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June 04, 2020
Best Practices

7 Best Free Online Calendars

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By Calendly

Paper calendars just aren’t enough for most people anymore. Even basic digital calendars can’t keep up with the growing scheduling demands of busy professionals.

The most popular online calendars today are more like personal assistants. They let you schedule and edit events, sync your changes across devices and invite other people to your events. Many calendars even let you enhance those events with attachments, links and automated reminders for everyone involved.

So, which online calendar is right for you? It all depends on what you need your calendar to do. Here are seven of the best tools currently available.

1. Google Calendar

Cost: Free

Google Calendar is one of the most popular online calendars out there. All you need is a Google account, which more than 1.5 billion people already have. You can access it via any internet browser or download a dedicated app for Android, iPhone or iPad.

With Google Calendar, you can add multiple color-coded calendars and choose which ones you want to view. That way, you can easily keep your work and personal schedules separate or view them together. You also have the option to view your schedule by the hour, month, day and more.

Google Calendar can even auto-fill many of your entries thanks to its smart suggestion tool, Assists. Just start typing an event title, location or invitee name, and Assists will suggest what it thinks you might mean. You can also opt to have events auto-added from your Gmail. No more missing an event because you forgot to add it to your calendar!

2. Outlook

Cost: Free or by Microsoft 365 subscription ($69.99 per year for one person)

Outlook is a combination email and calendar service. It comes included with any Microsoft 365 subscription, or you can sign up for the free online version.

Microsoft’s calendar functions much like Google’s, in that you can create and color-code multiple calendars. You can also add locations and set automatic reminders, so you can keep track of your schedule on the go. With the Android and iPhone mobile apps, it’s easy to take Outlook with you anywhere.

Also, because Outlook includes email, you can easily share your events and availability with your contacts. Plan meetings, invite your contacts, collect RSVPs and keep people updated, all from a single calendar.

3. Zoho Calendar 

Cost: Free

Designed to help professionals manage complex schedules, Zoho Calendar makes event scheduling quick and easy. It includes features like Smart Add, which lets you type in a phrase, then automatically takes the important information to create an event. If you want a reminder, you can have Zoho send one to your email or create a pop-up in your calendar.

Like Outlook and Google, Zoho lets you create multiple calendars and manage them from a single dashboard. You can share your calendars and events by sending invites, whether or not the person you’re sharing with has a Zoho account. You can even embed your Zoho calendar on your website with a customized look that matches your branding.

4. Cozi Family Organizer

Cost: Free or subscribe to ad-free Cozi Gold, which offers extra features like calendar search, multiple reminders and a month view on mobile

If you’re looking for an online calendar for your entire family, Cozi Family Organizer is the way to go. Start by setting up your family calendar. From there, you can add sub-calendars for each family member.

When you add events — or “appointments” — as Cozi calls them, you can assign them to one or more family members. If you have a paid plan, you can set up reminders that Cozi auto-sends to the appropriate people.

Beyond the calendar, Cozi gives you:

  • Shopping lists

  • To-do lists

  • Meal planning and recipes

  • A family journal

Already have a calendar? No problem. Cozi integrates with other calendars including Google, Apple and Outlook.

5. Jorte

Cost: Free or choose from one of three Premium plans ($1.99 per month, $3.99 per year or $29.99 per year)

Jorte is a Japanese company that designed its calendar to be as flexible and customizable as a paper calendar. A broad selection of visual themes, including pop culture characters and sports teams, lets you customize every aspect of the app’s interface.

With Jorte, you get the tools you need to plan your schedule, plus diary features that let you use the app as a personal journal. You can also subscribe to public calendars, from video game releases to news and weather from around the world.

Like Cozi, Jorte integrates with more commonly used online calendars like Google, Apple and Yahoo.

6. Apple Calendar

Cost: Free

Apple Calendar is much easier to use if you have Apple devices, but it makes the list because it’s easy to learn and has plenty of customization options. You can:

  • Create and color-code calendars

  • Add event location, travel time and other details

  • Invite people easily using your Contacts app

  • Check invitee availability to choose a time 

  • Set alerts

  • Personalize your day, week, month and year views

7. Calendly

Cost: Free or by subscription ($8 per user per month for Premium or $12 per user per month for Pro, if billed annually)

Calendly makes scheduling easier by eliminating the back-and-forth emails usually involved in finding a meeting time. Just enter your availability and Calendly creates a link that will take people to your schedule.

You can send that link to anyone you choose or embed it into a web page. Anyone who opens the link can see the slots you’ve marked as available and pick the best time for them. Both participants get a confirmation email and, if you have a paid plan, you can set up personalized reminders as well.

Calendly also has a robust team functionality that makes it great for work purposes. The tool pools team members’ availability so you can schedule group meetings or auto-assign one-on-one meetings with an available team member.

You can integrate Calendly with many of the tools your team already uses, from Slack to Zoom. If you integrate with Google, Outlook or another supported calendar, Calendly will automatically add your events to that calendar.

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