Upgrade Your Calendar with Fantastical (Sponsor)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mac@2x-1024x349.webp

I am so pleased to welcome Fantastical as a new sponsor of the MacSparky blog. I’ve been using Fantastical since they first released their menu bar app and changed the calendaring world many years ago.

Over the years, it has evolved into a powerful calendaring system for me. Here are just a few of the ways that fantastic house unique features make my life easier:

  • I schedule nearly all of my appointments with the proposal feature. When I need to meet someone, I send them a proposal link, and they always pick one. I no longer play the email/scheduling shuffle game.
  • I aggressively use calendars and calendar sets so I can always see exactly what I need.
  • All of my Zoom meetings show up in my Fantastical events. I click the button and start the Zoom call. I haven’t started a Zoom meeting in any other way in the last two years.
  • Quarterly view. I love that view for future planning.
  • Fantastical widgets make the Apple Calendar widgets look so very sad.
  • Fantastical has excellent shortcuts support, so I’ve fully automated the app.

There are so many reasons why I’m a Fantastical subscriber. If you’re looking for a calendar app that gets updated more than once a year and is made by complete Calendar nerds, look no further.

Through the end of November, MacSparky readers will receive the biggest discount of the year and new users will save 50% by using this link – visit the Flexibits site to download the free trial.

Fantastical Black Friday Sale

Flexibits, makers of Fantastical and Cardhop, for the first time ever, are having a sale on their subscriptions. From now until November 30, you can get 50% off an annual subscription or 50% off your first month of a monthly subscription!

I like Fantastical so much that I’ve produced videos about it. Having a power-user calendar app can really help you up your game. Purchases need to be made through flexibits.com directly to get the discount.

Fantastical 3.6: Openings, Proposals, and Quarterly View Plus Demonstration Videos

Today Flexibits released Fantastical version 3.6 with several big updates:


This lets you create a link where Fantastical’s web server can see your availability but not your appointments and then let folks schedule appointments with you against that. This is the first time I’ve seen someone pull off a feature like this without requiring you to hand over your account credentials. Nicely done.


These have been in Fantastical for a while now, but this latest iteration also lets you create a link so you can have multiple people weigh in on your proposed times. It even reports the results to you directly in Fantastical.

Quarterly View

I’m going to take some credit for this one. I’ve been requesting/begging/harassing the Flexibits team. I like to work in quarters, and there were no calendar apps that would display your calendar in a quarterly view … until now.

I know many folks don’t like the subscription software model, but it is here to stay. I will say, however, that Flexibits is doing it right. All of these features are now just in the app. There is no upgrade fee or requirement for a higher subscription tier.

I made the demonstration videos for Flexibits. You can watch them below.

Fantastical Version 3.5

Flexibits released a nice update to Fantastical. This update continues to put the pedal down and simplify virtual meetings with the addition of Webex integration. This version also improves the toolset for big meetings with public meeting proposals via URL, granular control over guest permissions in Google events, and general performance improvements when dealing with lots of invitees.

My favorite thing about the new version, however, is the Shortcuts support. The Fantastical developers jumped in with both feet with their Shortcuts for Mac integration with a pile of new actions. If you want to automate calendar events on your Mac, make sure to check out this update. (I’ll be covering all of these Fantastical actions in the upcoming Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide.)

Appointments in the Menu Bar

I routinely keep my appointments listed in my menu bar when working on my Mac. As someone who does a lot of block scheduling, this is just one more reminder of where I should be as I work through the day. I also use Bartender to thin down the menu bar so truly useful data, like this, can be visible.

Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 20.40.52.png

There are a few ways to pull this off. Fantastical has a setting that lets me put the next appointment in my menu bar with the “Show Upcoming Item in Menu Bar” checkbox in the Appearance settings. Fantastical also gives you a calendar and list of events if you click on the menu bar icon.

There are also some apps to scratch this itch. MeetingBar is my favorite. It gives you plenty of control over exactly what will show up and also a nice scrolling list if you click on the menu bar item. Both MeetingBar and Fantastical work with the meeting services like Teams and Zoom so you can launch meetings from the menu bar. Also, MeetingBar has a cool flip board-inspired icon, and I dig flip boards.

Meeting Bar.jpg

Hidden Fantastical Settings

Fantastical Icon

There are only so many settings a developer can put in a setting screen. Along the road of development, there are often niche settings that don’t make the cut. For better apps, developers often leave hidden settings to access via Terminal or URL callback.

I set many calendar events via Fantastical, and many of them are block schedules that I sometimes delete. That deletion always requires a confirmation, which was making me nuts. I asked the team at Flexibits about this, and they turned me on to the URL below, which, when you put in Safari and execute, turns off the deletion confirmation in Fantastical. Note the SkipDeleteWarning name and the value=1 (which means “Yes”).

To make this work, quit Fantastical, paste what’s below in Safari, and press return:


After running this, I can delete calendar events with abandon.

To turn this off, you would run the same command, setting the value to 0, like this:


There are more cool Fantastical hidden preferences.

Full All Day Row in Display. This puts all day events in one row rather than showing multiple all-day events on one line. This one is iOS only.

Always Show All: Set to YES (“1”) to have the details always visible in the event and reminder popover.

Dim All Past Items: Set to YES to dim all events and tasks on days in the past. This affects Mac and iOS, List, Month, Week, and Day View.

Do Not Dim Passed Events: Set to YES to not dim passed events in the list.


Hide Location In List: Set to YES to hide event locations and reminder geofences in the list.

Default Event Duration: Specify the default event duration in seconds (gives finer control than the presets in the app). For example, to make a default event duration of 25 minutes, use 1500 seconds.

Days Per Week: Change the number of days per week in Week view. This can be set to anything between 3 and 21 (gives finer control than the app’s presets).

My thanks to Michael and Kent at Flexibits for passing along these additional settings.

Fantastical 3.3

Fantastical Image.jpg

With both Big Sur and Apple Silicon shipping in the last week, I’m behind on some of the software updates. Fantastical released version 3.3 with a new Big Sur design and support for adding Microsoft Teams meetings in an interface similar to their Zoom integration. The other big update here is the widgets. The Fantastical widgets (there are a lot of them) for iPhone, iPad, and even Mac put Apple’s calendar widget to shame. I’m using the large size month calendar and event list on my iPhone home screen.

It’s a nice update and already out. I continue to use Fantastical daily to manage my calendar appointment and block schedule.

Fantastical 3.2’s Calendar Widgets


Flexibits has released Fantastical Version 3.2, with 12 new widgets for iOS and iPadOS 14 and Scribble support for iPadOS 14.

You can now customize the exact views of Fantastical how you want on your Homescreen with 12 unique widgets to choose from. Do you want small widgets to simply show the date or the next upcoming event or task? Maybe you would prefer medium widgets to show a bit more information or side-by-side monthly calendars? How about large widgets that provide an in-depth agenda? Goldilocks this and find out what works best for you. 

Of course the Fantastical widgets are gorgeous. I immediately kicked the Apple Calendar widget off my home screen and replaced it with the one from Fantastical. It displays my calendar data better, includes the current date on my home screen, and adds the weather to boot. One final advantage, putting it on as widget allowed me to pull the app out of my dock. Win-win.

Last year I built an intricate Shortcut to turn my agenda into a PDF and then save it as the home screen. It all fell apart when Apple pulled the rug from under me by removing the “Set image as wallpaper” shortcut action. Having Fantastical on my home screen is way better.