ForumsTips & TricksHow to import Palm Desktop (Mac) memos/notes to the Notebook, st

How to import Palm Desktop (Mac) memos/notes to the Notebook, st
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Posted: Oct 18, 2008
Score: 1 Reference
Here are some step-by-step instructions for exporting memos (notes) from Palm Desktop (Mac version) for import into These are based on my travails, posted in other threads, trying to get 300+ notes out of Microsoft Entourage and into Toodledo. It's actually a couple of steps simpler if you're coming from Palm Desktop. I just verified each of these steps as I typed them up, so I'm confident that they work. Toodledo/Appigo Notebook developers, if you want to permanently post these somewhere, please do.

Why all the rigamarole? The first issue is that accepts only CSV (comma-separated values) files for note upload. Palm Desktop for Mac exports only as tab-separated files. (I have Palm Desktop for Mac v4.2.2., so if there's a later version that DOES export CSV, please enlighten me.) You will need to convert the Palm export file from tab-delimited to CSV. The second issue is that you will need to do some editing of the memo body text in order for it to sort itself into the right fields in the importer, and to retain any line breaks/carriage returns/paragraph breaks in the body text of individual notes.

You will need:
a) Microsoft Excel
b) TextWrangler, a free program that is available here: s/textwrangler/download.html

In Palm Desktop, open up your Memo List and choose "Export..." from the file menu. You'll have a choice of which Module to export, which in this case is "Memos." You'll want to choose to export all of your memos. The format you want to use is Tab & Return. Click the "Columns" button, and choose to export only Title, Body and Category 1. Give the file a name and click "Export." The file will be saved as a plain text document.

You are now ready to bring this plain text file into Excel so that you can make some edits and convert it to a CSV file. First, you'll have to make a couple of preparations in Excel:
a) Open up a new workbook, select all of the cells on the worksheet you're on, and choose "Format >Cells...." from the Menu bar. Under "Alignment", put a checkmark in "Wrap Text" in the "Text Control" section. Click OK.
b) In the Excel preferences, choose the "Edit" section and make sure that "Edit directly in cell" has a checkmark. Click OK.

With your new Workbook open, go to the Data menu item and choose Get External Data>Import Text File. Choose the Palm export file from wherever you saved it and click "Get Data." This will open up a Text Import Wizard.

On the first screen of the Wizard, choose "Delimited". Click Next.
On the next screen, choose "Tab" as the type of delimiter. Click Next.
On the third screen, set (or leave) the Column data format as "General." Click Finish.
On the next screen, choose "existing worksheet" and select the top left cell of the sheet as the place your data will start flowing into. Click OK.

All of your notes should now be populating your worksheet. There should be 3 columns, one for the Note title, one for the note body, and one for the Category. Each row is a separate note.

You will notice that, if you had line breaks in the body of a particular note, they have been replaced by a dark paragraph symbol. You will want to turn these back into real line breaks so that your notes look right in and Notebook. The remainder of these instructions explain how to use Excel and TextWrangler to fix this.

In your worksheet, you will need to put double-quote marks ("text text text") at the beginning and end of the text in any note body cell that has line break symbols. This is because the CSV file format will respect line breaks within a cell so long as the text is surrounded by double-quote marks. You can edit any cell directly by double-clicking in the cell. (If the first or last character in the cell is one of those paragraph marks, the double-quotes should enclose those symbols as well.)

Once you've done all that, you'll need to save the workbook as a CSV file. Do a "Save As" and choose CSV (comma delimited) as the file format. Just click on through the "caution screens" that Excel will throw up at you and save, then close the window. You should now have a file somewhere saved with a .csv extension.

Now, you're going to fix those paragraph symbols in the the body text of your notes using TextWrangler. Open TextWrangler and use it to open the CSV file you just created. Now, select one of those paragraph symbols and copy it (command-C). Then, under the Search menu item, select "Find..." In the "Search For" field, paste in (command-V) the paragraph symbol that you copied. In the "Replace With" field, type in \r (backslash r). Then click the "Replace All" button. Then save the document.

The TextWrangler-edited file is now ready for import. Log into your Toodledo account and go to the Import page, then scroll down to the CSV Notebook Import section. Choose the CSV file you just finished editing and click Upload.

You'll be taken to a screen that shows you a preview of how your imported notes will be organized. (If you've done everything correctly in the earlier steps, your ducks should all be in the right rows and columns, and you'll have line breaks in the note body text instead of symbols. If you didn't, the first likely culprit is that you forgot to put a double-quote mark at the end of one of the text cells, which would throw everything off. So you'd have to back up and figure out where you went wrong.)

There will be dropdown menus at the top of each column so that you can pour the notes into the right places. Set the first column as Title, the second column as Note, and the third column (the category from Palm) as Folder. If everything looks right, click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the Window.

Congratulations, your notes should now be in Toodledo, organized in folders that correspond to the categories you had in Palm Desktop! Sync with Appigo Notebook on the iPhone and kiss your Treo goodbye. If the double-quote marks bother you, you can always edit them out in Toodledo, but if you've got hundreds of notes, it's not worth the bother, and you can take them out individually when you have to look at a particular note or change it.

I hope this helps. The same steps need to be taken to get notes out of Entourage, except that you'll first need to use an Applescript from Paul Berkowitz to export the notes from Entourage. It costs a little money for the scripts, and is a bit of a pain, but if anyone is desperate for a step by step on that, I'll post one if I get a chance.

This message was edited Oct 18, 2008.

Toodledo Founder
Posted: Oct 19, 2008
Score: 1 Reference
Great How-To article. Thanks for posting it!

I'll make it a sticky topic so other people can benefit from your experience.

This message was edited Oct 19, 2008.

