Getting started in Calendar Manager

Calendar Manager is designed to store event information from various calendars that you set up and display those events on the website. This article describes some of the established best practices for using Calendar Manager to set up new calendars and to create and display events.

Calendar Manager is divided into tabs.

Dashboard tab

The Calendar Manager dashboard, which appears when you first open Calendar Manager from the Modules menu, shows lists of the events that are most likely to be useful to you: your recently edited events, upcoming events, and most recent events. It also shows suggested or unpublished events that may need an administrator's approval.

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Calendars tab

Calendars on the "Calendars" tab are arranged in groups. You can create new groups using the green "New Group" button, giving each group a name and description. Groups help to organize calendars in Calendar Manager.

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Calendars are displayed on Composer site pages using a Calendar element.

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When used in conjunction with a Calendar element, the Calendar Tools element "Legend" format lets you choose to display events either alphabetically or by calendar group, so think about what sorts of groups would be helpful for your readers when you're setting them up.

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Creating new calendars

Create a new calendar using the green "New Calendar" button.

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On the calendar settings screen that appears, the most important step is to choose the calendar type from the dropdown menu:

  • Normal: A normal calendar without special properties, this is the standard calendar used to post events on your site.
  • Live iCal: Live iCal calendars are not updated manually with new events; instead, they are updated automatically by a "feed" of events from another online calendar, such as a Google iCal or Apple Calendar.
  • Block: Block calendars define a rotating schedule of labeled days for academic classes and other activities. Select this calendar type to configure the rotation period and class schedule for your school's Block system.
  • Exception: Exception calendars define any blocked-out days that other calendars should avoid when scheduling recurring events, such as holidays, professional development days, parent-teacher conferences, and so on. Exception calendars can also be updated to incorporate unscheduled days off, such as snow days or other weather events.

Note: The calendar type cannot be changed after the calendar is created.

After creating a calendar, you can use the pencil icon next to the title on the Calendars tab to edit the calendar settings.

This screen is also where you can View Events, Clone, or Delete the calendar, as well as assign admin rights for groups or individual users.

Events tab

The Events tab in Calendar Manager is where admins can view all of the site calendars and any event that has been added to them.

The landing page for Events is a standard grid calendar in month view, which can be set to display all or some of the site calendars.

Select calendars from the left column and choose "Update View." On the right, you can switch between day, week, month, and year views.

Select the green "Create Event" button to create an event. Indicate title, date, time, location, and recurrence, as applies. Then, attach the event to one or more calendars. You can also add notes or a description, set priority, and attach a form or Registration Manager event.

Finally, the Calendars tab includes a Print icon. This offers a basic PDF version of the current calendar view that can be printed using your browser. It is not customizable.

Import tab

If you have a large number of events to add to Calendar Manager, it may be beneficial to use an import as an alternative to hand-entering multiple events one at a time. Rather than adding events individually to the calendar, an import consists of a spreadsheet with each event's details (date, start time, end time, notes, etc.) entered into its own row.

You can import events from an iCal file, a tab-delimited spreadsheet, or an iCal URL. Choose which calendar to upload the events to or, if this data is part of your file, select "Defined by import file."

A data sheet for uploading calendar events can be obtained from the Downloads section. For more information about importing events, refer to Uploading Calendar Events.

Export Tab

It's also possible to export calendar events from Calendar Manager, within a specific date range and from one or more calendars. You can export events in a variety of formats:

  • iCal
  • XML
  • CSV
  • MS Excel (raw or formatted)
  • iCal for Outlook 2k3

Settings tab

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The Settings tab offers options for how to format the module, calendar, and events on a site-wide scale, including:

How to format the way dates and times are displayed, including 24-hour time format*

  • The minute increments by which events can be scheduled*
  • What days and times to start and end the week in grid view*
  • What day to start the week*
  • The date range for events included in outgoing iCal feeds
  • Location data for built-in weather reporting
  • Group calendar and feed visibility

*For Page Manager sites; Composer calendar styles are defined by the calendar element settings and the site's CSS.

Managing workflow

It isn't necessary for every site administrator to have Calendar Manager admin permissions in order to contribute events to the site calendars. Using the "Allow site visitors to post requested events" checkbox in the calendar settings, you can set up a workflow where users request events and a calendar admin approves and publishes them to the calendar. You can also give admins different levels of permissions within each calendar.

In spite of these features, Finalsite does not recommend using Calendar Manager for facilities management. While some schools have done so successfully on a very basic level, facilities management is a delicate practice that's better served by a specialized tool meant specifically for that purpose. There are a number of third-party services available that are designed to manage room-booking.

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