conversion utility to convert back to 3.0 and even 2.0. It's located at http://iliumsoft.com/site/lp/lp_suptk3a.htm#bk.
If you select New, you'll be presented with a wizard to create a new list in the current file. The first screen of the wizard allows you to select a template to create the list from. There are several styles to choose from.
New List Wizard Template Screen
In the example above, I've chosen a shopping list template.
The second screen of the wizard allows you to add or remove columns from the template you selected.
New List Wizard Columns Screen
The column on the right shows the columns currently in your list. The column on the left shows the types of columns you can add to the list. The items without asterisks around them are common to all lists, but may be hidden.
The final screen of the wizard allows you to enter a name for the list.
New List Wizard Name Screen
One thing I wish the wizard would allow is setting more of the list's properties. This is especially true of the list note; all of the templates have list notes, and those stay with your list. You should be given the option to enter your own list note on the final screen where you enter the name of the list. Allowing setting other properties would be even better.
The Edit menu is fairly standard.
List View Edit Menu
The only item that needs much explanation is the New Folder action. This creates a folder in the lists, allowing you to group related lists together. This does not create a folder in the file system of your Pocket PC; it only exists in the List view of the file. The Tests folder in the image above illustrates that.
The View menu only has one item, allowing you to show the list's note pane.
List View View Menu
You can add a note to the list, as the following figure shows. My quotations list has a note indicating what the list contains.
I think the View menu should also have actions to allow collapsing or expanding an entire folder hierarchy. This would make viewing your list of folders easier, and would also make seeing all of your lists in folders easier.
The Tools menu has several actions in it.
List View Tools Menu
Selecting Preferences... will display ListPro's preferences dialog.
Selecting Edit Templates allows you to modify or move templates without using a file explorer.
Most of the items in the Tools menu seem fairly obvious, but there's a catch — they don't just apply to the list you've selected. For example, Set Password... applies to the entire file, and Preferences... applies to all files. For that reason, I think most (if not all) of these items should be moved to the File view's Tools menu, although some could be renamed (Set File Password..., for example) or made to apply only to a list in the file (Set Password..., for example; but a file password is reasonable, too). The About ListPro... action should probably be on all Tools menus, and you shouldn't have to select a file to register.
If you tap and hold the file name, you'll get the context menu shown here.
List View File Context Menu
The only one of these that doesn't seem obvious is Compact File. When you delete an item from a list, or a list from a file, the space for that item or file is still there. This probably makes undoing a delete easier. To reclaim that space and avoid wasting precious storage memory, you should compact the file every now and then. I think this action is important enough that it should also be in the Tools menu (either here or in the File view).
UPDATE: I've heard from Ilium that compacting is now done automatically, and that this action was just left in case somebody wants to do it manually for some reason.
If you tap and hold a list, you'll get the context menu shown here.
List View List Context Menu
Once again, most of the items are fairly self-explanatory. The one that may not be, Export to ListPro File..., simply allows you to copy the selected list into another ListPro file.
Export List To File Dialog
The Properties action takes you to a large tabbed dialog. I'll discuss each tab briefly.
The Columns tab shows the columns currently defined in your list.
List Properties Columns Page
In the picture above, items with an "X" next to them are visible in the list. However, the Notes column behaves slightly differently; if it isn't checked, the item's note won't be displayed as a column in the list, but you can still display it if you have the note pane visible.
The items with asterisks to their right are predefined columns; they exist in every list, and can't be deleted. The picture shows that I've added three new columns, too — Source, Timeframe and References.
If you press the Add... button, you'll get the menu shown below. Selecting an item type adds a column of that type to the list and allows you to name it.
Add Column Menu
Notice that you can't add a Notes column; only one is allowed in a list. Also, only one Checkbox can be added, but you can get additional check boxes by using the Yes/No column type (although they will look and behave slightly differently).
Pressing the Delete button will obviously get rid of a column in the list. As mentioned above, you can't delete a predefined column, but you can uncheck it so it won't show up.
Pressing the Modify... button will allow you to rename the column and change any other column properties. As each column type can have different options, this seems like a good point to discuss the nine different column types you can use and show their options.
A column that contains a string, but allows you to select defined values from a drop-down list in addition to typing them in. When you select Modify..., you get the column properties dialog shown below.
Category Column Properties
If the Automatically add new category values option is checked, any new categories are automatically added to the category list; otherwise, the only categories displayed in the drop-down list are those defined in the category dialog, even though you can type anything in.
