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When it comes to managing life and work, I used to be the kind of person who relied on memory alone. The furthest path I took was writing tasks on a small piece of paper and threw it away after everything was done. Call me disorganized, but somehow I survived.

Update from developers: “FlexCal is no longer being actively updated. We would recommend you check out Fantastical and QuickCal – Oct 07 2010”

But recently, I could barely keep up with everything that happened around me just relying on my biological RAM alone. While I’ve tried several free to do applications Three Free Desktop Calendar Applications For The Mac Three Free Desktop Calendar Applications For The Mac Read More to overcome my anxiety Get Rid of Your Overloaded Anxiety With Anxiety - Mac Only Get Rid of Your Overloaded Anxiety With Anxiety - Mac Only Read More , I couldn’t find free apps that can match the power of Apple’s iCal calendar.

So I chose iCal Calendars to help me manage my life better. One problem though, adding multiple tasks and events to iCal requires a rather lengthy process, including keeping it open at all time. Luckily, there’s FlexCal. This small application which reside in the System Preferences is designed to overcome that very problem.

The installation and settings

The installation process is quick and easy. Double click the prefPane file and choose which users you want to install this app to. Unless you use your Mac with several other users and don’t want the other users to use FlexCal, choose “Install for all users of this computer“.

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Then the System Preferences will be opened. Since FlexCal is still in 32-bit How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems When you install Windows, you can pick between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of the operating system. We help you choose the version that is right for you. Read More , System Preferences needed to be restarted before you can tamper with FlexCal settings.

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There are several things that you should adjust to make FlexCal comfortable to use. First the “Setup” tab. Click the “Start FlexCal” button (obviously) and tick the “Start FlexCal at login” box to make sure that this app will be available at all time.

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Then you need to set your own shortcut to be able to access FlexCal quickly. Click on the shortcut field and press your chosen combination.

Don’t forget to choose which window should be opened every time you hit that shortcut key. If you add Tasks a lot, choose “Task Window“. The same thing goes the other way around. But whichever you choose, it’s not that important (and you’ll see why later on).

Next is the “Advanced” tab. This is the place to further configure FlexCal. You could choose to add an alarm to all new Events and how early should the alarm goes off. You could also choose which calendar should be the default place for all tasks and events, and whether you prefer to use Textual or Graphical style to display the calendar.

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Using FlexCal

Using this app is a only matter of hitting the shortcut key. If you choose “Task Window” as the default, this window will appear every time the key combination is pressed.

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But you could easily change the window to “Events Window” by hitting the combination one more time (and continuously alternate between the two).

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Hit enter after typing the task/event and it will be saved to iCal. To cancel it, use the Esc key.

You could move between the field using the Tab key (forward) and the Shift + Tab key (backward), but you couldn’t edit the “Calendar” and “Priority” drop-down menu without using the mouse. The rodent is also needed to change the style of calendar from Textual to Graphical (and vice versa).

I wish the developer would add the ability to use the keyboard to its full extent so the process of adding Tasks and Events to iCal could be done without the need to lift a finger from the keyboard.

Other than that minor annoyance, FlexCal is something that every iCal user should have.

Do you use iCal calendars to manage your life? Do you know better free alternatives to add Tasks and Events to iCal quickly and easily? Share using the comments below.

  1. Abhishek Modi
    November 9, 2009 at 6:50 am

    This app is really good....saves you from hassle of opening iCal every time. The only thing which I did not like about it (or do not know how to configure it) is I cannot add recurring events - say I need to add something like a birthday which occurs every year.

  2. Neil Smith
    November 8, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    That's is really good! Now my life is complete :-)

  3. Steven Hope
    November 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Nice one! Was a pain always opening iCal.

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