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Fantastical 2 ups the ante for events in OS X

Glenn Fleishman | March 26, 2015
The overhaul of Fantastical brings it in parity with its iOS version and beyond.

Time zones are supported in reminders, but not floating times, and the time zone isn't shown for reminders, though it is set correctly. The current time zone is derived from the system, but can be overriden in the Advanced preferences. I've found time-zone controls maddening in Apple and other apps; Fantastical has the best controls to set and events, though it does lack a visual reminder in the list and datebook views that an appointment's time is non-local.

Flexibits uses Calendar Sets to manage which of your calendars appear. I've wound up with about 25 personal, family, hobby, and work calendars across seven accounts, and I typically don't need to see all of them. Rather than constantly display a list of all calendar, active or otherwise, Fantastical offers a Calendars preference to build sets which can be selected among in a pop-up menu at the bottom of the list view. It goes further, too, by using geofencing to choose which set should appear when arriving or leaving at a set location.

While this is good in theory, in practice Flexibits needs to take it further, because it lacks a way to create a set of calendars that always displays or to duplicate a set. As a result, you have to re-create your choices every time you create a new one, even if the difference is a single calendar. I definitely miss the ability to toggle one calendar on and off, but I also appreciate that I use this so infrequently that I prefer having the screen space back for useful information I refer to all the time.

Every day, I remind myself to write the book
Fantastical still has room to grow. Its treatment of reminders puts them into a second-class citizen category, which may be appropriate for most people, but doesn't match how I use them. Reminders that have a due-date attached appear in the list with a checkbox to mark them completed, along with exclamation points for higher-priority tasks.

However, you have to press Command-R to reveal all reminders, which flips the monthly calendar and list to show to-dos. The list is sort by newest-to-oldest, then priority, then alphabetically. I'd prefer more granularity for dividing up future tasks and dragging undated items, but Fantastical's approach may suit other users just fine.

The weekly view is the one I tend to keep open at all times, and Flexibits didn't appear to factor in the notion of two or more simultaneous events occurring as with shared calendars. Other programs adjust an event's width or typeface dynamically to provide more of a cue in the graphical layout. The company says that it will add a font-size option for views in a future release, but expects the left-hand list view to be consulted more frequently than labels on the datebook layout.


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