Customizable calendar

Dato Review: Calendar Events and Time Zones from Your Mac’s Menu Bar

My timing needs are pretty straightforward. I have a shared family calendar to keep tabs on personal obligations and a personal MacStories calendar for work-related events. I also share a calendar with Federico to schedule recording times for podcasts and other events, but that’s about it.

If you spend a lot of time in a calendar app because you have a lot of meetings, it makes sense to have calendars, tasks, scheduling, video call support, weather, and other business features. in your calendar app. My work, however, is much more task-oriented than event-driven. I don’t want to lose sight of important events, but most of the time, Apple’s calendar widget on my iPhone is all I need.

The Calendar widget doesn’t quite suit me on a Mac, however. Widgets are out of sight in Big Sur, and there’s no way to trigger the widget panel with a keyboard shortcut. So instead, I used a Mac menu bar app called Dato for a quick glance at my calendar. The app isn’t new, but the recent addition of time zone support caught my attention and it has been a big part of my daily workflow since I started using the app again. Apple Calendar.

The convenience of having Dato in my menu bar means I don’t have to open the Calendar app when all I want to do is check my schedule. Dato is divided into a mini monthly view and a list of events that display in a drop-down menu when you trigger the app, which you can do by clicking the icon in the menu bar or setting a shortcut. global keyboard. The keyboard shortcut, combined with Dato’s excellent keyboard navigation, allows you to quickly and quickly switch between days, weeks and months. The arrow keys move the focus through the days of a month, while ⌥ plus the left and right arrows move between the months and ⇧ + ⌥ plus the left and right arrow keys move from year to year.

Dato is a simple app, but it includes a wide variety of settings in its preferences that make it more flexible than you might imagine. The app menu bar item can be customized to show app name, date in calendar icon, date with border, date with filled icon, or clock icon static analog. You can also include the week number, day of the week, date, month, and time in the menu bar, as well as in the drop-down menu in the app. I’m glad there are so many options, but kept it simple, using the date in a calendar icon option for the menu bar and turning off the week number, the day of. week, date, month and time in the menu bar and drop-down list.

The calendar at the top of the drop-down menu is optional, but it provides a useful overview of the month and is essential if you want to navigate to events other than the current ones. The calendar can also include week numbers and dots indicating the dates on which events are scheduled, which can be displayed as a single gray point or up to three colored dots corresponding to the colors assigned to your calendars, which is a good way to judge whether the days to come will be busy.

The list of events in Dato’s drop-down menu is even more customizable with options for the number of event days displayed, the number of events per day included, whether a day’s events are displayed, and more. You can also turn off any calendars you don’t want to see from here. If there are more events than what can be displayed in the drop-down list, you will see a drop-down entry that displays additional events when the pointer passes over them. Event details are also displayed when you hover over them.

Dato recently added support for displaying time zones. There is a dedicated tab in the Preferences to configure as many time zones as you want, which can be displayed in the menu bar or drop-down menu. Time zones can also include notes, and when displayed in the menu bar, the names of your time zones can be personalized, so that they are short and more meaningful. I tried including the timezones in the menu bar, but decided to keep them in the drop-down menu, which is easily accessible with a keyboard shortcut.

I already have a lot of apps in my menu bar, so I’m always reluctant to add more. However, Dato stuck due to his flexibility. The app comes with a lot of options that I don’t use, but the app’s precise control over what it displays allowed me to include only the options that I need, which I appreciate. If my needs change, it’s good to know that Dato can adapt with me.

Also, although I was initially disappointed to learn that I cannot create new events with Dato, this has not been a problem in practice. Double-clicking on a date in Dato immediately opens the Calendar app, where I can add a new event. Also, now that I am using GoodTask as my task manager again, I have found that I create events from it more often, making it unnecessary to have another way to add tasks.

As I have redesigned my workflows for 2021, one of my goals is to find applications that better meet my current needs. When deciding to return to GoodTask, I realized that a task-centric approach best suited the type of work I do and the way I think about it. I need to know what events I have coming up, but this information is much more valuable in the context of GoodTask listings.

Between GoodTask and Dato, most of my scheduling needs are met. I can create events in GoodTask and review them there or using Dato. I always open Apple’s Calendar app when I want more than a summary view of what’s to come, but especially with the ability to trigger Dato with a keyboard shortcut and quickly navigate between days and weeks. from the keyboard, the times I find myself opening Calendar are rare.

Dato is available on the Mac App Store for $ 4.99.


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