There are two predefined Category columns — Category and Unit — which work the same as user-defined categories except that they can't be deleted.
A limited version of the Yes/No column type. It is only used for the predefined Checkbox column, and you can only change its name. Checking this item can have side effects, such as changing the color of the item or displaying an entry dialog for the Amt column.
Also, this column will display a check mark icon if named "Checkbox", and the check mark in the box will be red (normal Yes/No controls will have blue check marks).
A column that contains a date, time or both.
When you select Modify..., you get the column properties dialog shown below.
Date Column Properties
The Form option allows the column to display only a date, only a time or both a date and a time. The Time Only form is a time of day — with AM and PM — and not just a generic count of hours and minutes. This means that all times will wrap around after 12 AM and 12 PM. It would be nice if there was another form that allowed just hours and minutes (for durations, for example).
The Behavior option allows manual entry, automatic entry or an A+B or A-B calculation based on another Date column and a Number column. Both Date columns in the calculation must have the same form, and the Number column represents days if the form is Date Only or Date and Time, minutes if the form is Time Only. The result of one calculation can't be used as input to another calculation. Also, items used in calculations may have restrictions on how you can modify them. For example, a Date column used as input for a calculation will have its Form property grayed out, which makes sense. Attempting to change the Behavior property for a Date used as input to a calculation from None or Auto Date/Time to a calcuation gives the error shown here.
Date Column Dependency Error
If durations were allowed, they could also be used in calculations, adding or subtracting a duration from a date and time, a time or another duration.
There is one predefined Date column — Date — which works the same as user-defined dates except that it can't be deleted.
A column containing a link to something else. The link can either be a link to a file on your Pocket PC or a URL to a Web site or an E-mail address. When you click the link in the list column, the link will be opened appropriately. You can only change the name of a Linked column.
A long string field. It is only used for the predefined Notes column, and you can only change its name. Even if it isn't displayed as a column, it can be displayed in the list note pane.
An integer or decimal number. The column is checked for a valid number, and can only use digits, a decimal point and a minus sign.
When you select Modify..., you get the column properties dialog shown below.
Number Column Properties
The Calculation option allows for manual entry or a calculated entry. If you choose a calculated value, the calculations allowed are A+B, A-B, AxB or A/B using two other Number columns. The result of one calculation can't be used as input to another calculation, so don't expect to replace Pocket Excel. Also, items used in calculations may have restrictions on how you can modify them. For example, attempting to change the Calculation property for a Number used as input to a calculation from None to anything else gives the error shown here.
Number Column Dependency Error
It might be better to simply gray out the Calculation, A and B fields for Number columns used as input to a calculation similar to the Format property for Date columns.
There are a couple of enhancements that would be nice. First, there should be a Form option for numbers (similar to that for Date columns) which would allow choosing integer-only or decimal numbers. Second, there should be a Foramt option that allowed expressing Number columns as currency (based on your Pocket PC's Regional Settings) and allowed displaying or hiding grouping separators (for example, 123,456 or 123456).
There are two predefined Number columns — Priority and Amt — which work differently than user-defined numbers.
The Priority column is a combination of a Number and Category column, with the numbers 1 through 10 in the drop-down list. You can only change the name of the Priority column, but, if you do, the exclamation point column icon will be changed to the name you entered; only a name of "Priority" will display the icon.
The Amt column only allows manual entry of a number. You can also choose to be prompted for an entry when you check the item's Checkbox or set the item's Flag. This is useful for shopping or billing lists.
An arbitrary group of characters. You can only change its name.
There is one predefined String column — Item — which works the same as user-defined strings except that it can't be deleted.
An item which can be either on or off, representing a Yes or No state. When you select Modify..., you get the column properties dialog shown below.
Yes/No Column Properties
You can select one of ten icon groups for the column, and choose whether to hide the "No" icon.
There is one predefined Yes/No column — Flag — and you can only change its name. Setting the flag can have side effects, such as changing the color of the item or displaying an entry dialog for the Amt column.
- 3 State
Similar to a Yes/No column, but with a third "not applicable" state. When you select Modify..., you get the column properties dialog shown below.
3 State Column Properties
You can select one of ten icon groups for the column.
Finally, pressing the Move Up and Move Down buttons allows you to position the column. Moving a column up means the column will be displayed farther to the left in the List Items view; moving it down will display it farther to the right.
The Settings tab controls some general settings for the list.
List Properties Settings Page
Checking Show alert on list completion will cause a message to display when every item in the list has its Checkbox control checked.
