On Monday morning, January 3, 2000, programmers around the world relaxed.
There had been no bank failures; no widespread shutdowns of water, electric and energy systems; and no panic.
The years-long scramble to code computers to recognize four-digit years, thus distinguishing 2000 from 1900, had paid off.
Y2K was history.
Among the many things that didn't occur 23 years ago is EssentialPIM. The personal information organizer that more than one million are using would not be developed for another five years, in 2005. Since then, EPIM has deployed 202 releases of its Windows product, besides developing versions for Android and iOS.
Last year, EPIM for Windows released four major versions—11.5 through 11.8—and 12 minor releases. The Android product, AEPIM, had eight updates for bug fixes and enhancements, starting the year at AEPIM 6.0.10 and ending at version 6.0.17.
We will review in this post how EssentialPIM advanced in 2023 in four broad categories: New functionality, usability, importing and exporting files, and synchronization.
Tasks have long been organized in lists and Notes in trees. Version 11.5 introduced Smart Lists, which group items according to pre-defined filters (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Smart Lists introduce pre-defined categories for grouping Tasks and Notes.
Backing up an EPIM database saw two significant improvements (Figure 2). First, backing up to a cloud service such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox became an option. Second, EPIM added simultaneous backups to a local or network path and an online service, including EPIM Cloud.
Figure 2. Backup options include simultaneous local and online destinations.
Quick Entry was introduced to Notes and Tasks, which allows creating an item without bringing up the standard dialog (Figure 3). As its name suggests, Quick Entry supports the basics and leaves details such as assigning the item's hierarchy for later. Several text formatting options are available as you type, including bold, italic, underline, insert date, and strikeout.
Figure 3. Quick Entry fields allow bypassing the dialog for creating Tasks and Notes.
The just-released version 11.8 supports sending invitations to participants for appointments and tasks. EssentialPIM will process responses for seamless event management. Will will cover this and other features of v11.8 in future posts.
Usability and appearance
In response to concerns of users about the space certain features have used, the EPIM team redesigned dialogs and refined navigation.
Several fields for appointments and tasks have been grouped into a section of the create/edit dialog that can be expanded or hidden (Figure 4), and EPIM will remember the last-used state. You can also switch within the same dialog from an appointment to a task, which saves navigating between the two modules.
Figure 4. The dialog for creating tasks and appointments is interchangeable, eliminating the need to change modules (#1). Various options have also been grouped into a section that you can show or hide as needed (#2).
To streamline navigation, the Letter Bar in Contacts and Passwords has been moved to the left, adjacent to the lists panel. In Notes, you can have the list in a separate panel or, to save space, integrate it within the same column as Smart Lists.
Space savings have been introduced with slimmer panes for The Navigation panel and Smart Lists; the Navigation pane can also be hidden or pinned for permanent extension.
In the Mail module, a Quick Filter bar supports grouping messages according to a variety of pre-defined categories (Figure 5).
Figure 5. New filters support grouping email messages into pre-defined categories.
We discussed in a previous post the importance of a software package being able to import and export content in a variety of formats (see Why EssentialPIM Is My Choice for Notes). EssentialPIM has had this capability from the beginning, and made several enhancements in 2023:
- Import email files (EML) via drag and drop.
- Improved importing events from CSV and iCal (ics) files.
- Export Notes automatically as DOCX when using drag and drop.
- Export all messages from an email account and have them organized into corresponding folders for convenient retrieval. Be aware that EPIM exports the hierarchy at the mail account level, not if you select a folder.
Synchronizing data across devices and services generates considerable discussion in the Support Forum. Accordingly, the EPIM team has continuously adjusted synchronization with EPIM Cloud, Google Calendar, iCloud, ownCloud, Microsoft 365, and Toodledoo.
Options for managing multiple accounts have also been added. You can choose between creating separate accounts or synchronizing with local accounts.
In the next post, we will explore features introduced in v11.8.