Trouble keeping on top of your busy schedule? Let Windows Vista organise your life with the help of its calendar-based tool
he calendar must serve as one of mankind’s finest inventions. Its origins are in the mists of pre-history, but it’s as relevant today as it’s ever been. If you have trouble remembering dates or keeping appointments, you’ll find a calendar tool essential, and Windows Vista provides its own built-in tool in the form of the Windows Calendar.
Windows Calendar helps you organise your life in the form of appointments – dates on which events occur – and tasks, enabling you to create a to-do list, complete with deadlines and priorities so you tackle the important things first.
Open the program by typing calendar into the Start menu’s Search box and clicking Windows Calendar when it pops up. By default, one calendar – “Your name’s calendar” – is set up, but you can create different calendars for different purposes (for birthdays and anniversaries, for example). To create another calendar, choose File > New Calendar. Appointments and tasks are then assigned to different calendars, and you can choose to view them all together or hide individual calendars by unticking them.
By default, Windows Calendar displays the current day split into hours, but you can view appointments by week, working week (Monday to Friday) or month by clicking the View button and choosing the appropriate view.
To change the currently selected day, use the date picker – the current month will be selected, so either click another day in this month or use the arrow buttons either side of the month to move forwards and backwards.
Set up an appointment
Appointments can be set to occur at a specific time, or labelled an “all-day” event. They can be one-off events - such as a meeting – or be set to recur at specific intervals (such as birthdays or bill reminders).
Create one by selecting the calendar you want it to come under and then click New Appointment. Fill in the Details box in the right-hand pane – it’s all self-explanatory. If you want to invite people to this event, click the Attendees button under Participants to enter their email address, and click the Invite button to create a new email message with the event details stored in the iCalendar (icf) format. The recipients then simply open this to add the details to their own calendar. To be reminded of the event up to two weeks in advance, click the Reminder drop-down menu and choose from the list of options.
To set up a new task, click New Task, give it a name, deadline and – if necessary – reminder (choose On Date and pick your date from the date picker). Manage multiple tasks by assigning different priorities to each.
Beyond Windows Calendar
If you have a Windows Live account, you can try the Windows Live Calendar application instead - this is web-based, so works in earlier versions of Windows too. The major difference between this version and the Windows Calendar supplied with Windows Vista is that it enables you to easily access your calendar from any computer using your Windows Live account, plus you can share it with other Windows Live users, perfect for sharing events with family, friends and colleagues. You can also access this through Windows Live Mail. The step-by-step guide below reveals how it works.