Checking Show item number will display the item's number as part of the Item column. The number displayed will depend on the state of the Ordered List property — for an ordered list, the number displayed is the item's inherent list position regardless of how the list is displayed; for an unordered list, the number is the item's current position in the list.
Checking Ordered List will make the list an Ordered List. This means that each item has an inherent position in the list. Sorting the list will display items in a different order, but won't affect the items' inherent positions. The column headers for ordered lists will have arrows in them displaying which column the list is sorted on; those arrows aren't displayed for unordered lists.
Checking Auto-check parent items will cause a parent item to be checked automatically if all of its child items are checked or unchecked automatically if a child item is unchecked. Similarly, if a parent item is checked, all of the child items will get checked automatically (oddly, unchecking a parent item does not uncheck all of the child items).
The Reset tab controls what happens to various items when you reset the list.
List Properties Reset Page
The Color tab allows you to choose what colors checked and flagged items are displayed in.
List Properties Color Page
The Alarms tab controls whether alarms are active for the list and how and when they activate.
List Properties Alarms Page
Alarms will only fire if Enable alarms for this list is checked and if the predefined Date field has a date. Alarms won't work for any other date fields in the list.
For To-Do lists, you would probably select the Alarms on unchecked items only property.
The Time of day to display alarms option is only active if the Date field is a Date Only field. If the Date field has both date and time, the alarm will be triggered at that time; this option will be grayed out. Alarms don't seem to work at all if the Date field is a Time Only field.
Alarms use standard Pocket PC reminders, as the next image shows.
The item text is shown in the alarm, as is the name of the list containing that item.
One change I'd make is to remove the List Note... action from the context menu; the list note should be a property of the list, and have its own Note tab. The only problem with doing that is that all of the Properties tabs wouldn't fit on the screen, but other programs cope with that by having a control to scroll the tabs. If that's felt to be too ugly, there's room for an edit control on the Settings tab.
If you tap a list in the List view, you'll see the items that list contains.
List Items View
This is the Using ListPro list in the sample file. You can see each item has two columns.
Here's another list that I created. It contains quotations that I wanted to remember, and has more columns (although they aren't all visible).
My Quotation List
In this view, you can see several of the items in the list and their columns. Tapping on the column header allows you to sort the list based on that column. The Quotations list is sorted on the Category column in ascending order; the arrow lets you know that this is also an ordered list.
If you select New, a new entry dialog will be shown. For the Quotations list, this is shown below.
New Quotation Dialog
The entry dialog is identical to a blank Item view, so I won't discuss any more about it here.
The Edit menu is mostly self-explanatory.
List Items View Edit Menu
There are a couple of items that could use some further explanation, however. The Insert New Item action is one of those. This allows inserting an item into the list without hitting New. You can add a new item while still seeing the surrounding list items as the following image shows.
Insert New Item
You can tab to each column in the list and enter data like that.
List Properties displays the properties dialog discussed above.
Fonts allows you to set fonts for the entire list (a default font), or each column of the list. The following image shows the Fonts dialog.
I would actually eliminate the Fonts action. I'd make the default font a property of the entire list, and I'd make the item fonts a property of each item, allowing you to change them using the Modify button on the Columns tab of the list properties dialog.
Reset List will reset the list to its intial state (without flags set or items checked, depending on the list's Reset settings).
Most of the items on View menu don't need any explanation.
List Items View View Menu
However, there are some actions that would benefit from a more detailed explanation.
Show Status Bar allows you to display or hide the status area above the menu bar. This allows you to show more of the list.
Show Notes Pane allows you to display or hide the Notes area for the list. If you are not displaying the Notes as a column in the list, you may want to have this pane visible.
Show Selection Bar allows you to display or hide the gray area to the left of the list items. That area allows you to select a list item without opening the Item view.
That brings me to one of my biggest issues with ListPro. I wish the user had the option to decide whether a single or double tap would open another view. In the PC version of ListPro, it takes a double click to open the Item view. It took me a while to discover that you could avoid the Item view opening by tapping in the selection area.
For example, when I wanted to see the list note of a list in the List view, I'd tap the list name. Instead of selecting the list and displaying the note in the list note pane, the view would switch to the List Items view. Similarly, tapping an item in the List Items view opens the Item view.
I also think that if the Ctl or Shift key is selected, a single tap should always just select the item, not open another view. Multiple selection in the List Items view is more difficult because ListPro doesn't do this. You can tap the Ctl key on the Pocket PC keyboard to allow selecting multiple items, but when you tap an item to select it, it opens the Item view. You have to tap in the selection bar to get the multiple selection to work. Similarly, tapping the Shift key allows selecting a range of items, but tapping the item to end the range opens the Item view unless you tap in the selection bar.
