I have used several applications to keep a Calendar of my daily events. I started out with iCal, which came with my Mac. It is still sufficient but I decided to try other calendars over the years. This list is a compilation of the top 10 calendars I have used the most. I am currently using BusyCal because it has uses the same interface as iCal but has extra features. I am also using MenuCalendarClock, which sits in my menu bar and syncs with my iCal. Continue reading for my top 10 favorites.
ICAL (FREE AS PART OF MAC SYSTEM)
iCal is already pre-installed on your Mac and ready to use out of the box. It has many useful features.
View: there are three different ways to view your calendars in iCal: Day, Week, and month.
Multiple Calendars: You can use several ‘Calendars’ to represent different areas of your life. Don’t forget to color code your calendars so that they don’t become confusing when viewing them all at once.
Sync: with your MobileMe account or to your iPhone through iTunes.
Adding Events: double click on a day you want to add an event and type your event information.
Notifications: set up a notification for either the time of your event or for a certain time period. A pop up will display a screen with details of your event at the time you set the notification. You can also have notifications sent to you by email. These are also known as alarms.
Address Book: is integrated into iCal so that you can send invitations to people from your address book by email and they can respond back to you regarding your invitation.
To Do: allows you to enter items that you need to do but don’t have a set day or time to do it. Click the ‘push pin’ icon in the lower right hand corner and it will display a list of your current To Do items. To add a new item, just right click and select ‘New To Do.’
BUSYCAL (FREE trial/$49 One User or $79 Family Pack)
BusyCal uses the same iCal interface, making it simple to use. There are many other features that make BusyCal very unique. Some of the features you will find in BusyCal are:
Syncing with Bonjour: use Bonjour to sync calendars with others on your local area network.
Syncing with Google Calendar: sync your calendar with your Google Calendar to access from any computer, anywhere, anytime.
Syncing with iPhone: sync calendars with your iPhone through iTunes or MobileMe.
Multi-User: your calendar can be shared and edited with full read-write access and the changes made are synced instantly.
Recurring To Do’s: create repeating To Do’s that display in the calendar view and carry-forward until completed.
List View: customize a list view to sort events by date, event type, calendar, etc.
Live Weather: view live weather forecasts along with sunrise/sunset times, and moon phases right from your calendar.
Sticky Notes: add virtual sticky notes in your calendar and share or sync them with others in your network.
Rich Text: style the events in your calendar with customizable fonts, sizes, styles and colors.
MICROSOFT ENTOURAGE (Part of Microsoft Office:Mac 2008)
Entourage is part of the Microsoft Office:Mac 2008 package. The calendar is part of the email, address book, and project management included in Entourage. It is a decent Calendar application but does not sync with iCal or with Google Calendar.
Views: Day, Work Week, Week, and Month views. The default view shows one work week.
Custom Calendar Views: You can filter the settings to create a custom calendar view.
Mini Calendar: see a quick view of the current and upcoming months by clicking on the arrow on the bottom left-hand side of screen.
To Do List: you can view and manage To Do items here.
Color Coding: you can color code events by category or event.
MOZILLA LIGHTNING (THUNDERBIRD) FREE
Lightning is part of an add-on for Mozilla Thunderbirds email client.
Views: include day, week, multi-week, month, and task views.
Tasks: you can add or edit tasks by clicking the task button or just click on the ‘Click to Add a New Task in the Task window (if open). If the Task window isn’t open, click on the ‘Today Pane’ button in the status bar.
Add-Ons: since Thunderbird is a part of Mozilla, and Lightning itself is an add-on for Thunderbird, you can also add other add-ons for use with Lightning.
PREMINDER (FREE during BETA may become Shareware)
This is a different type of calendar app which uses multiple windows instead of one window. It takes a bit of getting used to, but has many features that would be nice if it were incorporated into iCal like the scrolling views and spans. Since it is currently free, I’d hate to see it go to Shareware status. Also, there is no syncing with Google Calendar.
Views: You can switch between weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, yearly and multi-week views in the calendar window.
Reminders: a reminder for one day is able to show text in different fonts, colors, and sizes. You can even display small images.
iCal Import/Export: Save your calendar to a file in iCal, then import it to PreMinder (you can also import any standard vCalendar file type).
Import Birthdays: Birthdays stored in your Mac OS X address book can be imported directly into PreMinder and create an alarm for them. PreMinder also will calculate people’s ages for you if necessary.
Click and Type: click on a day that you want to add an event and just start typing (you will see the type in the large central field in the Reminders window.
Spans: create multi-day events with a simple drag and drop. Adjust the days by dragging the edges or move around the Calendar window.
Repeating Events: you can define events that repeat over a period of time or indefinitely.
Scrolling View: scroll through the months of the year and show the end of one month at the start of another in your month view. There are also month indicators in the scrollbar to show you where you are and where to scroll to.
Fast Time Travel: jump to any point in time with buttons that let you glide between months or years. Use the scrolling slider at the top of the Calendar to go to any month of the year and push the slider to the edge to scroll into the next year. To return back to today, click on the Target button.
MENUCALENDARCLOCK (menubar calendar) FREE/$19.00
This is a very handy application that sits in your menu bar. It has some really cool features, especially adding an event without having to open iCal. They offer a free version which has limited capabilities.
