Fantastical 3 and the Fantastical Field Guide

Fanstastical 3 Is Available

Fantastical, Version 3, launches today. Fantastical has always been known for its powerful text parser. Type a few words and create an event. This new version stretches the idea of a calendar app for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. 

I had a lot more involvement with the Fantastical 3 development than just running the beta. To begin, I served in a semi-official “calendar nerd” role over the last few years, as I sent the Fantastical development team unreasonable requests in my quest to have my “perfect” calendar app. No matter how ridiculous my demand, I sent it in and they just kept delivering. Second, I spent a lot of time on the app as it finished up development, and I made nearly two hours of screencasts on how the app works. You can see those screencasts on YouTube or get the new free Fantastical Field Guide.

So I’ve gone deep with this app, and I’m a fan. There are a lot of things about calendars that go beyond creating and editing events. Fantastical attempts to tackle those extra problems, and that’s where the app really shines.

Take proposed events, for example. For years, if I wanted to schedule a meeting with someone, I would send them an email with a proposed meeting time. If I was on top of my game, I would simultaneously create an event on my calendar with a question mark at the beginning to save the date. For example, “?Lunch with Stephen”. If Stephen later confirmed, I could edit the event to remove the question mark, and I’d be set. But what if I wanted to propose two or five different dates to Stephen? Things got tedious fast.

This new Fantastical solves this problem for me. I can propose multiple times to Stephen, and he’ll get an email which shows those options. Once he chooses, it will communicate back to my calendar, locking in the agreed time and removing all of the other proposed events automatically. Stephen doesn’t have to be a Fantastical user for this to work. Also, regardless of Stephen’s calendar app, the email will let him create an event for the agreed time. This solves a problem I’ve had with scheduling events for years, and it is just one of the many innovations with Fantastical 3. Here is a short video demonstration.

For the first time, you can get Fantastical for free, which gets you Fantastical’s core app and the date parser. For all of the premium features, there is a subscription version ($4.99/month or $39.99/year). If you were a Fantastical 2 customer, the new version gives you all of the same features from version 2 without requiring a subscription. There is also a free trial period with the premium features so you can kick the tires for yourself.

I love the idea of a calendar app that works harder for me, and Fantastical 3 does that. And if you would like to learn a lot more about Fantastical …

The Fantastical Field Guide

In addition, I am pleased to announce the release of a brand new free Field Guide, the Fantastical Field Guide. I have been using Fantastical since it was just a Mac menu bar app. I like the way this application works and the way it speeds up my interactions with my calendar. Over the years, the app has grown into something much more with versions for the iPhone and iPad, and a dedicated application on the Mac. In my opinion, it is superior to the Apple Calendar app in just about every measurable way.

When the Fantastical developers were getting ready to release version 3 of the application, they asked me to prepare an extensive screencast series on how the app works and how I use it. I was happy to do so. That resulted in nearly two hours of video screencasts with me working in Fantastical 3 and explaining how to use its many features. Along the way, I was able to drop in a lot of good general advice about how to use a digital calendar. When the project was done, we were all so happy with it that the Fantastical team gave me permission to release all of these videos as a free Field Guide.

So, here you go. The Fantastical Field Guide is a free download that is as close as I am going to get to a calendaring field guide anytime soon. I hope you enjoy it.

Fantastical 2.5 for Mac and New Video

Today Flexibits released Fantastical 2.5 for the Mac. There are several notable new features with the new version including integration and support for sending and receiving time proposals for meetings via Exchange, Google, and iCloud.

I run Fantastical on my 27″ iMac in its own screen with 14 days displayed in week view. I think of it as my calendar control center. It’s the only full-screen app I run on my 27″ iMac and it’s glorious. With version 2.5 they’ve added a bunch of great keyboard support to let you move and change events with just the keyboard. That is definitely my favorite feature in the new version. I demonstrate all of the new features in the video below. It’s a free update if you already are a Fantastical for Mac user. 

Fantastical 2.4 for Mac Gets Travel Time and More

Today Fantastical for Mac released a significant update with several new features:

  • You can now view, create, and edit attachments on iCloud and Exchange
  • Travel Time! Receive notifications when you need to leave to reach an event on time
  • Fantastical will now combine identical events that are on multiple calendars
  • Undo and redo got a lot more powerful

There are quite a few more new features. Indeed so many updates that I made a few videos for the Flexibits team showing off the new features. Below is the “What’s New” video. I’ve been running this update since its early betas, and it’s solid. Head over to Flexibits to learn more.

iCloud Authentication Video

Apple has recently announced that starting June 15, any Mac app needing access to iCloud data is going to need an app-specific password. While this is a bit of a pain, it provides a significant increase in your security and I’m all for it. The gang at Fantastical asked me to make a video explaining exactly how to make an iCloud app-specific password. This video is for Fantastical, which is my calendaring weapon of choice, but you’ll be going through the same steps with any third party app starting June 15.

Fantastical for iOS 2.8

Fantastical for iPad and iPhone updated today to version 2.8. The new update includes rich notifications and and haptic feedback on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Now in Fantastical on the iPhone 7, when you scroll dates or times, you feel a nice little click under your finger. I like the way developers are doing haptic feedback in their apps. It’s subtle, but useful. I hope other developers follow suit.

The new version also adds a sticker pack with a calendar-themed stickers. They’re animated and useful for doing things, like inviting a friend to lunch. Learn more here.

Fantastical Version 2.2 Ships

Today Flexibits released version 2.2 of Fantastical for the Mac. They could’ve easily named this update version 3.0. There are a lot of new features in this update including:

  • Microsoft Exchange support
  • Attendee availability support
  • Dual timezones – Your timezone on the left and your co-worker’s timezone on the right. It’s super-useful.
  • Background visual refresh
  • Multiple selections
  • Better location search

There is a bunch more. Below is a short video I made for the gang at Flexibits showing off the new features of Fantastical version 2.2.

Fantastical for iOS 2.5

This week the other penny dropped for Fantastical. On the heals of their Mac update comes Fantastical for iOS 2.5. There’s a long list of updates and new features including things like 3D Touch on the new iPhones and multitasking. 

For me, the big story here is the Apple Watch app. It’s always looked better than the native Calendar app but also been hampered by the fact it’s not a native application. It is now. The native app is much faster, now includes a Fantastical complication, and retains that clean Fantastical design. I’ve switched all my calendar complications over to the new Fantastical.

Fantastical 2.1

I spent most of today with my head down on a calendar intensive project. That gave me a good opportunity to kick the tires on the newest version of Fantastical for Mac. Version 2.1 released yesterday and it’s the biggest update since they launched version 2. The new version supports OS X El Capitan, which will be landing on your Mac later this month. So far, my personal favorite new feature is the ability to cut, copy, and paste events and reminders. Quite often I have need to duplicate an event and being able to copy and paste an event with my keyboard is golden.

Navigation is also easier. You can scroll to a specific day or week using the trackpad and you can expand the scope in week and day view by pinching on the trackpad. Related, arrow keys can also now navigate the day, week, and month views.

There is a whole bunch more and you can read the release notes here. If you haven’t played much with Fantastical, I recommend watching my screencasts on the app. You’ll see why I use every day.

Fantastical 2.4 – Draft Events

Today Flexibits released Fantastical version 2.4 for iPhone and iPad. The big new feature is draft events. You can now save an event as a draft in the middle of event creation and then come back to it later to finish it off. I frequently have need to consult my calendar after I start creating a new event and this feature is really useful. I liked it so much, I made a screencast demonstrating how it works.