Sort By... allows more flexible sorting than tapping on the column header does. You can sort the list on up to three columns, as the next image shows.
The Ordered List action displays a secondary menu with two option — Remove Sorting, which removes any sorting done on the list and restores the list to its inherent order, and Reorder List, which changes the inherent order to match the current sorting.
The Filter action displays the filter area, the gray bars under the column headers in the image below.
List Items View With Filter Area
Tapping on one of the filter bars will display a filter dialog (for complex column types) or a drop-down list of filter options (for simpler column types). The dialog will have different options depending on the column type selected. The following image shows the filter dialog for a string column.
String Filter Dialog
The after applying the filter, you'll see the image shown below.
List Items View With Filter Applied
After applying the filter, the Filter action is changed to Remove Filter. Both the Remove Filter and Clear Filter actions will display the entire list, but they have slightly different effects. Remove Filter hides the filter bars and shows the entire list, but if you select Filter again, the filter you previously set will be applied again. Clear Filter displays the entire list by clearing any filter criteria set, but the filter bars are still displayed.
The Tools menu contains several options.
List Items View Tools Menu
Find... obviously allows you to find items in the list. If you select it, you'll see the dialog shown below.
Selecting Find Again allows you to find the next item that matches your search criterion.
Import from File... allows you to import items from comma-separated variable (CSV) or tab-delimited text (TXT) files. If you choose this action, you'll get the dialog shown below.
You can choose the order to import the data and whether you import the first row or not. If the first row contains header information, you probably won't want to import it.
Export to File... allows you to export list items to comma-separated variable (CSV), tab-delimited text (TXT) or indented text (TXT) files. Choosing this action results in the dialog shown below.
File Export Dialog
You can choose the order to export the data and whether you export column names as the first row or not. If you're exporting to a spreadsheet with row headings, you probably will want to export them.
You can also choose whether all of the items are exported or just those showing in the list.
Export Items to List... allows you to export list items to another ListPro list. Selecting this displays the dialog shown below.
List Export Dialog
This is very similar to exporting to a file, but you must specify a list name. You can choose the order to export the data and whether all of the items are exported or just those showing in the list.
Flatten Outline... allows removing the hierarchy in a list while still preserving parent/child relationships. Preserving the relationships allows you to revert back to the hierarchical list.
Consider the hierarchical task list shown in the image below.
Hierarchical Task List
Selecting Flatten Outline... will display the dialog shown here.
Flatten Outline Dialog
Flattening the list adds one new column for each child level in the hierarchy. This list had one child level, so there will be only one column created (called Parent).
The resulting list will look like the following image (the Parent column isn't visible here).
Flattened Task List
Why would you do this? If you wanted to sort on the Responsible column to see who had what tasks, you wouldn't get the result you wanted in the hierarchical list; items would only be sorted within their parent tasks. Flattening the list allows you to sort properly on any column.
Selecting Unflatten Outline... allows you to revert back to the hierarchical list. It will display the dialog shown here.
Unflatten Outline Dialog
Category Values... allows editing the category values for any category column types in the list using the following dialog.
Category Values Dialog
This allows you to create templates with categories already assigned even if no such items are in the list. It also allows deleting unused or unwanted categories.
Display Totals... allows displaying subtotals and totals. When selected, the following dialog is displayed.
Display Totals Dialog
The For drop-down list allows you to select what column is totalled. The By drop-down list allows you to display subtotals to group by. The check boxes allow you to only total items that are checked, flagged and/or showing.
One thing that should be added to the Tools menu is a dialog showing column dependencies. Because the user can't change some columns that are being used by calculations in other columns, there needs to be some way to show what columns are used in calculations. Here's an example of what the dialog would look like.
If you tap and hold an item, you'll get the context menu shown here.
List Items View Item Context Menu
Most of the items here are self-explanatory, but some further explanation will help with a few of these.
Edit In Place allows you to modify the value of the column you tapped directly in the list. This is similar to how Insert Item works, but you're editing an existing entry, not creating a new one.
Item View simply displays the Item view for the selected item. It is equivalent to just tapping on the item.
AutoFilter filters the list based on the value of the item in the column you tapped. For example, in the Quotations list, if you tap and hold an entry for "Jefferson, Thomas" in the Author column, selecting AutoFilter will cause all of Jefferson's quotations to be shown. If you tap and hold the same entry in the Category column, selecting AutoFilter will cause all of the quotations with the same category to be displayed.
