This tutorial provides instructions for getting started with BusyCal and an overview of its features.
BusyCal is a calendar and to do list manager for OS X Mavericks and Yosemite that can be used as an alternative to the built-in Calendar and Reminders app on OS X.
BusyCal's unique and powerful features include customizable calendar views, scrolling Month and Week views, integrated To Dos that display in the calendar and carry-forward until completed, an embedded Info Panel for quickly viewing and editing events, custom font sizes and styles, graphics, live weather feeds and moon phases, and a menu bar app for quick access to the current day's events and weather.
After installing the BusyCal 30-day trial, or purchasing it, launch BusyCal and you will be presented with the Setup Assistant.
The assistant will walk you through a number of steps requesting permission to perform the following functions:
- Access to Contacts - BusyCal requires access to Contacts for displaying birthdays, meeting invitations, email alarms, and for auto-completing addresses.
- Access to Location Services - BusyCal requires access to Location Services for displaying the weather at your current location.
- Alarms - BusyCal can display alarms for upcoming events when BusyCal is not running.
- BusyCal Menu - The BusyCal Menu shows your schedule in the menu bar, and it allows you to quickly create new events.
- Automatic Backups - BusyCal automatically backs up your calendar data daily. You must select a folder where you would like to store the backups.
- Import Local Calendars - You may import local calendar Events and To Dos from OS X Calendar and Reminders into BusyCal.
After completing the setup wizard, if you were previously syncing OS X Calendar with a cloud-based calendar service, like iCloud, Exchange, Google, or a CalDAV Server, BusyCal will prompt you to enter your account password. Enter your password and click OK and BusyCal will begin syncing with the server.
BusyCal can sync with many calendar servers, including iCloud, Exchange, Google, Yahoo, OS X Server, Kerio, Zimbra, and others. You can add or remove calendar servers by selecting BusyCal > Preferences > Accounts. For more info, see Syncing BusyCal with iCloud, Exchange or Google Calendar.
BusyCal can sync with the built-in Calendar and Reminders apps on OS X through a cloud-based service (iCloud, Exchange, Google, or a CalDAV server). If OS X Calendar is already syncing with a cloud-based service, it should automatically sync with BusyCal once BusyCal has been configured to sync with the same account.
BusyCal will not sync local "On My Mac" calendars with OS X Calendar. The Setup Assistant will allow you to import local "On My Mac" calendars from OS X Calendar, but this is a one-time operation and the local calendars will not remain in sync between BusyCal and OS X Calendar.
BusyCal runs only on the Mac but it can sync with the built-in Calendar app and Reminders app on iOS through a cloud-based service (iCloud, Exchange, Google, or a CalDAV server). If you were previously syncing Calendars between your Mac and iPhone through a cloud-based service, your iPhone should automatically sync with BusyCal once BusyCal has been configured to sync with the same account.
BusyCal will only sync calendars with an iOS device through a cloud-based service. BusyCal will not sync local "On My Mac" calendars with the iPhone, nor will it sync with an iPhone via iTunes.
For more info, see Syncing BusyCal with the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
The Calendar List in the left sidebar dislays a list of your calendars grouped by source:
- On My Mac — Calendars stored locally on your Mac.
- iCloud — Calendars hosted on iCloud.
- Google — Calendars hosted on Google Calendar.
- Exchange — Calendars hosted on Exchange.
- CalDAV — Calendars hosted on a CalDAV server (e.g. Yahoo, Fruux, Kerio, Zimbra, etc.).
- Contacts — Displays birthdays and anniversaries from OS X Contacts.
- Subscriptions — Read-only calendar subscriptions from a WebDAV server, like a Holiday calendar.
You may change the color of a calendar (and all of its events), by control-clicking on the calendar and choosing a color from the Color menu.
BusyCal can display your calendar in Day, Week, Month, Year or List View. Click on the toolbar buttons to change the View.
BusyCal can scroll the calendar view a page at a time or incrementally. Click the navigation arrows to scroll forward/back as follows:
- Click the black arrows to scroll one page at a time (an entire month).
- Click the white arrows to scroll one row at a time (one week).
