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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Fantastical update adds cloud-based scheduling features

Finding a common time when a group of people can meet has been a recurring theme of my life for a couple of decades now. Back in the old days, it was often finding common times for project meetings at work. For more than a decade, it has also included scheduling podcast episodes with a disparate group of panelists. And as an independent type person, I often need to schedule Zoom meetings with a random collection of people in different time zones with different schedules.

Looking at Fantastical meeting sign-ups.

My calendar app has never really done this job well, so I’ve used a bunch of web-based tools to facilitate this work, most notably Doodle and (more recently) StrawPoll. As of last week, though, my calendar app does do this—because last week Flexibits announced Fantastical 3.6, an update to its subscription-based calendar app that adds a new web-based scheduler.

Fantastical’s scheduler works both ways. If you’re trying to find a common time, you can create an event with multiple possible times, and then generate a link to send to potential participants. They can respond on the web with the times they’re available, and—this is maybe my favorite part—you can see their responses right within Fantastical.

If you’re someone who keeps open “office hours” or wants to provide a quick link to clients or potential customers to schedule time with you, you can now do that within Fantastical, too. The new feature, called Openings, lets you offer up time slots in your schedule and generate a web link to let people sign up.

Fantastical (and its cousin contacts app, Cardhop) are bundled together in a subscription service called Flexibits Premium, and these additions show that Flexibits is getting comfortable implementing new features that span apps and the cloud to get the functionality that they want. And all these new features are covered by the regular Flexibits Premium subscription—as they should be, since getting the benefit of new features was a key part of the deal when Flexibits converted Fantastical to a subscription model.

There are a few other tweaks in Fantastical 3.6, including a Quarter view that shows three months at once, and a couple of subtle niceties—clicking or tapping a second time on the current day toggles between showing the whole day and scrolling to what’s next, and clicking on a future day with no calendar events no longer confusingly shows you whatever the next day with events is—it shows you the day you selected, with a reassuring indicator that there are no events that day.

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