Smartphones

Improve your calendaring experience with Business Calendar

Find out how you can improve your calendaring experience on an Android smartphone with Business Calendar.

Business Calendar Free

For many power users, the default Android calendar isn't enough. I've gone through a number of calendar replacements, but none have offered up as much power as elegantly and efficiently as Business Calendar Free. There's also a paid version of this app that's available for $1.48 (USD).

Features

Here are some of the features that you can expect from Business Calendar Free:

  • Create, edit, and delete events
  • Calendar View / List View
  • Different calendar styles
  • Password protection
  • Event priority
  • Share event (can be sent as SMS or email)
  • Widget
  • Export
  • Backup / Restore
  • Long-press to add new event

What's most impressive about Business Calendar is its interface. The creation of new appointments and the managing of calendars is incredibly easy. But will this calendar fulfill all your mobile calendaring needs? Let's install it and find out.

Installation

The installation of Business Calendar is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for “business calendar” (no quotes)
  3. Tap the entry for Business Calendar Free
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept
  6. Allow the installation to complete

If you want to skip the free version of the app, go ahead and install the paid version. However, it's always nice to be able to test drive the free version. In this case, the free app is fully functional -- it just includes advertisements on some screens.

At this point, you should see a launcher for the newly installed app on your home screen. If not, look for the launcher in the application drawer.

Usage

Most power users will immediately be able to dive right into Business Calendar and feel at home. When you first start the app, it will ask you which widgets and calendars you want to make available. The widgets are offered by size (1x1, 2x1, 3x1, etc) and the calendars are all drawn from your Google account. You can add/remove these later (if you decide to make a change).

When you first open the app, you'll be prompted to either check out the available widgets or to go directly to the application. If you tap the Available Widgets button, you'll be able to select the widget sizes that you want to make available to your system (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Business Calendar running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4.

After you select the widgets you want, tap the phone's back button, and then tap the Let's go button to continue.

The next step is to select which calendars (from your Google account) you want to associate with Business Calendar. After you select the correct calendars (Figure B), tap the Finish Setup button and you're ready to go.

Figure B

Figure B
Every calendar on your Google account will be available to Business Calendar.

Once you've reached this point, the calendar is fairly intuitive. At the bottom of the main window (Figure C) are tabs for each calendar. Tap a calendar to display its contents. You can have as many calendars showing as you like. When a calendar name (at the bottom of the window) is underlined, that calendar is displayed. You can toggle calendars on and off by simply tapping said calendar's tab.

Figure C

Figure C
The Business Calendar main window.

You can also toggle to display the text of appointments. If you toggle this off, you'll only see a colored bar to represent that an appointment exists. You can also switch between the following views:

  • Month
  • Week
  • Day
  • Agenda
  • Year

To switch views, tap the Month/Year drop-down near the top left and select the view you want.

To create a new appointment, tap the plus sign [+] near the top center of the window. At this point (Figure D), you'll need to select which calendar to add the appointment to and then fill in the details. You can add reminders, attendees, show as, set privacy, and set the appointment as a reoccurring event.

Figure D

Figure D
Creating a new appointment in Business Calendar.

Once you're done, tap the Save button at the top and you're good to go.

Using the widget

The widgets are added in the same way you add any widget to your home screen (this will vary, depending on your device and the home screen launcher used). The size of widget you add to the home screen will determine the functionality of the widget. For example, a 1x3 widget will display the upcoming events, whereas a 4x4 widget will show the entire month and allow you to add new events. So, if you have the home screen space available, I highly recommend you add a 4x4 widget.

When you add the widget to the home screen, you'll be prompted to select a few options (Figure E). A 4x4 widget allows you to select the type (Agenda, Week View, or Month View), Design, Initial View, show weekend days, Widget starts view (default, month, week, day, agenda, year), and what to show in the Button Bar.

Figure E

Figure E
The Widget Configuration screen.

If you're looking for a calendar with a few more options than the default Android calendar, give Business Calendar a try. It offers just enough extras to help satisfy power users and is easy enough to use to not frighten away the everyday user.


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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