Time is the most valuable, non-renewable resource any corporation, small business, solo entrepreneur, student, and anyone in between has. No matter where you are in life or what level of success you've achieved (whatever success looks like to you), the secret ingredient to move you closer to your goals is time management. And now that our world is moving more online every day, a physical planner isn't just going to cut it anymore. You need an online calendar management tool that is robust (yet simple), so you never miss important dates.
We plumbed the depths of the internet and gathered up the best free and best premium calendar software, to help you select one that's as ambitious as you and your goals. But first, let's go over the types of calendar software and how to choose a calendar app that's best for you.
What are the types of calendar software?
There are many types of calendar software on the market today. We've narrowed our list to the three best free calendar apps and the three best premium calendar apps (in our opinion). We narrowed it down to three to save you time (and let's be honest, the headache you’d get from comparing dozens of calendars against each other).
The free versions are going to be best for people and teams who don't need a lot of app integrations or project management tools. These free apps are still sophisticated programs that are compatible with many devices, easy to use, and have shared calendar capabilities. But they, of course, won't be as limitless as the paid calendar management tools.
With the premium calendars, you can expect much more options for integrations (such as with Zoom and Google Calendar), more complex project management features, extensive customization, CRM capabilities, iCloud storage, and even secure messaging.
How to choose the right calendar software for you
While we can't tell you exactly which calendar software is best for your specific needs, there are a few elements you should look out for that can help you narrow your choices and eventually select one.
All calendars come with schedule management, but the leading calendar management tools don’t just show you important dates that you've penciled in — they also act like a personal assistant. A calendar tool might tell you if you're overbooking yourself, reveal how you're using
your time, and most important of all: it will help you feel in control of your schedule, no matter how busy you are.
To pick out these calendar management tools, these were the features we looked for. You can take and leave what you want from this list when selecting the calendar software that's best for you, but these are factors we thought were the most important for schedule management:
1. Modern design
This doesn't just mean the interface is easy to look at (it’s crucial to have a minimalistic design so you're not left feeling overwhelmed). We also asked: Is this calendar app designed for today's digitally-based world?
Compatibility with other apps is almost a must-have nowadays, so it was important to include calendars that have many integration opportunities for the most streamlined experience.
3. Intuitive design
When you're using a calendar, it probably means you're looking for a way to easily see and organize all your tasks. These calendar apps shouldn't require you to click around much just to manage and schedule meetings and events.
4. Sharing capabilities
Whether for team members or family members, the ability to share calendars was a must-have.
5. Cross-platform versions
Most people are using all sorts of platforms from Android/iPhone to desktop and more. That's why each calendar software needed to be available for several platforms.
We also awarded bonus points for customization. When using a calendar, it's important that you enjoy using it! Plus, if you're a part of or manage a business, it's important to remain cohesive with your branding.
Onto our picks!
The 4 best free calendar software options
While Clockwise offers a robust free plan, the Pro plan gives you a lot more advanced calendar controls, team productivity tools, and priority support all for a price that doesn't break the piggy bank. Plus, with the option to manage anywhere from five to 50 team members, you most likely won't have to worry about constantly upgrading if you're a small business.
But let's take a closer look into how Clockwise can help your efficiency — that's what you're here for!
First up, calendar optimization. Not only is Clockwise a scheduling tool, but it can also automatically move your meetings. This way, you can reduce schedule conflicts (and you don't end up overbooking yourself), manage your workday in the way you prefer, and it even encourages you to free up some uninterrupted time (so you can focus on the important tasks).
Related to uninterrupted time, Clockwise encourages and protects your Focus Time — a feature that allows you to work without any interruptions. You might be wondering why there's an emphasis on Focus Time. Studies show that 40% of productive time can be lost due to interruption and context-switching, and 61% of an average employee's time is spent on busy work outside of their role. That's why Clockwise prioritizes helping you set your Focus Time goals so you can have uninterrupted blocks of time in your schedule.
The third and last feature we wanted to highlight is the ability to work with your team members seamlessly. You can easily see your team's bandwidth, never get surprised by "unexpected" vacation days with the team member availability shared calendar, and increase team Focus Time with protected no-meeting days.
