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Manage your calendar, completely, from your Mac’s menu bar. Fantastical ($15, 15-day free trial) isn’t just a way to quickly see your upcoming events: it’s a way to never directly look at Apple’s default Calendar app again.

We’ve show you tiny and useful menubar apps for mac 11 Tiny and Useful Free Menubar Applications for Mac 11 Tiny and Useful Free Menubar Applications for Mac Read More , but if there’s one piece of information it’s nice to access quickly, it’s your schedule. Let’s take a look.

See Your Appointments, Quickly

Click the Fantastical icon in the tray and you’ll see a one-month calendar:

fantastical-main

The box at the top-left allows you to quickly add new items simply by typing a description of the event (like “meet with Tim at 7pm Tuesday”). It’s intuitive and fast, so give it a shot. There’s also a search box.

On to the calendar itself. The current day, as you can see, is circled, and days with appointments are indicated with dots (perhaps only useful if some of your days have no appointments). Immediately below calendar are your upcoming events, in a list. This is where the app really shines:

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fantastical-events

You’ll see an agenda-style list of all your upcoming appointments, as much as can fit on the screen. Click a day on the calendar, of course, and you’ll see appointments for that day. Information from Mac’s default Calendar app is supported, meaning you shouldn’t need to do much to get everything set up.

Things are even better if you use Mac’s Reminder app as your default to-do list.

fantastical-reminders

It’s not clear why Apple de-bundled its to-do list from the calendar app – these are usually things you want to look at together. No matter: Fantastical recombines them. Even better, this app puts all that somewhere where it’s always in reach: your Mac’s menubar.

Configuring Is Easy

There’s not a lot in the way of settings here, but there doesn’t need to be. Still, it’s worth nothing that you can give your calendar a universal keyboard shortcut, and pick a default calendar for new events:

fantastical-settings

You can also pick which calendars do and do not show up in your agenda – useful if you have access to plenty of calendars you don’t consult with regularly.

fantastical-calendars

You can also configure the way alarms work, if you want, though some users will no-doubt opt to keep using the alarms from the default Calendar app instead.

The Free Alternative: Itsycal

Not not sure Fantastical is right for you, or quite worth the $15 price tag? There is an alternative: Itsycal. This little app puts a tiny calendar in your Mac Menubar Itsycal: Tiny Keyboard-Friendly Calendar For Your Menu Bar [Mac] Itsycal: Tiny Keyboard-Friendly Calendar For Your Menu Bar [Mac] Read More . Instead of an icon, this app shows the date and time – meaning you can potentially use it to replace your Mac’s default clock.
itsycalYour current Calendar events are visible below the calendar itself, but there’s no way to add new events to it. Think of this as a supplement for Mac’s calendar, and Fantastical as a potential replacement.

Of course, you also don’t necessarily need a dedicated app. If you know how to make great use of Mac OS X’s notification center 8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center 8 Tips For Making Great Use Of The OS X Notification Center With Mountain Lion came the introduction to the desktop of the familiar Notification Center, ported from its iOS origins. It’s brought even more unity between the desktop and mobile OS, and essentially replicates functionality that’s... Read More you’ve probably noticed that upcoming dates are listed there, one swipe away. And Apple’s calendar app is pretty good, so there’s not necessarily a need for a dedicated tray app.

But I want to know what you think. Will you be using Fantastical to manage your time? Let’s talk about it and other apps like it in the comments below.

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