The Branch menu contains items that allow you to expand and collapse branches in a hierarchical list, and to select all of the children for a selected parent.
Highlight displays a submenu of colors to set the background color of the selected items.
You can also tap and told a column header, which gives the following context menu.
List Items View Column Context Menu
The function of each item should be fairly obvious. Several of them replicate functions discussed previously.
If you tap an item in the List Items view, you'll see the Item view for that item. This displays the details for an item in tabular form, and is the place where you'll usually edit an item.
This is an entry from my Quotations list. You can see each item has several fields.
The Indent field tells you what level the item resides at in an outline-style hierarchy. For lists with only one level, the indent is zero.
The HLT (highlight) button displays a menu of colors that you can choose to set the background color of an item in the list. This is shown below.
Item View Highlighting
Notice that the button is helpfully displayed in the current highlight color.
If you tap the Add menu item, you'll get an empty Item view to add another item to the list.
Tapping the left or right arrows takes you to the previous or next item in the list, subject to the current sorting and filtering.
Tapping the i (information) button gives a simple message box indicating how many items are showing and how many are in the full list. An example is shown below.
Item View Information
If you tap the Duplicate menu item, a new item will be added to the list with same information that was in the item you were looking at. This is useful when adding several items with similar information.
I'd add two things to the Item View. First, double tapping in the Field column should display the column properties for the item tapped. This would display the same properties dialog shown when the Modify button is pressed on the Columns tab of the list properties dialog. Second, tapping and holding in the Field column should display a context menu with Hide and Column Properties actions.
So how does it all fit together? I thought I'd show you a list I created that takes advantage of many of ListPro's capabilities.
Consider a wedding videographer who has to deal with multiple weddings. Each wedding has a group of places to shoot video, a group of people to get in the shots and a list of services contracted for. I've created a list file to illustrate how somebody might use ListPro to keep track of this.
First, I created a Weddings list file. There is a folder for each couple getting married in the file. For each couple, there are Places, People and Services lists. An example is shown below.
Wedding List View
The Places list contains items for each location where the videographer will be shooting.
Places List Items View
Places Item View
The columns include:
- A check box to indicate when shooting at each place is complete
- A date and time field to indicate when shooting starts
- The name, address and phone number of the location
- An alarm indicating when to leave to get to the location
- Notes for any special requirements at the location
The alarm column probably isn't necessary; you'd likely use the standard Pocket PC Calendar to block the time out for something like this, and you could set the alarm there.
The People list contains a list of all the people the videographer will want to talk to or get in shots.
People List Items View
People Item View
The columns include:
- A check box to indicate when a person's shooting has been completed
- The last and first names of the person
- The role the person plays in the wedding (for example, bride, groom, guest, etc.)
- The relationship of the person to the bride or groom
- The side of the family the person is on (bride's, groom's, both or neither), with the record highlighted in pink for the bride and blue for the groom
- A link field to any photo of the person
- Notes for a description of or any interesting facts about the person
You could use the standard Pocket PC Contacts application for this, but chances are you won't use many of them again, so cluttering your contacts list might not be a good idea. Also, you wouldn't be able to see all of the important people for a given wedding easily unless you created a category for each wedding. Again, this seems like overkill.
The Services list contains a complete list of the services offered, and lets the videographer see which ones the client has chosen, as well as how much the client will owe.
Services List Items View
Services Item View
The columns include:
- A flag to indicate whether the service was contracted for
- A check box to indicate when the service is complete
- The name of the service
- The quantity and units of the service contracted for (hours, copies, etc.)
- The cost of the service
- Notes for any special requirements for the service
Each serivce that the client has contracted for is flagged. When you complete the service, you can check it off.
This has several of advantages over the standard Tasks application.
It's easy to see which services were contracted for and which weren't.
It's easy to see all of the tasks needed to do the wedding video in one place, without having to add categories for each wedding. You could also add sub-tasks for each main task by indenting other list items, giving you a hierarchical task list. Applications like Pocket Informant can do that, too, but everything is in one place here.
It's easy to see how much the client owes by pressing the Flag button to only show flagged items, as the next image shows.
Notice the Sum line near the bottom now says 2000 instead of 2300. That shows that the client owes $2000.
It's easy to see how many copies of the final video were ordered in each format.
ListPro includes a help file, the index of which is shown here.
