Fantastical openings confusion

I’m giving the Openings feature of Fantastical a workout today. Or I’m planning to. Running into a bit of confusion.

Let’s say I want to set up a meeting wtih Ann. I want the title of the meeting to be “Mitch/Ann meeting.” In the notes, I want to say, “Mitch to call Ann at (516) 555-1212.”

What’s the best way to do that? Do I create an Opening with that title and notes? Do I create a new Template to do that? If I do that for every meeting, isn’t my Fantastical account going to be cluttered up with a lot of meeting templates, unless I delete each one individually after the meeting is done? Or should I create a generic “meeting with Mitch” template and then modify the appointment after the recipient accepts the time?

I would use a proposal for this, not an opening. A proposal is a one-time set of options for just that meeting, so it doesn’t create clutter for it to have a custom title/notes.

To create a proposal you just add options to a regular event, like so.

And it fills up your calendar until you commit to one time.

After you’ve committed to the time, you won’t see any trace of the proposal in Fantastical unless you want to make a Mitch/Ann template for future proposals.

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But that means that I have to keep a lot of times locked down until people accept my meeting requests, right?

My situation is a little different than most people’s. I’m writing an article for an online news site, and sending out interview requests. Many of these people will decline to be interviewed, but for the ones who agree, I want to lock them into a time as quickly as possible. I can easily fill up my calendar with meeting proposal times, most of which will never be agreed to.

Maybe my situation is so unusual that Fantastical never considered it. Most people sending out meeting invitations already have agreement from their recipients that they are willing to meet, and they’re just looking to set up a time. My situation would be limited to journalists, salespeople, police and other investigators of one type or another. Not the general population.

I’ll keep an eye on this topic though. Maybe somebody else in a similar situation has a workaround.

Like, you’d like to use a dynamic openings template like Mitch call {name} which would populate based on the name field on the openings page? And perhaps autofill their phone number in the description with another field? That’d be a nice feature.

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Something like that.

Even better if Proposals could be made to work similarly to Openings, where I can just send a link that says “put yourself on my calendar,” the invitee sees every available time I have, but no times are blocked out until and unless the invitee puts themselves down for a time.

I’m going to try using Proposals and then modifying the meeting after accepting. Hopefully the recipient will then receive the modifications. Hold my beer!

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I’ve used openings for a year now and love it. I do what you’re doing as a two step process.

Create the opening with a generic name - 30 minute blocks that respect your availability. Send the link to people and they can book first come first served. Then, after they’ve booked, I update the meeting title in fantastical with the more descriptive name for the meeting and the Zoom link. Yes, they have to accept a separate calendar invite, but I haven’t had anyone complain about that in a year.

There was a bug in proposals a month or two ago that made them unreliable. I think it’s been fixed but I’ve remained exclusively and openings user anyway.

I’m similarly frustrated by this limitation of Fantastical.

It’s a sufficiently frequent & high-value usecase (for me) that, in addition to Fantastical, I pay for a separate service (SavvyCal) to enable third parties to schedule meetings with me. Calendly would be another option, but SavvyCal includes extra functionality which I find useful, which is missing from Calendly.

I think I’m missing what the limitation is. Can you explain what SavvyCal does that Fantastical is missing? I moved to Fantastical from Calendly and haven’t noticed anything missing. Also, they’ve been very responsive to feature requests, so perhaps we can ask for what it’s lacking (maybe you already have!).

It’s a bit difficult to explain, but I’ll give it a go. The things which I do with Savvycal which (afaik) I can’t do with Fantastical or Calendly:

  1. Create a re-usable booking link which I can send to multiple different people to book 1:1 meetings with me, based on my chosen availability on different days without blocking those times out of my calendar. (Can do this in Calendly, but not Fantastical)

  2. Define my availability on different days by visually dragging, not by manually entering times. (Can do this in Fantastical, but not Calendly)

  3. Have my confirmed meetings/appointments in any of my calendars automatically subtracted from my manually defined availability. (Can do this in Calendly. Not sure if it works in Fantastical)

  4. Separate my availability from my booking link. I.e. so that I can manually define availability once (for any given week of sequence of weeks), and then use it with multiple different booking links (e.g. one booking link for 60 minute meetings; a different link for 30 minute meetings etc) I don’t have to manually define my availability multiple times for different booking links, but I have the option to do so if I want.

