Computer Planner Software

Note: Most organization failures are caused by people using inappropriate systems, so take a moment to decide which scheduling system will best fit your needs.

Planner software for your computer has a lot of advantages: you don't have to re-enter repeating events, and it's much easier to coordinate schedules with other people.


Outlook is the calendar program of the Microsoft Office suite, and as such it does the best job of syncing with other Microsoft products.

Outlook Summary

Price May already be on your computer; otherwise $110
Recurring Events Quite flexible; the only system that will allow you to schedule something multiple times in a month (eg "2nd and 4th Fridays")
Pre-event alert Fairly flexible
Available views Day (detailed schedule), Week (detailed schedule), Month (choice of low, medium, or high detail)
Syncs with Most devices try to be able to sync with Outlook, although some succeed better than others
Task List Integrated and very powerful
Other Also handles email and contact list


ACT! is a computer planner software program created by Sage to allow users to organize the major components of their business: what they need to do, when they need to do it, and with whom it will be done.

Like Outlook, ACT! does well with recurring appointments, and will alert you at a specified time before the event, and although ACT! is slightly more flexible in these areas, where it really shines is in contact management. ACT! already comes with more information slots for your contacts, and has much greater customization than Outlook, allowing a Realtor to track the price range of each client, a computer tech to note the model and operating system of each customer, and a teacher to record all of the grades for each student . ACT! also does a better job of record-keeping: it automatically keeps track of every appointment you've had with a contact, and has a much more extensive notes section. If you need to keep track of a large number of people, or if you're in an industry such as the financial or medical where extensive records are mandatory, ACT! is the way to go.

ACT! is also good for offices with frequent meetings or many departments -- it can handle multiple users, allowing them to schedule meetings with each other through ACT!, and keeping the same records between them that it does for their contacts.

On the downside, ACT! does not come preinstalled on your computer, and is fairly expensive. It is difficult to make it sync with other programs or devices, so those who want to use it with a smart phone should be prepared for headaches.

ACT! Summary

Price $150 - $230
Recurring Events Fairly flexible
Pre-event alert Fairly flexible
Available views Day (detailed schedule), Month (detailed schedule)
Syncs with Can be made to sync with most things, but doesn't sync with anything easily
Task List Integrated and very powerful
Other VERY strong contact management

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