If you’ve seen the movie "27 Dresses," you remember the scene where Jane realizes she’s lost her planner, or “date book.”
As a perpetual bridesmaid, she was constantly attending fittings, showers and ceremonies and had everything meticulously written in this book. Without it, she was panicked, knowing some obligation was likely to slip through the cracks.
One shtick of this movie romance, problematic as it may have been, was Jane’s refusal to join the rest of society by recording her plans digitally. Not to spoil the ending, but she eventually does succumb when her love interest gifts her a Blackberry phone. A little much for an early relationship gift, but you see where we’re going with this: Digital is inevitable.
In a fast-paced society, plans are constantly changing. Meetings are rearranged and parties are rescheduled and gym classes are canceled. As opposed to scratching out or erasing plans in the heavy paper planner that weighs down your purse or briefcase, consider a digital calendar tool. E-calendars provide for simple switches and no scratch-outs, and allow you to share your plans with friends and family.
If you're ready to take the digital calendar plunge and become better at time management, check out the options.
The following calendar tools are either free or free for a trial and can help your ever-changing agenda stay organized in one place.
Microsoft Outlook is an email management tool that has an accompanying calendar feature. With this in mind, users can easily navigate from email discussions to their calendars, quickly recording meeting dates and other obligations.
Outlook lets you share calendars with clients or colleagues, making important dates accessible and visible to those whom you give permission. It is accessible on iOS, Android or Windows devices and can even work on MacBooks.
“It provides my e-mail, contact/address book, and my personal and professional calendar all in one place,” wrote one user in their Microsoft Outlook review. “The notifications are invaluable to me when I am working on other things. If I am traveling to a location of a user in my ‘people’ contact the system will give me a map to the location with a simple click of the button. The ability to determine the availability of others in the company when they use their calendars is invaluable when scheduling meeting.”
Outlook has gone through many iterations and is currently on Outlook 2016. It offers support for file sharing, keyword suggestions and allows users to create collaborative groups within the platform. It is a hub for efficiency, productivity and smoother business operations.
Outlook includes the following features: Email, Calendar, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business Microsoft Teams, and Yammer.
Outlook includes the following integrations: Salesforce, Brainshark, RingCentral, and Smartsheet.
A one-month trial is free for those using Outlook personally. Beyond that, it’s anywhere from $79.99-$119.99 annually, depending on the package. Businesses pay per user, per month. The most basic plan for Office 365 Business is $8.25 per user per month. The Office 365 Business Premium costs $12.50 per user per month. To purchase Office 365 Business Essentials, users pay $5.00 per user per month.
Google Calendar is one of many G Suite tools existing to bring organization and ease of communication to business scheduling. Google Calendar is available to anyone with a Gmail email address. It allows users to create and share events, invite colleagues and prospects to meetings and create shared calendars between teams.
This product also offers event reminders so users are never overlooking an interview or professional phone call. Users can also publish their calendars online for greater accessibility. Google Calendar also integrates with other tools such as Zoom, which is helpful in getting external contacts to call the right number at the right time.
“There are so many features that I like about Google Calendar but my favorite feature is that it is compatible with all of my other Google programs,” wrote Ava P. in their Google Calendar review. “For example, when an appointment is emailed to me via my Gmail, I have it set up so it is automatically synced to my Google Calendar. Also, if I add an event to my Google Calendar, I'm automatically able to access the address in my Google Maps navigation application - making it so easy to navigate and convenient because I'm not typing in the same appointment over several applications.”
Google Calendar features include: Calendar Scheduling, Invitations, Shared Calendars, Reminders, Room Booking, and Sync Calendar with a Phone or Tablet.
Google Calendar integrates well with: Zoom, All Google Products, Trello, Zapier and more.
G Suite is free for 14 days. Gmail and the accompanying features are free for independent users who do not wish to exceed 30 GB of storage. For the basic plan, cost is $5 per user per month. The business plan costs $10 per user per month. Enterprise edition costs $25 per user per month. There is a team pricing that costs $10 per user per month.
Calendar, is a new calendar app that is made to help individual professionals, teams, and businesses become more productive and work smarter.
The Calendar app uses machine learning to help optimize your calendar based upon actions you've taken to make your experience unique to you. The tools includes features such as one-click scheduling, recognition of time zone, meeting transcriptions, meeting analytics, and more.
