Planning ahead and scheduling events is a key step toward enhancing productivity, and ensuring you don’t miss appointments! That’s where calendar apps come to our rescue, to chart our day-to-day tasks and routines. For an app that comes bundled with your Mac, iCal does a remarkable job.
Lately, I’ve found that it has become a common occurrence for us to use plugins and other utilities to complement the functionality of a great app. And iCal is no exception.
After the jump, we have compiled a list of utilities that help enhance the iCal experience – from powerful syncing, right down to a desktop date line, we have you covered!
For those who rely on calendars and address books for a larger part of their professional and personal life, Spanning Sync 3 does not one, but two jobs perfectly.
The app integrates your digital life tightly to the cloud, in particular with your Google Account. All your tasks and schedule from iCal are synced with Google Calendar – and the same with your contacts.
You can sync multiple calendars easily, and can also pair them up with their Google Calendar counterparts. Scheduling intervals and alerts (Email or SMS) can be set from the app as well.
Similarly, all your valuable contacts can be moved from the local disk to Google Contacts, complete with all your fields, notes and pictures. The direction of sync can be adjusted to either merge data, or keep one location read-only.
The idea behind Today is simple. Just keep track of what’s on the cards for today without having iCal open all the time.
It’s true that you can change iCal to “Day View” to show events for the day, but the elegance and simplicity of design make Today a compelling scheduling and task tracking app.
You can create events and tasks directly within the app as well, and everything is synced with iCal.
Bdcalendar performs multiple roles as a calendar, iCal viewer, task manager and address book. The calendar has 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month views (slightly unorthodox, but it might work for you!)
Events with alerts and notes can be created in the app itself. While Bdcalendar tries to do a bit too much, it comes with plenty of instructional videos for you to get your head around how it works.
Sitting in your menu bar, Pluto helps you manage events, tasks, projects and notes efficiently. In addition to syncing with your Mac’s iCal, the app can also be integrated with your MobileMe account.
Pluto’s user interface is streamlined and thoughtfully designed to be a great GTD (Getting Things Done) tool as well. You can sync the notes and projects to an iDisk or Dropbox account to access them from any other desktop.
DateLine deserves a pat on the shoulder for unconventional but brilliant design. A linear calendar is displayed on the desktop, and days with events are highlighted in a contrasting color. Double clicking on the events for the day pops up iCal. Calendar weeks are clearly numbered and marked with dividers.
A notable feature of DateLine is the endless customization possibilities. The app comes with a bunch of color, dimension and font choices to mix things up. For international users, the app is available in a wide range of localized versions.
WeatherCal shows the latest available weather updates and forecast for certain locations. After installation, you can add the locations of weather you’d like to keep track of (if you travel often, it’s easy to add multiple locations).
Forecasts are color coded, and weather conditions have a description accompanied by a tiny climate icon.
Where available, forecasts can be seen five days ahead and they show up as all-day events in iCal. So you can now be better informed while planning your trips!
As the name implies, MenucalendarClock can be accessed from the menu bar! It displays a calendar, with particular dates highlighted if they have scheduled events.
Selecting a day displays the list of events and tasks planned, with the color code of the respective calendars.
The basic functionality is available for free, and if you’re looking for extra features like event management, and birthday syncing from Address Book, the registered version will cost you $19.95.
Looking for a lighter footprint, Anxiety takes the prize. It is a super-lightweight to do list application that synchronizes with iCal and Mail.app. Unlike other apps, it does not show the list of events planned for the day – only the list of tasks.
Anxiety floats on top of all other apps, yet it melts perfectly to the background. Checking off tasks takes them off the list, while double clicking opens either iCal or Mail.app for extended editing options.
Alarms is a fresh take on task management and reminders. The dynamite feature of the app is the ability to add anything – text, files, images, etc – by dragging and dropping them into the timeline.
For example, you can just drag and drop an image from the desktop to a certain time and an alarm is set. When the alarm starts to buzz, look for the task that is due on the To Do column to the left.
Once you check the item off as completed, the alarm stops. A great way to remind yourself of things throughout the day.
As the developers refer, BusyCal is so powerful that you could call it “iCal Pro”. BusyCal can be used as a shared calendar across a local network, and syncs readily with Google Calendar & iCal.
On top of extensive sharing functionality, the app allows you to create to do lists, add sticky notes, view live weather feeds, and much more. Alarms can either be displayed on the menu bar or in a floating window.
Share Your Thoughts!
Although iCal is a pretty solid calendar application in itself, there is plenty of other software that can take it a step further.
Do you use a great iCal-related app yourself? Share it with us in the comments section!
Thanks to CleanMyMac for sponsoring Mac.AppStorm this week! If you’re wanting to free up some hard drive space or speed up your machine, you should definitely take a look at what this fantastic app can do.