When I’m on Mac OS X, iCal is always my go-to calendar application. It does its job with no fuss, it’s lightweight, and it’s easy to use. Until Lion came about, it looked great too!
In Lion, iCal seems to be stuck in a Marmite-like situation with some of its users liking the new iOS inspired changes and others yearning for a nice metal theme instead. I myself could do without having a piece of leather on my virtual desktop, so I’ve decided to enlist the help of Fantastical: a calendar management app that interacts with iCal, Outlook or any other web based calendar you can use, and sits on your menu bar out of the way until it’s needed.
At £13.99, Fantastical isn’t a cheap, little application that you will download on a whim, but it’s well worth the investment if you use iCal on a regular basis. When installed, it will place a little icon on your menu bar that, when clicked, reveals a simple interface showing you a selection of your upcoming events. You can choose to see events for the next week, fortnight, month and more depending on how hectic your schedule is.
The great thing about using Fantastical is that iCal or your calendar client doesn’t even need to be open for it to function correctly, because it doesn’t rely on the program itself, only the data which it uses. You can view events, search for specific things and even add events right from Fantastical without having any other application open. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a way to delete or edit an event from within the app, so maybe this is a feature which will be included in a future update.
If you want to add an event such as ‘Lunch with Kate’, for example, you don’t need to then go through lots of dialog boxes and choose times and dates, you simply type it in. ‘Lunch with Kate’ becomes ‘Lunch with Kate tomorrow at 1pm at The Stag’, and all of the relevant information is inputted into your calendar. The event’s location becomes ‘The Stag’ and the event places itself tomorrow at 1pm for an hour by default, but you can add ‘for half an hour’ or similar at the end of an event description to change this.