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For example. Let’s say I’m doing three projects: two with companies in US and one with a company in UK. I’m based in London. There are multiple people from each company with whom I need to have 1:1 meetings.

Because of the timezone difference, I want to save my afternoons for the US companies. So I want to manually define my availability in a given week, once for US interviewees (regardless of company). Then I want to create two different booking links (one for each company) which I can use with all employees of each company, but with the same availability for both.

I manually create a new appointment in Fantastical to collect my kids at 3.30pm on Thursday. I want that hour to automatically appear unavailable to all of the meeting link recipients.

Two US recipients reply to say they’re away next week, and could I give them some availability for the week after. In Savvycal, I can manually update my availability for the following week, for the US recipients only, and that updated availability is automatically reflected via the same booking link they’ve already got (i.e. I don’t need to give them a new link)

I need to create a separate availability calendar for employees of the UK company. This is limited to mornings, so that the afternoons are free for the Americans. I need a separate booking link for the UK company.

None of this is a criticism of Fantastical. which I think is, well, a fantastic app. I just have usecases (I think similar to @MitchWagner ) which I can’t see a way of fulfilling using Fantastical, but which Savvycal is brilliant for.

I currently pay for both. I’d be thrilled if Fantastical added functionality to cover these usecases, but I’m not expecting it.

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I really like this idea to decouple availability. Especially when you’re scheduling as part of your job, and getting the meeting booked is top priority, you don’t need different kinds of meetings at different times of the day. Most people would just need a work set and a personal set. Maybe a third set if you always do your side project or non-profit board stuff certain days.

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I found a nifty use for Fantastical Openings this morning.

I’m back doing journalism, part time, and needed to jump on a breaking news story, which I became aware of this morning. There were three people I wanted to solicit interviews from, and I needed to do the interviews by noon. If they were not available by then, I’d just need to do the story without their input. I already had an appointment with one of these people, but I wanted to try to make it earlier.

So I created a Fantastical opening titled “Mitch Wagner meeting–Wednesday morning.” I set the open times to 9:30 am-12 pm. I sent the invitation link. Then I forgot about it. This probably saved me about a half-hour of back-and-forth.

None of the people could meet with me, but if it had worked, it would have been great!

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I have it set up this way. I put 4 links in my email signature - 15 minutes with Craig, 30, 1 hour, and 2 hours - 15, 30 and 1 hour schedule to a spot that I have made open without any intervention from me. 2 Hours requires my approval. Lots of options for time before, time after, etc, and also adding a video call automatically with your Zoom, Google, Teams or whatever.

I was about to pay for Calendly, when I saw this. It really works great. Now, not something I configure every day, so tough to say here how to do it, but it has worked great!

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Thank you! That’s very helpful.

This is exactly how I use openings. I send the link, they get a web page of what’s available and it’s not blocked out until they choose it. Perhaps you’re missing the “within date range” option when creating a template for openings? (It’s a bit buried!)

You’re correct that the UI for this in fantastical is not drag/drop.

Yes, this works. I have 4 calendars (3 O365 and 1 Google) feeding into my Openings links. Busy on any one of them removes the availability.

Agreed. At the very least I’d like to be able to “update availability” across multiple templates at the same time.

Everything up to this point is consistent with what I do in Fantastical.

I can’t even wrap my brain around how you can manage this! I thought my calendar life was complicated! I know how I would manage this workflow in Fantastical, but I suspect if I were having to do it regularly I’d opt for the additional app that does it more seamlessly.

This is how I use it for my “standing” meeting links - and I have them for multiple calendars.

I also create “temporary” meeting links when I want to confine someone’s window within a fixed set of days (e.g. “Let’s meet next Tuesday or Wednesday, click here to see when I’m available those days.”)