Fantastical 2: Tom's Mac Software Pick

Keep Track of Your Events

Fantastical 2 calendar app
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Fantastical 2 is the newest version of Flexibits' well-regarded calendar app. In the past, Fantastical was a menu-based calendar app that closely mimicked its iOS counterpart. With the release of Fantastical 2, the folks at Flexibits delivered a new calendaring app that could easily replace the Mac’s built-in Calendar application.

Pro

Supports multiple calendar sets.

  • Can sync with iCloud, Google, Yahoo, or any CalDAV-based calendaring system.
  • Understands natural language to create calendar events.
  • Includes a mini calendar in the menu bar.
  • OS X and iOS Handoff support.
  • Displays maps of where events are to be held.
  • Supports OS X and iOS reminders.

Con

  • Event-centric design.
  • No calendar printing.

Fantastical 2 can easily replace the calendar app supplied with OS X. In fact, you'll likely be better off, especially if you're using Fantastical for iOS as well.

Installing Fantastical 2

Installing Fantastical is as easy as dragging the downloaded app to your Applications folder, although in the strictest sense, Fantastical can operate from any folder you wish to store the app in.

Once you decide on its permanent residency, launching the app will start the initial setup process, which involves adding any calendar accounts you wish to use. By default, Fantastical can use your existing Calendar app and all of the calendars and events you've already set up.

You can also add calendars, including those you may be using with iCloud, Google, and Yahoo!, plus any calendar source that saves or exchanges data in the CalDAV format.

Using Fantastical 2

Fantastical opens with a single window that shows a month view of your calendars. I say calendars because you can create multiple calendars, which is a great help in organization.

You can set up a work calendar and a personal calendar, or calendars for specific events. For example, I usually include a Red Sox calendar each year, to keep track of the team's baseball schedule.

Besides creating as many calendars as you wish, you can also group them in calendar sets. This is an easy way to have related calendars appear within the app. Even better, you can have Fantastical select calendar sets based on location. For instance, when you're at the office, all of your work-based calendars will appear, and when you're home, the family calendars will display. You can manually select any calendar to view at any time, but it's nice to have some of the calendar selection automated.

Fantastical Events

Fantastical has an event-based design that works quite well for many users. The app is broken into two primary panes; the larger of the two displays the calendar in one of four views: Day, Week, Month, or Year. Depending on which view you select, events will be displayed in the calendar in varying degrees of detail. This ranges from the Year view, which shows if a day has any event scheduled, to the Day view, where you'll see an event-by-event breakdown of the day's schedule.

I find the week and month views especially helpful for scheduling and planning events, as I can see at a glance when there's free time available.

The sidebar pane has a dedicated monthly mini calendar at the top. It doesn’t show the same level of detail within the calendar as the larger view to the right, but its advantage is that all the events for the current day and month are displayed in a list view underneath it.

This same mini calendar and event lists is accessible via the Fantastical menu bar entry, which lets you close the main Fantastical display and use the menu bar mini calendar for many of your calendar needs.

You can add events by clicking on a day within the calendar and filling in the event information, or by clicking on the plus (+) sign in the sidebar.

When you use the sidebar to enter an event, you can just describe the event, and Fantastical will pick up on location, names, dates, and times, and set up the event for you. It will even find people in your contact list, and make the names available for sending an invitation using your email app.

Final Thoughts

I really like Fantastical 2; it meets most of my calendaring needs, is able to provide me with the level of detail I need for planning events and making schedules, and can also get out of the way when I don’t need its full capabilities.

It easily syncs with iCloud and Google, the two calendaring apps I tested with it. The only real drawback, at least for me, was the lack of printing capabilities. Yes, I’m a bit old-fashioned and sometimes need to print calendars to put up on bulletin boards or distribute to a few people in physical form.

Aside from the printing problem, I think Fantastical 2 is worth taking the time to try out; it just may replace your current calendaring system.

Fantastical 2 is $39.99. A demo is available.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks

Published: 1/2/2016