Posted: Oct 28, 2008
Score: -1 Reference
Thanks for this, jebanks!

I can provide improvements to this process, now that jebanks has started me off. Would anyone be interested? At the very least I can automate the adding of the quotation marks in Excel, meaning it's quicker and less error-prone; I can also remove the extraneous quotation marks in the final files; finally I can ensure that if any of your notes have quotemarks that these are preserved.

I'll have a bit more of a play to make sure my processes act as I'd expect them to, then I will post my extensions to jebanks's guide here.

I haven't made my process "slick" yet; if there's enough interest I should be able to knock up something that does it from start to finish in one step, but it's not worth the effort if it's only me that's interested.

Posted: Oct 28, 2008
Score: -1 Reference
Okay, here we go.

Export from Palm Desktop as tab-and-return, but this time open the file in TextWrangler rather than Excel.

In the Find dialog, perform these search/replaces. Ensure Wrap Around is checked, then type in the values (or copy/paste) and hit "Replace All". For the second search, ensure "Use Grep" is checked; for the others, ensure it is *unchecked*

Find: "
(That's one double-quotation mark)
Replace With: ""
(That's two double-quotes)

Find: ^(.*)\t(.*)\t(.*)$
Replace With: "\1","\2","\3"

Find: \xB6
Replace With: \r

Once you've done that, save the file and import it into ToodleDo as explained by jebanks.

I'm working on a) making this fewer steps and b) handling characters such as tabs and ⌀ (the diameter sign) which I use a lot in my notes, but this should do for now.

[edit - it's two quotation marks, not three]

This message was edited Oct 28, 2008.

Posted: Nov 08, 2008
Score: 0 Reference
Thanks jebanks ... I used your advice to make a similar procedure (below) that applies to Windows PCs running Palm Desktop 4.1 and Excel 2002. May work with other versions. The Windows version of Palm desktop I have does not have a separate title field ... the first line is the title. Also, some of my memos were flagged as private. This procedure handles both cases with Excel formulas. Suggest reading all of the steps before starting.

Conversion of Palm Memos to Notes
12:14 PM 11/8/2008

- Windows Vista Business
- Palm Desktop 4.1
- Microsoft Excel 2002</ul>

1. Export Palm memos to file
- Click on Memo toolbar button to display list of memos
- File > Export...
- - Choose directory and enter file name (e.g. PalmDesktopMemos.txt)
- - Export type: Tab Separated Values
- - Range: All
- - Click OK
- - Fields (leave all selected) ... Click OK
- - Memo, Private, Category will be exported and appear in Excel columns A,B,C
- Note: I tried exporting CSV directly and it double spaced my notes ... so that's why we go first to TSV then to CSV
2. Open TSV file in Excel
- Extract title from first line of memo
- - In empty cell of first row (D1) enter formula =TRIM(LEFT(A1,SEARCH(CHAR(13),A1)-1))
- - Copy formula down to all rows in worksheet
- - Check the worksheet ...
- - - There should be no #VALUE errors ... If there are something is wrong
- - - All entries in the new column should reflect the proper title
- - In next empty cell of first row (E1) enter formula =CONCATENATE(TRIM(C1),IF(B1=1," (Private)",""))
- - - Copy formula down to all rows in worksheet
- - - Check the worksheet
- - - - All entries in the new column should reflect the proper category
- - - - Private entries will have category name followed by " (Private)"
- Save the file as CSV
- - Answer Yes if prompted to keep the file in its present format
- - - Note: You lose the formula entered above but the column's value is saved
3. Go to
- Log in and go to import page
- CSV Notebook Import
- - Click browse and select the CSV file (e.g. PalmDesktopMemos.csv)
- - Click Upload
- - Specify the fields to be imported
- - - Note
- - - (Skip the Private indicator column)
- - - (Skip the Category column)
- - - Title
- - - Folder
- Check the results
- - Note: If you aren't happy with the results AND you started with an EMPTY notebook you can delete ALL notebook entries from the settings menu
4. Sync with iPhone Appigo Notebook (Optional)
- Note: You can reset synchronization data which will clear all entries in the iPhone Appigo Notebook and bring in all from

This message was edited Nov 08, 2008.

Posted: Jun 11, 2009
Score: 1 Reference
Wow! What a timesaver your post would have been "way back" when I was trying to move hundreds of notes from my Palm! Thanks for sharing for the "new" users!

I LOVE toodledo, it helps me keep all kinds of information/documents readily available!

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: -1 Reference
Wow! Many thanks to pdegregorio for those detailed instructions on transferring Palm memos from Palm Desktop (PC) to toodledo. I just wanted to add a few clarifications...I'm not that comfortable with Excel so it took me awhile!

1. Another way to avoid the private records issue is to go to your Palm desktop VIEW menu and select SHOW private records. You'll have to enter your password. All of your files will be imported. (pdegregorio, can you tell what happens to your private records when you import them your way? Are they truly private once imported?)

2. In step 2 of pdegregoio's instructions, I pasted his formula into D1. Then you can use the "fill handle" to copy this formula into the rest of the column. To do this, just grab the bottom right corner of D1 and drag it down the D column until you've selected enough rows. Your titles will magically appear!! :) Glory!!

3. In step 3, don't forget to scroll to the RIGHT! (Otherwise, you'll sit around like me thinking, what in the world is he talking about?!) As he stated, you'll select NOTE for the first column. Then skip the next two columns. Then select TITLE and finally FOLDER.

It all worked like a charm, and I am soooooo happy. The only other program which transfers Palm memos to the iPhone easily is Notespark. (Actually, much easier than transferring to Toodledo, but the Notespark program is more simple and basic than Toodledo/Appigo Notebook).
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