You can choose the number of weeks to show in the Month View (from 1-12 weeks), by selecting View > Weeks in Month, and choosing from the available options. This is particularly useful when you're nearing the end of the month and want to see what's ahead without having to scroll to the next month.
Likewise, you can choose the number of days to show in Week View (from 2-14 days), by selecting View > Days in Week, and choosing from the available options.
You can customize the appearance of your calendar by choosing a font face and size, time format, and more by selecting BusyCal > Preferences > Appearance, and experimenting with the available options.
For more info, see Calendar Views.
While we're on the subject of customizing the appearance of your calendar, you may have noticed the 10-day weather forecast and moon phases that appear in the calendar. You can customize these settings by selecting BusyCal > Preferences > Weather.
You can choose one of three diefferent formats for the weather graphics — Small, Large, or Background:
And you can display moon phases in three different formats — Realistic, Symbols, or Astrological.
For more info, see Weather.
BusyCal supports the following event types:
- Banner — An all-day event that can span multiple days.
- Event — Event with a start and end time.
- To Do — Task with a due date.
- Undated To Do — Task with no due date.
- Sticky — Floating yellow sticky note attached to a date.
- Journal — A single day event with no start or end time.
To create a new event, double-click on a date in the calendar, select File > New Event, control-click on a day and choose New Event, or type ⌘-N.
You can create other event types using the File menu, by control-clicking, or using command keys.
You can edit event details in the Info Panel.
For more info, see Event Types.
BusyCal includes a non-modal info panel for viewing and editing event details, which can be displayed as a floating window or embedded in the lower right corner of the window. You can open the floating info panel by double-clicking on an Event. Or, you can show the embedded info panel, by selecting Show Info from the View menu.
Here are some shortcuts for entering dates and times in the info panel.
To enter a date of September 1, for example, enter any of the following into the date field:
- 9/1 (or 1/9 depending on your date format in system preferences)
- sep 1
- A relative date like "today", "tomorrow", "friday", or "saturday".
Or click on the Date Picker button to select a date from a mini-month.
To enter a time of 1:30 PM, for example, enter any of the following into the time field:
You can use the up/down arrow keys in the time field to increment/decrement the minutes, or hold down the option key while pressing the up/down arrows to advance by 15 minutes.
If you prefer the keyboard over the mouse, you can create and edit events solely from the keyboard with keyboard shortcuts.
After creating a new event, type Command-Return or Command-I to select the info panel for that event. You may then move between fields in the info panel with the tab key. After editing the event details in the info panel, type Command-Return or Command-I again to commit your changes.
The info panel is customizable. You can choose to show just the basics, or add additional fields like tags, graphics, or even a Timestamp button for inserting the current time into the Notes field.
Tip: Select BusyCal > Preferences > Info Panel, and check "Open info panel for new events", to automatically open the info panel when creating a new event.
For more info, see Info Panel.
In BusyCal, To Dos are integrated into your calendar. To Dos can be displayed in the calendar on the date they are due or displayed in the To Do List in the right sidebar.
To Dos come in two flavors — dated and undated. Dated To Dos have a due date and can be displayed in the calendar. Undated To Dos do not have a due date and can only be displayed in the To Do List.
You may show dated To Dos in the calendar on the date they are due. If a To Do is not completed on its due date, it will carry-forward each day until completed. Once completed, To Dos are displayed with a checkmark on the date they were completed.
You may show the To Do List in the right sidebar by selecting Show To Do List from the View menu.
The To Do List can be sorted by Due Date, Priority, Title, Calendar, Tag, or Manually. You may change the sort order and other preferences in BusyCal > Preferences > To Dos.
You can create repeating To Dos, like a status report that recurs each week.
BusyCal calendars are type-specific. A calendar can contain either Events or To Dos. BusyCal will indicate a To Do calendar by displaying a checkmark next to its name in the left sidebar.
With all that background info behind us, it's time to create a To Do.
Click on today's date in your calendar, then select File > New To Do (or type ⌘-K), to create a new Dated To Do with a due date of today. The To Do will appear in your calendar with a bullet in front of it.