It may seem obvious to put Google Calendar on this list since it is by far the most popular calendar scheduling tool. But it turns out that most people aren’t actually taking full advantage of all the features of this humble-yet-mighty calendar app!
Of course, Google Calendar has the standard reminder notifications — this is the feature most people use when they download this calendar software. But if you have a busy schedule, you’ll undoubtedly start to feel overwhelmed when appointments pile up, even on a minimalistic interface like Google's. Here’s where one of their best features comes in: the multi-calendar functionality. In other words, the ability to create multiple calendars. Simply use your linked Gmail account or the countless other applications Google Calendar integrates with (such as Todoist or Microsoft Outlook) to set up multiple calendars.
Multi-calendar functionality color-codes all of your reminders so you can clearly distinguish which tasks belong to the calendars you created, shared calendars, or calendars you integrated.
Another bonus is Google's smart event-add feature. This is just fancy tech talk to describe events, such as a Zoom meeting invite, getting automatically added to your calendar when someone sends an event invitation to your Gmail. After you RSVP, Google will add it (in your time zone) without a second thought from you!
It's also free for both Android and iPhone devices. Because of this and its two main calendar management tools, Google Calendar scores major points, and that's why it deserves a spot on this list of best calendar apps.
As our lives become more dependent on online innovations (think: remote jobs, communication with friends and family, news alerts, etc.), it's more important than ever to consolidate all reminders coming from all different places into as few platforms as possible. That's why we believe 24me earns the title of Gen-Z’s best calendar app. It has all the calendar management tools you could ever need, organized in one place.
24me says they're a "Smart Personal Assistant" that's easy-to-use and helps boost productivity for people all over the world. So what exactly makes this calendar software so powerful? Here are some of the features you can get for free.
Since it’s a calendar management tool first and foremost, it has the standard ability to create tasks and notes. The calendar syncs with all the most popular calendar tools online, such as Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook, and more. You can also use their voice feature to add reminders, notes, tasks, and schedule meetings in case you're on the go. Just like Google Calendar, emails automatically become tasks without extra effort required from you. Plus, you can customize label colors, font size, weight, photos, reminder sounds, and much more.
Here's where it gets interesting and separates itself from the rest. 24me will send you smart alerts (traffic updates), so you can always (or, at least make a genuine effort to) get to your meetings on time. You can also opt to receive weather alerts, upcoming birthday notifications, and 'heads ups' for any to-dos planned for the next day. Another useful tool is the ability to share calendars with team members and share grocery lists with family members separately but simultaneously (and with real-time updates). 24me also integrates with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Lastly, it can sync with your bank account.
This calendar management tool is one of the most comprehensive free apps, and we knew we had to include it because of all its new-age features, which makes living in this online-based world a bit less chaotic. The calendar app is free for Apple and Android devices. But if you need even more customization (which we don’t see necessary unless you have many overlapping appointments), you can upgrade for $5.99/month or $35.99/year.
Designed with professionals and small businesses with hectic schedules, Zoho Calendar makes scheduling events, appointments, and meetings simple and quick. (The last thing any professional needs is a calendar app that takes ages to get accustomed to.)
Similar to 24me, Zoho Calendar acts as a personal assistant, but strictly for business-related tasks. It also has a user-friendly, minimalistic interface like Google Calendar, so you can think of Zoho Calendar as the best of both worlds.
One way Zoho Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings and stay on top of project management is with their Smart Add functionality. This feature automatically fills in new tasks with necessary information based on the phrase you typed in. The calendar software will also send you and other collaborators email reminders in their respective time zones, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out all the conversions yourself. You can also share calendars with team members, making it clear for everyone to see scheduled meetings. And unlike most free calendar management tools, Zoho Calendar allows you to customize your calendar to match your business's branding, so you always remain cohesive and consistent in front of your clients.
Where Zoho Calendar starts to really differentiate itself from other free calendar tools online is with its hundreds of integration options. If you decide to use their sales & marketing, email & collaboration, customer service, finance, and all other features, Zoho Calendar becomes more like a calendar tool and CRM all in one.
