It doesn't matter what your business does—time is your most valuable resource. You need to make sure you're spending that time wisely, and the calendar is your budget. That's why it's so important you find the best calendar app for the job.
We considered and tested several dozen calendar apps, to uncover the best options. Here's what we found. Click on any app to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more context on what makes a great calendar app.
Once you choose a calendar app, take it to the next level. With automation, you can do things like automatically turn calendar events into tasks on your to-do list or use forms to create calendar events. Here's how you can bring context to your calendar by connecting other apps.
The best calendar apps
Google Calendar for the best free option
Microsoft Outlook Calendar for Microsoft users
Calendar.com for scheduling external appointments
Fantastical 2 for the best design
Apple Calendar for a free option for Apple users
Woven for appointment analytics
What makes a great calendar app?
Calendars, of course, show you your schedule. Every calendar app manages that; the best calendars, however, aren't just functional. They give you clarity about how you spend your time, and a few rare finds are even a joy to use.
In looking for the best calendar apps, we considered apps that have the following characteristics:
Easy to use. Calendar apps are easy to use when they require minimal clicking and menu exploration. They should be intuitive and not require a lot of tending.
Designed with intention. Does the calendar app do what it says it's going to do? And does it do it well? All calendars will show you when your next appointment is, but does it meet its promises for more?
Packed with features and customizable. If you're a serious scheduler, power features, such as customizable views and integrations, will help you get the most out of your calendar. For those apps that aren't heavy on features, we looked for customization options that make the app adjust to your style.
Simple to share. You probably don't work alone—and neither should your calendar. The best apps allow you to share appointments, or even your entire calendar. We only considered apps that enabled sharing.
Available for multiple devices. When considering apps for this list, we gave preference to apps that are accessible on more than one platform. Ideally, you should be able to see your calendar no matter where you are or what device you have on hand.
Note that, for the most part, we focused on calendar platforms—we didn't consider mobile- or desktop-only apps designed mostly to sync with other services. Check out our lists of Android calendar apps, iPhone calendar apps, and Mac calendar apps if you want those sorts of platform-specific applications.
Best free calendar app
Google Calendar (Android, iOS, Web)
Much of Google Calendar's popularity comes from the fact that you can create multiple calendars in one place using a Google account, and then port those entries to almost any other online calendar. Google Calendar also works with nearly everything else on the market. You can connect your Google Calendar not only to other calendar apps, but also to business apps and services that have calendars as part of their features, such as Trello and Asana.
Color-coding for individual calendars makes it easy to see which area of your life an event applies to. You can also show or hide calendars, so you can focus on specific types of events. As you would expect from the company that started as a search tool, Google Calendar offers excellent search capabilities. It also integrates with Google Workplace (formerly G Suite) apps, letting you create a calendar event from Gmail, for example.
When used across an entire organization, Google Calendar gives you the ability to check your coworkers' schedules alongside your own. Inviting others to your calendar is a cinch too. You can choose between sharing an entire calendar or just using the invite option to add people to an event.
Although there's no desktop app, Google Calendar's web app and mobile apps for Android and iOS are enough to keep schedules straight. If you want a more enticing user interface or more robust features, you can always connect Google Calendar to virtually any other app on this list.
Want more out of your calendar? Connect Google Calendar to your favorite apps through Zapier. You can create automated workflows that send calendar appointments to other apps, like Trello or Todoist. You can even create calendar appointments from spreadsheets.
Google Calendar Pricing: Free with a Google account; Business Starter for Google Workspace, which includes all Google Apps, starts at $6/user per month.
You can do even more with Google Calendar. Here's how to turn it into the ultimate productivity hub.
Best calendar app for Microsoft users
Microsoft Outlook Calendar (Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Web)
The most stalwart of calendar apps, Microsoft Outlook Calendar is more of a personal information manager than a place to see your next appointment. The desktop app unifies your calendar, email, notes, tasks, and contacts into one view. Outlook's mobile apps aren't quite so ambitious, but they do at least combine your calendar and email.
Outlook, which is part of Microsoft Office, lets you share calendars with teammates, and that's its real strength. With Exchange Server accounts and the appropriate permissions, team members can view and manage each other's schedules and subscribe to one another's calendars. Outlook offers options for how you can view multiple calendars at once: side-by-side or with calendars combined in an overlay view.
If you don't use Outlook within an organization, you might still appreciate the calendar's many features. You can drag and drop an email onto the calendar icon in the navigation menu to turn it into an appointment (available in the Windows app only), or quickly send a meeting request from either email or the calendar. Outlook supports multiple time zone views, too. There's a lot to dig into.
