Discover how to improve your workflows and get more focus with this free, in-depth guide to productivity. Any calendar app must include those features to be useful in any way. But a useful and effective calendar app requires those features to be well-designed, as well as include other functionality. The original Fantastical for macOS was the best option for quickly adding and reviewing calendar entries. Version 2 keeps all its advantages while adding the functionality of more robust calendar applications.
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There is a lot to like about a number of these calendar apps, but what makes Fantastical stand out is the first item on our list of criteria: For a calendar app, ease-of-use needs to be considered in a few different ways. First, how easy is it to glance at your day, week, or month and quickly get a feel for how your time is going to be spent? Second, and perhaps more importantly, how easy is it to get items into your calendar? Because many calendar apps do a decent-to-good job of displaying your events, we could argue that ease-of-entry is the most vital part of a desktop calendar app.
And I agree: I often use LaunchBar to add events to my calendar rather than Fantastical … but this is a review of the full-fledged functionality of the desktop calendar app landscape. If launcher type utilities are your thing, check out our review. From its inception, the focus with Fantastical was its natural-language parsing, the ability for the user to enter random bits of text into the entry box and the app just figures it out. That has not changed with Fantastical 2.
Although the app is no longer just a menubar utility, the ease of getting items into your calendar is the same. The great part of Fantastical 2 is that for those who loved the simplicity of the first version, you can use it in the exact same fashion. The full fledged app interface never needs to be seen. Indeed, the menubar functionality is now a must-have for a calendar application. I want to be able to glance at my day without having to open the full application.
Fantastical gives me that option and builds on the original experience of the first version to also give the full functionality and bigger long-term views of more traditional calendar apps. Flexibits does the same with its ability to take what you throw at it and turn your words into events that make sense.
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And, as alluded to earlier, ease of use also includes a few other touches. Another way many calendar apps cause frustration is in editing events already in your calendar. Some of our options add friction to the process of editing existing entries, most often in the form of multiple clicks. Fantastical does no such thing. Simply click on an existing event, and update fields as desired.
Other options require you to click a button or double click an entry before field values can be added. Advantage Fantastical! There are a few other common tasks that are thankfully easier than was common several years back. Adding invitees, locations, or notes to a calendar entry is a fairly simple process in Fantastical, BusyCal, and Calendar. In this regard, Outlook adds slightly more friction to the process. No easy task. In this regard, Flexibits has done a laudable job with Fantastical. The problem with many of the apps that place the highest priority on aesthetics, ease of use, and a clean experience is that power features are often sacrificed.
And in most cases, this is a good thing. But applications that can provide a clean user experience and full functionality will rule the roost. No one could ever accuse BusyCal of not delivering on features, but it, and other options, lack the grace of Fantastical. So, when talking about feature sets, this must always be kept in mind. How does Fantastical fare with features in mind? Very well, thank you! It integrates with iCloud and Google accounts, the two most used options for macOS users. Is your Google account configured to use two-factor authentication?
No problem. In essence, desktop calendar applications can be thought of as wrappers.
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The full functionality is dependent on the background service iCloud, Google etc. But each client on macOS integrates with those backend services to differing degrees. Fantastical does a fair job of offering the majority of options that iCloud and Google calendar apps provide.
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However, one feature Fantastical does not include is the ability for users to share their calendars. But, neither do any of the other options we considered apart from Outlook giving you options to share Exchange calendar accounts. Overall, most of the apps considered have parity in this regard. For many comparisons of desktop applications for macOS, cost is not a determining factor, simply because the range of prices is mostly consistent, but with Calendar apps, price does come into the discussion.
This is due to the fact that Apple provides a free option within the desktop OS, but also because Microsoft Outlook is more than 4 times the cost of the other contenders. First, do these third-party applications offer enough advantage over the free app already installed on their computer? Lastly, one consideration when factoring in price to a decision such as this is support. When a Mac user makes a purchase of this nature, choosing a third-party tool over what Apple already provides, you have to consider what kind of company your purchasing power is supporting.
Part of what makes macOS so special is the thriving community of developers. They truly make macOS a better platform as well as iOS , extending what it can do beyond what Apple envisioned. It feels good to support the Flexibits team.
Reciprocal benefit is a beautiful thing! That is with good reason as well. Fantastical has a lot of things going for it. You can add in your iOS reminders, use Google Maps as your default map app when you tap on an address , and it has a beautiful design. Fantastical also has an excellent Today widget for getting quick access to your calendar. It includes a number of different views week, list, month, agenda, etc. The week view is probably the most interesting one.
You can see your entire view from a single screen. It lacks a natural language input, but it does have a Calendar Store.
The store is an exciting add-on. You can add things like weather forecasts, famous birthdays, sports calendars, and more to your list. You can customize the icons it uses, the default new event layout, and the various colors. If you have a lot of events on your calendar, I highly advise you checking out Week Calendar. Calendars 5 is from the folks at Readdle. Calendars 5 reminds me a lot of Fantastical. It has a variety of views: List, Day, Week, and Month. You might be wondering why I am listing the Google Calendar app on an iPhone calendar app roundup. Well, it can show more than just your Google Calendar.
Google Calendars on the web has always been a first class service. The iPhone app is no different. Google Calendar can be download for free on The App Store. BusyCal is probably best known for its long standing macOS app. There is also a companion app for iPhone, though! It contains a similar view to other apps list, month, week, and day.