Ways to use calendars

Product

This is the second post in the 2017 FastMail Advent Calendar. The previous post was a Retrospective looking back at our 2017 predictions from the end of 2016. The next post is an Interview with Jamie our Senior Graphic Designer.


Of all our products, only FastMail has any built-in calendaring (... so far ...), and there's a number of different ways you can put one to use.

sample calendar showing events

Types of calendars

Personal calendar

When people think of using calendars, this is what they usually mean.

A calendar for yourself, to record your appointments. You can invite others to your events, which causes a special kind of email to be sent to your guests. When your guest responds, it sends a special rsvp email in return which will update your calendar.

You can set reminders on your events via email or a popup so you don't forget what's coming up.

More information about personal calendars.

Subscribed calendar

A read-only calendar you subscribe to from somewhere else for information like public holidays, or whether someone else is free or busy. This calendar comes in the form of a URL which points to a .ics file. You can't update this calendar, just see its events.

You can't invite people to these events.

Setting alarms may or may not work, depending on how the external calendar provider manages their calendar events.

More information about subscribed calendars.

Synchronised calendar

Use a synchronised calendar when you have a calendar hosted on another service (such as iCloud, or Google) but you want to be able to see and edit the events from your FastMail interface.

Use this if you have a different calendar provider and you're not ready to migrate your calendar to FastMail yet. Use this if you have a shared calendar with someone else and want to be able to make edits in each other's calendars (not just sending invites), for notifying about family events and the like.

Any changes made to these events in FastMail or on the other server will be mirrored in both locations.

You can make new events in these calendars from FastMail and invite others to your events providing you have an identity and alias that matches your remote calendar host.

Reminders can be set from FastMail or the remote server and both instances will send out the alert.

More information about synchronised calendars.

Shared calendar

For multi-user FastMail accounts, you can share a calendar with some or all of your colleagues, choosing whether they can see the events, see and edit events, or whether they can do anything you can do, on that calendar.

FastMail shared calendars currently only support "secretary" mode. This means any event made by someone else in your shared calendar is owned by you: invitations are emailed out using your address, and rsvps are returned to your email account.

Each user can set their own alarm for any event, however, whether they are invited or not.

More information about shared calendars.

Accessing your calendar from your mobile device

All calendars are visible from your mobile device, either directly through the FastMail apps, or synchronised to a app on your phone, tablet or desktop. We have instructions on how to configure your calendar client.

Calendar settings

General

  • Time zone Your calendars can be in a specific timezone, or in floating time.
    • This is to support people who travel to multiple timezones regularly. In floating time,
      if you have an event at 8:00am to have a cup of coffee, you want it to stay at 8am whether
      you are in Kyoto or Prague. But a meeting at 10am with your colleagues in
      Vancouver will actually be at 5am the next day in Sydney.
    • We support multiple timezones, so you can choose in which timezone a particular event
      needs to be recorded.
  • Display options Choose what day the week starts on, whether to display week numbers,
    and whether to display events you have declined.

Event defaults

  • Default calendar When creating a new event, or receiving an invite to an event,
    which calendar does the new event get made in.
  • Reminders Set what kind of reminder you want new events to be created with
    automatically. You can have different defaults for timed events vs all day events.

Invitations

  • Invites You can choose whether invitations to events are automatically added
    to your calendar (for everyone or just a specific group of people), and what to do
    with the email once the event has been dealt with.
    • Automatically adding the event to your calendar does not send out a reply to
      the event organiser saying you're attending: you still need to do that.
  • Updates When the event organiser changes an event, you receive an update mail
    to let you know of the changes. You can choose whether to automatically update your
    calendar with the new information and what to do with the email.

Summary

If you'd like to find out more, read our help on calendaring, which has tips on troubleshooting, date formatting and keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate your calendar faster. (Like using "t" to go to today. )

We can also help you out if you're looking to import your calendar or migrate your calendar from another provider.