You can get a free online version of Outlook, called Outlook.com, which is more streamlined and has fewer features. Outlook.com has family sharing, so you can add other household members to your account to make your calendar accessible to others. The Mac version of Outlook isn't as robust as the Windows version, but if you like having everything in one place, this is an all-in-one productivity tool to consider.
Connect Outlook to Zapier for more power. That way, you can send calendar appointments to other apps, including other calendars or your to-do list.
Want a dedicated Windows calendar, but don't want to pay for Outlook? Windows 10 actually comes with Calendar, an app that can sync with Google Calendar and other web services. Search your start menu for "Calendar" to get started.
Microsoft Outlook Pricing: Free plan available; Microsoft 365 Personal plan, which includes most Microsoft Office apps, starts at $7 per month.
Best calendar app for scheduling external appointments
Calendar.com (Android, iOS, Web)
It's hard to think of a simpler name for a calendar than Calendar.com, but fortunately, that's not all this app has to offer. Everything you need to manage your appointments is here, on a site with modern design and full support for collaboration. This is a well-thought-out app.
But it's not just a calendar app: it also works as an appointment scheduler. Sign up for Calendar.com, and you'll get a public profile—for example,
calendar.com/michaelscott. You can set up times that you're available, then allow anyone with the link to schedule an appointment with you.
There are plenty of appointment scheduling apps that do this, but so far as we know, Calendar.com is the only full-fledged calendar app to also offer a feature-complete scheduling feature like this. That alone makes it worth trying out.
You can also connect Calendar.com to your other favorite apps through Zapier. You can, for example, get a Slack notification every time someone signs up for a meeting with you.
Calendar.com pricing: Free plan available; Pro version starts at $8/month with unlimited scheduling time slots.
Best free calendar app for Apple users
Apple Calendar (iOS, macOS, Web)
Because it's built into macOS and iOS, Apple Calendar is the default place to store calendar entries on Apple devices. Without any real effort on your part, you can keep your calendar up to date across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, thanks to iCloud. In a pinch, you can also view and update your calendar entries from a web app on iCloud.com.
Apple Calendar allows you to pull in info from other calendars, too, such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, and any calendar that uses CalDAV. Setting this up is as easy as connecting an email client app to another email account.
Apple's clean and simple calendar lets you focus on your events rather than the app itself. It's intuitive to use if you're familiar with other Apple apps, with support for drag and drop and Siri integration. Click or tap the plus sign (+) to create a new event, which can include a title, location, reminder, note, and invitees. You can also add a travel time estimate that will be factored into event alerts. As you might expect, this no-frills calendar integrates with Apple devices, so that you see notifications from it in the iOS and macOS notification bars.
Apple Calendar Pricing: Included with macOS and iOS devices, or via iCloud with an Apple ID
Best calendar app for its design
Fantastical 2 (iOS, macOS)
Is it cheesy to call Fantastical 2 fantastic? Probably, but at least in this case, it's not hyperbole. Fantastical 2 has just about everything one could want in a calendar app for iOS and macOS, in addition to an Apple Watch companion.
While it's nice to have the mobile app, Fantastical 2 is at its best on desktop. The app is colorful without being gaudy or overwhelming, and it's easy to use without sacrificing control over your event details. On a Mac, the menu bar app lets you quickly add an event or see what's on your agenda in the coming days. Adding details to your events—such as notes, URLs, invitees, and locations—feels quick and smooth. Fantastical 2 also integrates with the rest of your system to give you a Today view widget, Handoff support, and a share sheet extension that lets you create events from other apps, like addresses in Maps and URLs in Safari.
Fantastical 2 is best known for its natural-language event creation. Start typing "Lunch with Casey at noon at Park Place," and watch as the app parses your words into calendar fields and pulls in relevant information, such as addresses and team members' availability. If you want the best Apple calendar on the market, this is the one you're looking for.
Fantastical 2 Pricing: Free; Premium costs $3.33 per month
Best calendar app for seeing where your time goes
Woven (Android, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows)
Woven, at first glance, doesn't look that different from other calendar apps. The main difference is in the left sidebar, alongside your calendar. Click an appointment, and you'll see all details there, instead of in a pop-up. It's a subtle thing, but it makes browsing your appointments a lot easier.
And this sidebar contains all sorts of other information, most notably an Analytics tab. It breaks down all of your appointments and shows you how you're spending your time—how many hours you have free for focused work, how many hours you're spending in meetings, and even who you're spending the most time in meetings with. There's even a note about how many hours you're spending in video calls.
Time is money. Woven does a good job of turning your calendar into a budget.
Woven pricing: Free; Premium starts at $10 per month
Originally published in May 2017, this post has had contributions from Melanie Pinola and Tim Brookes.