You may drag the To Do to a differnt date, and its due date will change in the Info Panel. Note: If you drag the To Do to a past date it will continue to be displayed on today, because past due To Dos automatically carry-forward to the current date (you can disable that option in BusyCal > Preferences > To Dos).
If you mark the To Do as completed by checking the "done" checkbox in the Info Panel (or typing ⌘-/), the completed To Do will appear with a checkmark in front of it on the date that it was completed.
To create an Undated To Do, select File > New Undated To Do (or type ⌘-U), and the new Undated To Do will appear in the To Do Lst.
Tip: You can control whether or not to display Dated To Dos in the calendar, the To Do List, or both, in BusyCal > Preferences > To Dos. To eliminate redundancy, we recommend displaying Dated To Dos only in the calendar, and Undated To Dos in the To Do List.
For more info, see To Dos.
BusyCal includes a menu bar app that provides one-click access to your calendar Events and To Dos, even when BusyCal isn't running.
To display the BusyCal Menu in your menu bar, you must enable it by selecting BusyCal > Preferences > General, and checking "Show BusyCal Menu in menu bar".
To display the BusyCal Menu click the menu bar icon (it looks like an alarm bell), or type the BusyCal Menu shortcut key, Control-⌘-B.
- Click on an item (or use the arrow keys on the keyboard) to view its details.
- If the item is a To Do, you can mark it as complete by clicking the done checkbox or pressing the space key.
- Click the Show button or double-click an event to open it in BusyCal.
- Create new events using natural language (e.g. Lunch with Joe next Tuesday) in the Quick Entry field on the bottom of the menu.
For more info, see BusyCal Menu.
BusyCal can display alarms for Events and To Dos in the BusyCal Alarm Window, or in OS X Notification Center.
The BusyCal Alarm Window offers several advantages over the Notification Center, including the ability to snooze an alarm for any number of minutes, hours, or days; mark To Dos as completed; see the name and color of the calendar that the event is stored on, and more.
To enable the BusyCal Alarm window, select BusyCal > Preferences > Alarms, check "Show alarms", and select "Use BusyCal Alarm window".
To demonstrate the Alarm function, let's create a new event and attach an alarm to it.
Click on today's date, select File > New Event. Then, in the Info Panel, set the event start time for approximately 2-minutes from now, and set the alarm to "At start".
Then wait a minute or two for the alarm to appear. When it dos, you may Snooze or Dismiss the alarm, or click the Show button to select the event in your calendar.
For more info, see Alarms.
Busycal allows you to add graphics to your calendar to highlight certain dates like holidays and special events.
In BusyCal, select Window > Graphics Panel to display a floating window that displays images you can drag and drop onto your calendar. You can browse through the hundreds of Emoji images built-in to OS X, or type a keyword to search for images on IconFinder.com. You can even drag images into BusyCal from your desktop or from the web.
For more info, see Graphics.
BusyCal can display the birthdays and anniversaries from OS X Contacts in your calendar. Select BusyCal > Preferences > General, and select the Show Birthdays calendar and the Show Anniversaries calendar checkboxes.
A new Birthdays calendar and Anniversaries calendar will appear under the CONTACTS heading and any contacts with Birthdays or Anniversaries will be displayed as Banners in the calendar.
For more info, see Birthdays & Anniversaries.
There are many Holiday and Sports calendar feeds available on the internet from Apple, iCalShare, Yahoo Sports and others that you can subscribe to in BusyCal or OS X Calendar. We provide a list of links to the most common US holiday and sports calendars here.
When subscribed to a Holiday calendar, BusyCal displays the holiday name in gray italicized text on the bottom of the day cell to differentiate it from other event types. Since BusyCal has the ability to display graphics, we created some variations of the US Holidays calendar that include graphics for major holidays. You can subscribe these US Holidays calendars by clicking one of the links below.
Here's what Christmas looks like for each of the US Holidays calendars (no graphics, small graphics, and large graphics) when subscribed to in BusyCal.
For more info, see Holidays.
That concludes the overview of BusyCal. But there's more. Check out some of these other great features:
- Calendar Groups
- List View
- Smart Filters
- New Event Defaults
- Automatic Backups
- Calendar Sharing
For more info, see BusyCal Help.