App of the week: Keep on top of your schedules with Awesome Calendar

In this crazy, busy world we live in, it’s hard to keep on top of our deadlines, important dates and responsibilities. Sometimes we don’t have time to navigate to a webpage and need a quick and easy way to get a good view of “the big picture”.

We rely upon Google Calendar like crazy. I have access to something like 12-15 different calendars, most of which are work-related. My manager has shared calendars with me. I’ve created calendars. Friends have shared their calendars. Honestly, it’s a lot to keep on top of.

As I love how quick iPad apps work, I tried out several different calendar apps that are supposed to work with Google Calendar. Several have left me rather disappointed, including CalenMob and G-Whizz. I always found that no matter how many times I made sure that my calendars were synched properly in my iPad settings, they never fully made it into my calendar apps. iCal kind of worked, but I found it’s a bit fritzy for me, sometimes not synching properly or at all, often only showing me three out of the dozen or more calendars I need access to. CalenMob said it was synched, but I’d see no calendars whatsoever. The same could be said for G-Whizz.

Then I tried Awesome Calendar (the free version). No sooner had it loaded and BOOM! All of my calendars were visible in the app! I quickly went into the settings/options area and changed what calendars were visible, knocking down some of the visual noise. No problem! It turned off the unnecessary calendars immediately. No waiting. No delays. Nothing. It just did the job.

The default view appears to be monthly. The nice thing is that it circles the current date in red. See below:

A screenshot of Awesome Calendar on the iPad, month view.

Month view in Awesome Calendar

I can also very quickly get a good idea of how busy the month is going to be in this view. Need to see one of the entries’ titles better? Tap on it once and a window pops up zooming into that date a bit more clearly. Want to see a weekly view? Double tap on a date in that week once and you’ll be in the daily view first. It will look something like this:

A screenshot from the iPad version of Awesome Calendar.

Day view in Awesome Calendar

This is quite a nice view, as it puts the blocks of calendars side-by-side and they’re all in different colours, synching up with your default google calendar colours. I also like that it shares any additional notes we may have added to a calendar event, too. This is very helpful and handy! But to get to a weekly view, double tap on the screen again (anywhere this time) and you’ll see a screen like this:

A screenshot of the weekly view in Awesome Calendar on an iPad.

Week view in Awesome Calendar

Admittedly, the top-down, next column, top-down layout messes me up a bit. I’d prefer Monday to Wednesday to show across the top, then Thursday and Friday to show on the bottom with Saturday & Sunday being small, but I’m only just beginning to play with this app, so there might be a way to further tweak these layouts. So far, I’ve managed to get it to start the week on Mondays, which at least makes the Saturday & Sunday entries the smaller ones in the bottom right corner. Regardless, I like the unordered list listed in chronological order approach to this, so you can see everything that is coming up all at the same starting time very easily.

Speaking of tweaking, did you know that you can change the ‘theme’ colour and change the font? Not just the font, but the font size. Impressive. And there are little stickers to add to events if you want, adding a bit of fun to your calendar. It’s crashed a couple of times when I tried to set the timezone, but that’s not a huge deal to me. Maybe this is a bug they worked out in the pro version.

Sure, there are ads in the app. But there’s a pro version (Awesome Calendar (+Google Task/Diary)) for $6.99 which is a bit on the pricy side, but still reasonable as useful apps go. If you’re good with apps and don’t use the Google Task & Diary features, the “lite” version is probably good enough for you. It looks like it has a ton of features and I’m really looking forward to playing around with this app to see how much it can be customized. This is also definitely available for iPad and iPhone and I heard there was work being done on an Android version but beyond that, I don’t know what other devices it might be available on, sorry.

So far, I’m finding this to be an extremely useful app which gives me super-fast access to my Google Calendars without the hassle of loading a web browser. You might find it handy, too!

~ Kelly, Library Media Specialist

Do you have a favourite app for Mac, PC, iPhone/iPad, Android or any other device? Tell us about it in the comments!

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