As we mentioned, Zoho Calendar is available on both Android and iOS devices for free! The 3 best premium calendar softwares
Microsoft Outlook Calendar is another A-list calendar management tool (along with Google Calendar) since many people know about it and use it! Despite its widespread popularity, we had to include it on this list of best calendar apps for its boundless functionality.
Anyone who has a Microsoft Outlook email can access the calendar scheduling tool, which also syncs up with your contacts, emails, and other Outlook features for free — similar to Gmail accounts and Google Calendar. Team members can also 'subscribe' to each other's calendars to receive real-time updates, which means less tedious back-and-forth emails or confusion.
While the free version is fine for simple tasks, we wanted to dive deeper into Microsoft Outlook's Pro plans, which start at $5.00 per user/month. How do the paid plans differ from the free version?
Depending on how robust of a plan you need, you not only get access to Microsoft Office's applications (such as Powerpoint, Excel, and Publisher), but you also get access to their Microsoft Team apps. These apps (Teams, Exchange, One Drive, SharePoint, and more) are best for businesses that "need full remote work and collaboration tools.” This means within one calendar management tool, you can securely communicate with your team, schedule meetings, create business emails, set up shared calendars, upload projects in cloud storage, manage multiple devices, have advanced cyber threat protection, and basically anything else you need for maximum protection and collaboration.
If you're wondering if a Microsoft Office subscription is worth it, we suggest it is if you have a small business or corporation that deals with complex files that need to be created, edited, and collaborated with (and securely protected) among team members and/or departments.
Fantastical 2 lives up to its name because it has a fantastic interface, especially after their most recent and biggest update to-date, where they optimized the platform to be more user-friendly for iOS devices.
This calendar app is not only easy to use and easy to set up, but it's also quite detailed. Fantastical 2 lets you add unlimited details to your events, such as locations, notes, links (it will automatically detect and add links for video conferences, like Zoom, to your calendar) , and the weather forecast. It also has a strong natural language processing feature, where the app will fill in all the important details of an event or task by using the key phrases you type. And if it detects you creating the same event often, the calendar software will create a template for you from that existing event, so you don't have to go through the tedious task of adding a monthly or annual event multiple times. Like most calendar apps on this list, Fantastical integrates with other apps such as iCloud, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and more.
OK, you may be thinking, “some of this sounds like 24me” — so what can Fantastical 2 do that others can't? Mainily how integrated it is with the "Apple ecosystem." If you're an Apple user and have a Mac, iPhone, iPad, and/or Apple Watch, Fantastical 2 arguably does a better job at syncing and keeping all your events and tasks organized than Apple iCal. Plus, you can set geofence reminders, which means you can receive notifications only when you're in a specific location. Another great bonus is that the calendar software is optimized for other languages (Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and English) making it a prime option if you have shared calendars with multilingual team members or clients.
The plan is $3.33/month if you choose their yearly plan or $4.99/month.
If you're a small business, Bitrix24 is the calendar scheduling tool you need since it was made specifically for small businesses! This calendar app comes with many amazing features that
were designed to help streamline tasks and stay on top of project management. One of the most notable features is the option to share calendars with everyone in your business, just some team members, or even the public. Bitrix24 also realized that not a lot of meetings are held in-person anymore, so it makes it easy to schedule meetings and attend them via their free video conferencing tool or with other popular apps such as Zoom. With their appointment scheduling feature, Bitrix24 makes it easy to find a time that works for everyone without your team needing to send a bunch of emails to sort it out, even if you live in different time zones.
Bitrix24 also lets you favorite calendars, which makes it easy to differentiate between your overlapping meetings and tasks. Plus, you can integrate it with popular calendars such as Microsoft Outlook Calendar, Apple iCal, and Google Calendar.
Though Bitrix24's free plan could work if you don't have a large team or if you have a fairly simple workflow, their paid plans have much more sophisticated scheduling tools, better team management and collaboration options, and even CRM capabilities.
Physical planners just don't do the trick anymore, so it's time to take control of your time with a calendar scheduling tool like the ones we suggested today. With their ease-of-use and modern designs, options for complete customization, and unrestricted app integration, calendar software can help you transform the way you think about and manage your schedule. Schedules can even start to become, dare we say, fun to organize!