“Calendar makes my life so much easier. A simple calendar app that manages my multiple calendars is a huge benefit. Also, it's reliable and it works. Half the time my current calendar app doesn't send me notifications or reminders. It's so frustrating. Calendar is great for any business owner, entrepreneur or leader. I love it for my freelancing business, and also for my corporate calendar” -Andrew T, Calendar Review
The Calendar beta includes quick scheduling, multi-team member scheduling, SMS and e-mail notifications, auto time-zones, meeting transcripts, reminders, meeting analytics, CRM integrations, and machine-learning capabilities.
Calendar integrations include: Gmail, Office 365, Outlook, iCloud, CRMs.
Calendar has multiple pricing tiers including a free offering, as well as a Pro ($10/ month), Business ($12/ month), and Enterprise offering.
Apple Calendar, or iCal, is the calendar offering by Apple Inc. that runs exclusively on macOS desktops and iOS operating systems. This calendar is, unfortunately, unavailable on Windows computers.
Apple Calendar can also be used to share calendars and invites with friends and colleagues. This calendar can give you desktop or mobile notifications with customizable frequency. This allows users to determine what they’re reminded of and when.
Apple Calendar is separate from the iCloud calendar, although the interfaces are the same. Those who have an Apple ID have access to a calendar within iCloud, although the events saved on one calendar are not automatically uploaded to another.
“The feature that I like best about Apple Calendar is that it is compatible with the Mail program on the Apple interface,” wrote Samuel L. in their Apple Calendar review. “This is so convenient because whenever an event or meeting is emailed to Mail, it automatically syncs to my Apple Calendar. That's right, Apple Calendar automatically recognizes events sent to my Mail and adds it to my Calendar. It is so convenient and time saving. I also like that when I create a recurring event on Apple Calendar, I'm easily able to go back and edit one occurrence without having to edit the entire series.”
Apple calendar includes the following features: Event Creation, Account Syncing, Reminders, Recurring Events, Color Coding, and Invitations.
Apple Calendar integrations include: Email, Google Calendar, Alexa, Asana and others.
Apple Calendar is free to those who have Apple devices.
Microsoft Exchange is another hosted email tool that offers calendar and contact features. Although it’s also a Microsoft tool, it differs from Outlook. Exchange can be deployed as either an on-premise solution or accessed via the cloud. Organizations can also deploy both types of solutions, if that’s what fits their needs.
Exchange has many features that help organizations keep track of overflowing inboxes. It allows you to create collaborative groups that can tackle large volumes of work together. It also makes it easy to co-author and share files, furthering your company’s efficiency.
“I like the appearance and ease of use for both the email and calendar features,” wrote Sarah R. in their Exchange review. “The email is sleek and easy to use, the calendar is visually appealing. Being able to share my calendar is a useful feature. Also I could not use this product without the multiple accounts feature, which I really appreciate.”
Microsoft Exchange features include: Multiple Accounts, Calendar Sharing, Email, Data Loss Prevention, Group Inbox, File Sharing, Coauthoring, Conversations, Tasks, Schedules and more.
Microsoft Exchange integrations include: SharePoint, Skype for Business, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive for Business, Yammer, Microsoft Teams and more.
Exchange Server 2016 is free for a 180-day trial. Pricing after that varies from $4.00 per user per month to $12.50 per user per month.
TimeTrade is an online appointment scheduling software. It has editions for individuals, businesses and enterprises. The platform is designed to help you capture customers as they’re most interested in your product or organization and get them onboard.
“I love TimeTrade for the way it integrates into Outlook,” wrote David D. in their TimeTrade review. “I often do projects where I need to do a lot of interviews, so I can set it up so that when I send out invitations I don't need any back and forth on email to set up an appointment. I just add the custom link into my email and the interviewees choose their own time using parameters I set for my own convenience.”
TimeTrade features include: Appointment Scheduling, Queue Management, Reporting, CRM Integration, Appointment Routing, Central Administration, and Pooled Resource Scheduling.
TimeTrade includes these integrations: Salesforce and other CRM solutions.
Product offers a 15-day trial. Beyond that, users pay $49 per person per year for individual use. Business and business plus plans cost $149-$300 per year. Scheduler for Salesforce costs $350 per year. The enterprise edition pricing is available upon request.