It doesn't cover everything in the program, though. For example, I didn't see any information about import and export in the help file. It also sometimes refers to the Windows help file. The desktop help is fairly extensive, but I don't know if you get that if you don't buy the PC version of ListPro.
There is also a complete user's guide available to download.
You can buy ListPro from the Ilium Software Web site. The ListPro product page is the best place to start. ListPro 4.0 costs $19.95.
If you want a version which also runs on your PC, you can buy ListPro (Professional Edition) for $29.95. That includes the Pocket PC and PC versions of the programs. I didn't cover the PC version here, but here's what it looks like.
ListPro PC Version
Ilium also offers a bundle called Ilium Essentials, which includes ListPro (Professional Edition), eWallet (Professional Edition) and DockWare Pro for $44.95. I bought this in September 2003.
There is a 30-day free trial available for all versions, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. Ilium offers free upgrades for 90 days and toll-free technical support. If you had a previous version of ListPro, but aren't eligible for a free upgrade, you can upgrade on one platform for $10 or two platforms for $16.95.
NOTE: In the interests of full disclosure, Ilium provided me a free copy of ListPro 4.0 (Professional Edition) for this review. I wasn't eligible for the free upgrade because I bought the Essentials package about 4 months before ListPro 4.0 was released — slightly outside of their 90-day upgrade period.
Even if you don't want to create your own lists, Ilium has a List Exchange, a Web page where you can get free lists. Some are templates for adding your own information, like collections, while others don't require you to add any information, like a list of area codes.
There are a few minor problems in ListPro 4.0, and several improvements I'd suggest. I'll start with the problems.
Improve the new list wizard. At least give the user the option to enter a list note on the final screen where the list's name is entered. Allowing setting other properties would be even better.
Do not switch views on a single tap. Single taps are for selection, not execution.
As many people may like this behavior, and because it has worked like this for a while, I'd suggest adding a preference to control whether a single tap or double tap would switch views. Also, if the Ctl or Shift keys are pressed, a single tap should always just select the item.
Clean up the user interface regarding the Tools menus. Items that apply to the whole program should be located in the File view, not the List view.
Alarms don't work for Date columns set to Time Only. I would have expected the alarm to go off every day at the appointed time.
Make the list note a property of the list, not something you set with a separate action.
Make the default font setting a property of the list and the column font settings a property of the column.
Add more information to the help file. Some features, like import and export, aren't particularly intuitive and could use help. (The features were explained well in the manual, though.)
There are also a few things I would suggest to improve ListPro.
Display a column's properties dialog when the user double taps in the Field column of the Item view. Also provide a context menu when the user taps and holds in the Field column.
Allow collapsing and expanding all of the folders in the List view with one command.
Improve the alarm capability. I don't see any technical reason that a list item couldn't have multiple alarms, for example. Also, allowing an alarm to trigger some period of time before the time in a Date column would be nice. Both of these could be accomplished by making the alarm time a separate property of the Date column type.
Add a Duration form to Date columns which represents time as simple hours and minutes, not a time of day. Also, allow the Duration form to be used in calcuations.
Add a Form property to Number columns to allow selecting integer or decimal numbers. Also, add a Format property that allows showing currency and allows showing or hiding group separators.
Allow the result of a Date or Number calculation to be used as input to another calculation. I realize this would present an error checking difficulty (you have to avoid circular calculations), but it would be a very useful addition (no pun intended).
Add a dialog showing column dependencies. Because the user can't change some columns that are being used by calculations in other columns, there needs to be some way to show what columns are used in calculations.
Add support for importing from and exporting to the Pocket PC Calendar, Tasks and Contacts applications. This will save people from typing data, and give you the best of both worlds.
Add support for importing and exporting XML files. Tab-delimited text and comma-separated variables are great, but XML is the next big thing.
ListPro was always a good list manager, and it's only gotten better in version 4.0. I had ListPro 3.0 and wasn't eligible for a free upgrade. I don't do a lot with lists, so I probably wouldn't have upgraded to 4.0 if I had to pay; ListPro 3.0 did everything I needed. However, if you work with lists a lot, upgrading may be worth it.
Rating the program on the typical five-star scale, I give it 4.7 stars. There's a reason that it won the Pocket PC Magazine 2003 Best Software Award for List Managers. There aren't many features I could ask for, and even those aren't really important to me. If they added import/export from the Pocket PC's PIM applications and fixed the user interface issues I mentioned, it would get a full 5 stars.
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NOTE: This review was originally written for pocketnow.com.