Alter ($0.99) by Sicknote Software is a nifty tool for turning plain text into to-dos. Ever get an IM or email from your boss, your spouse, or anyone else listing a series of tasks for you to complete? Instead of reading through paragraphs trying to pick out the important parts to add to your to-do list, Alter is here to make things a little easier.
All you’ll need to bring to Alter is some text on your iPhone’s clipboard. After hitting the add button, the app will do the rest, importing whatever text you’ve brought and separating sentences into tasks. At this point, it’s really easy to pick out the important parts and save them as to-dos.
Alter will begin by displaying the text you paste in paragraph format, followed by putting gray bubbles around each sentence detected. From this point, you can tap the list button in the bottom right corner to actually see the series of tasks derived from the text.
Once in Alter’s list view, you can swipe across tasks to mark them as complete or hold down for more options like merging or deleting all together. Functionality like this means that, after pasting your text in, it only takes a few taps to organize a to-do list.
Remember how I told you that using Alter will make things a little easier? The keyword there was little. While the app does a fantastic job at creating and actually using to-do lists, the functionality that it has beyond this point is lacking. Not only are you trapped in the Alter app to manage your to-dos, but you can’t import text to create another list without wiping out everything else you have in there. I think the developer definitely could have implemented exporting to a wide variety of to-do apps from OmniFocus to Clear – both of which feature publicly-known URL schemes.
Given Alter’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not it’ll be worth your time. If you’d like to organize paragraphs of to-dos into an easy-to-manage list in little time, Alter might be a great solution – especially if these lists are often temporary. However, if you plan on importing more than one list at a time or exporting to-dos to other apps, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
For $0.99, you can find Alter on the App Store for iPhone.