IBM Notes is an email client for enterprise organizations. Its homepage says it integrates social collaboration, messaging and business applications into a single workspace. It has features for emailing, calendaring and managing contacts. IBM Notes is a cohesive collaboration tool for tasks and projects, and calendaring is only a single part of that.
“The ability to share calendars with other employees so that I can find them when they're not in their office is really useful,” wrote Drew A. in their IBM Notes review in reference to what they like best.
IBM Notes features include: Email, Calendar, Contact Management, IBM Connections Files and Connections Profiles, and Instant Messaging with IBM Sametime.
IBM Notes integrations include: LiveText, OpenSocial, and IBM Sametime.
IBM Notes offers a free 90-day trial for users to decipher whether it’s the right tool. Users should contact the vendor for additional pricing information.
Silverline Calendar is a tool that allows you to create and customize your own calendars. It allows you to record events, opportunities, campaigns, tasks and custom objects. It has a drag-and-drop interface where events can be cloned and set to recur.
Silverline Calendar is a custom calendar app for Salesforce. It exists to help sales teams and professionals remain in control of their calendar and scheduling. It is even utilized within the Salesforce corporation. It has robust search features and supports group calendaring.
“I love being able to use the calendar view for past, current and upcoming marketing campaigns,” wrote Nancy O. in their Silverline Calendar review. “It's also great to be able to color code different categories. It was a great way to put campaigns into a digestible view for other departments to see what we were doing.”
Toggle Between Calendars, Dynamic Search, Switch Views, Shared Calendars, Create/Edit Easily, Chatter Integrated
Silverline calendar integrates well with Chatter.
This product offers a 15-day free trial. Beyond that, it’s $10 per user per month.
Appointment.one is an appointment or meeting scheduling tool that boasts its simplicity. It can be used for one-on-one conversations or book time for an entire team to meet. It also can be configured to show people’s availability. This is a useful tool for client booking, as it allows them to see open times to meet with your employees.
Attendees enter their information into a form, which in turn creates a calendar event. This helps the meeting leader understand who all to expect on a call or in a meeting.
Appointment.one features include: Teams, Groups, Multi-Calendar, Self-Scheduling, and Create Real Appointments.
Appointment.one integrations include: Common CRMs, Trello or other built-in integrations.
This product is free for basic users. The standard plan is $9.95 a month, and the enterprise plan is $14.95 per month.
Axigen is a business email and communication tool with calendaring capabilities. It allows users to schedule meetings and organize their workflows. Calendars can be shared between users, and the tool can book conference rooms for efficient meetings.
Calendars can be personal or public, depending on their unique nature. Users can also take notes within the calendar tool regarding meeting partners or reminding Bob to bring the forms from HR.
One Axigen reviewer said the product is helping them solve the business problem that entails “the migration of old email server to new.”
Axigen features include: Schedule Meetings and Organize Tasks, Share and Delegate.
Integrations for Axigen are not readily available.
Axigen is free for five or fewer users. Beyond that, users pay annually. The Business Core plan with up to 10 users costs $543 for the first year. The Business Complete Plan for up to 10 users is $630 for the first year.
CalendarX is a calendaring tool that facilitates audience communication. It allows administrators to update a calendar of events so a public audience can remain up to date. Administrators can generate an unlimited number of calendars and give website visitors the opportunity to follow them.
This type of calendaring tool proves useful to towns trying to keep residents updated on events, or companies that want customers to come out and celebrate occasions. Events can be recurring or one-time. Audiences can opt to receive notifications so they never miss a change.
CalendarX features include: Calendar Creation, Follow, Repeat Events, Promotion, Calendar Import, Customization, Interactive Data and Analytics.
For CalendarX integrations, contact the vendor for more details.
This tool is free for hobbyists. Beyond that, users should visit the pricing page for information.
Gone are the days of “penciling people in” and forgetting a day’s worth of activities because a daybook was left at the gym. Digital calendars allow people to keep their schedules on the devices they’re already looking at most hours of the day.
These calendar tools go beyond the standard functions of a planner as well. Calendar apps can be used for online appointment scheduling. Examples of these types of products are Setmore and Teamup.
Out of your price range? Learn more about some of the free calendar tools on the market.
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)
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