Font: the font, style, and color along with where to display the MenuCalendarClock icon are in the Preferences.
Navigation: navigate between months using left/right arrow keys.
To Do: click on the button that has lines in it next to the ‘X’ to view your To Do items in iCal.
Add New Event: click Control+N and it opens a panel to enter new event information which will then be placed in iCal.
Add New To Do: click Control+K which opens a window to enter a new to do item which is also placed in iCal.
Search: if you want to do a search, click Command+F and it will add a spotlight search bar in the display. Type in your query and it will display the information if available.
Hover: when you hover over the menu bar icon, it will display upcoming events.
NOTE: you will probably want to disable your OS X time/date display through the Date & Time pane in your System Preferences.
GOOGLE CALENDAR (online) FREE
Out of all the online calendars, I like Google Calendar the most. Especially since I am able to sync with my BusyCal (or iCal) calendars. Not to mention that I use GreaseMonkey and Stylish user scripts to tweak the interface to my liking.
Views: Google Calendar offers Day, Week, Month, 7 Days, and Agenda views.
Create Event: click on the Create Event in upper left-hand corner of the screen. Fill in all the information and Save.
Quick Add: use for quick event entry.
Scrolling: to view other months, scroll up or down to desired month.
Colors: change the colors of the different calendars set up.
Add Other Public Calendars: by going to settings, Browse Interesting Calendars at the bottom of the settings. The next window will display a list of available calendars you can subscribe to.
Tasks: are located on the right side of the screen. If it is not open, click on Tasks from the left hand of the screen and it will open on the right of the main calendar view.
Drag and Drop: move events that you have changed to a different date by dragging and dropping into the new date.
Import/Export: from Settings, then Calendars, you can import/export your Google Calendar.
YAHOO! CALENDAR (online) FREE
Yahoo! Calendar is fairly decent but doesn’t have as many features as Google Calendar. It has a bland appearance to me, but others swear by Yahoo! Calendar. So it is all in the preference of the user.
Views: offered in Yahoo! Calendar are Day, Week, Month, Year, Event Lists, and Tasks.
Add Event: click Add Event in upper left-hand corner of screen. Fill in the information in the next window and hit Save or Save and Add Another button.
Add Task: located in upper left-hand corner next to Add Event. Fill in your information and hit Save or Save and Add Another button.
Search: events from the search bar located under Tasks on the left hand of your screen.
Photos: can be added above the mini calendar for inspiration.
Import/Export: to Palm Desktop or Outlook. No syncing with Google Calendar or iCal.
Sharing: with friends or anyone, event sharing private, shown as busy, or public or by sending your URL of your calendar with friends by their Yahoo! ID.
Print: your calendar by clicking on the Printable View in the upper right-hand side of your screen.
WINDOWS LIVE CALENDAR (online) FREE
(Works with hotmail or live account – Part of MSN.com)
Fairly decent calendar. Again, I think it could use more though. Also, I am unable to share between my iCal calendars.
Views: offered are Day, Week, Month, Agenda, and To-do List.
Add Event: by clicking on the New button above the calendar, then select ‘Event’ and fill in your information in the pop up window.
Add To-do: by clicking on the New button above the calendar, select ‘To Do’ and fill in your information in the pop up window.
Birthday: added by clicking on the New button above the calendar, select ‘Birthday’ and fill in your information in the pop up window.
New Calendar: by clicking on the New button above the calendar, select ‘Calendar’ and fill in your desired information in the next window provided.
Import/Subscribe: to another calendar by clicking on the Subscribe button above the calendar and fill out the information on the next screen.
Sharing: by clicking on the Sharing button above the calendar and either selecting ‘don’t share this calendar (private)’ or ‘share this calendar.’
Print: by clicking on the printer icon above the calendar.
30 BOXES (online) FREE
This is a cool online calendar which has some cool features added in. I like that it allows you to share your calendar with Buddies and the ability to incorporate social networking. Add this to the Google Calendar and it would be awesome.
View: 30 boxes in view which can be changed to 4, 5, 6, or 8 weeks. You would still see 4 weeks on the screen but you would scroll down to see the other 4 weeks. You can also change views by clicking on the View button in the left hand side of screen and scroll down to View and select either Day, Week, Agenda, Webtop, or Map.
To Do: Click the check box in the upper left hand corner of the screen and start typing out your to do list. It will then show a number in the top right corner of the icon indicating how many to do items you have in the list.
Messages: There is a little box next to the check mark which indicates if you have any messages waiting.
Buddies: you can add buddies to share your calendar with and this icon will display if any of your buddies have made any updates.
Facebook: icon allows you to update your information with your facebook account.
Find: button gives you a search bar to find people.
Share: gives you a multitude of ways to share your 30 boxes with others.
Overall, this online application has lots of cool features. I of course still use BusyCal the most out of all the items listed.
As you can see, there are many calendar applications to choose from. These of course are the ones that I have used more frequently over the years. They share some common features and others have features that would be great with iCal. I especially like the Google Calendar syncing, the scrolling through the month views, the span views, birthdays from your address book, use of sticky notes, syncing between Mac and a few others. If you have a calendar application that you use that isn’t on the list, feel free to leave a comment and share the wealth with our fellow readers.
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