Ask Lifehacker: Is There A Software Equivalent To A Wall Planner?

Dear Lifehacker, It's that time of year again, and I've got to say I just can't find any software tools that replace a full size wall planner. Maybe it's just a size thing, and there's too much information to fit on a single screen? Does anyone know of a good (affordable) solution that lets me view and edit a whole year of appointments on screen?

A couple of years ago I came up with an 'almost' solution - I took a photo of my wall planner and used it as wallpaper on my laptop. A bit awkward for adding new appointments though. Thanks, Phil C

Dear Phil,

A plunge through the Lifehacker archives doesn't show up any software that specifically replaces the functionality of a yearly planner by providing a full-year view on a single screen. If there's a good standalone option out there, I'm sure readers will let us know.

Fundamentally, I think you've already answered your own question. Even with the mega-sized monitors many of us sport these days, fitting an entire year on the screen would be pretty difficult. Most calendar software maxes out at offering a month at a time — that's what happens with Google Calendar (sand the Labs add-in) and Outlook. Google Calendar will let you see a whole year on-screen if you enable the Year View option in Labs, but you can't see any meaningful detail about individual appointments at that scale, or even click through to days with activities booked. Project management software offers more complex views as well, but that's a cumbersome and possibly expensive solution for basic calendar tasks.

I tend to think that a wall planner is better for planning large blocks of time than for specific appointments. Once you've got to fit half-a-dozen appointments into a day plus reminders, the wall planner becomes entirely useless, while an on-screen calendar shines. A wall planner view is also a total no-go on a mobile phone. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't be useful — it's just one of those cases where you have to trade off the convenience of sync for the convenience of a year-long view.

Cheers Lifehacker


Comments

    Thanks for the feedback. What I have in mind would need something with smooth 'infinite zoom' like some of those ipad graphic apps, or even google maps. Smoothly pan outwards for the big picture of the year, zoom back in for the detail. Just seems odd to still have to go analogue for something like this.

    A big image file on a Tablet PC works OK for this. I can write (or type in textboxes) at whatever scale I want.

    A calendar can be executed as a GIF or vector-image so it's not too big.

    Muji cal for the ipad does a yearly view, syncs with google cal and allows for pinch to zoom into individual months, weeks then days.

    Not as smooth as the photos app but the best I have seen so far.

    http://itunes.apple.com/app/id396882964

    Hi - you can generate a wall planner for download, after a very clear online preview at;

    http://www.somacon.com/p352.php

    Seems to work very very well and may suit some people.

    Stephen
    ps add your own events.....

      Ah yes, but that's only MONTHLY. Need a coherent year view.

    VueMinder has a tab that shows a full year, along with color-coding of dates based on the appointments or tasks that are defined on those dates. You can even hover the mouse over a date to see a popup of all the activities planned for that day.

    Here's the article from VueSoft's blog describing the year view and showing an example screenshot:
    http://www.vueminder.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=20&cntnt01origid=61&cntnt01returnid=61

    The software at http://www.c-software.net/index.htm does this pretty well- if only it was an outlook plug-in rather than a stand alone piece of software

    Have you looked at Rainlendar? You can configure the size of the calendar and in skinable.
    http://www.rainlendar.net/cms/index.php

      Hey thanks - really great aPP !!
      5 stars :) *****

      Stephen

      @ Lee, trouble is, Rainlender seems no more effective than the others in giving a live, editable "Year Overview" - which is the essence of what a traditional whiteboard-and-pen wall planner does so well. Or did I miss something in their screen shots?

        There's the option for this under Options > Skins > Year Calendar.

    Two other alternatives: DateLens (an Outlook add-in) and Essential PIM.

    A bit late to party, but there's a new app that could be just what you need: Yearful (https://yearful.io). It shows a whole year on a single page, with easy colour-coded categories. You can create multiple calendars for different themes and share with friends.

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