Excel Wizards, Help Me Make My Dream Calendar
April 4, 2016 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Hi! I an Excel novice surrounded by fellow novices and I need help with what looks like an unexpectedly difficult setup. I make a comprehensive calendar of activities and events for a retirement home every month. This takes most of a month to plan and transcribe, and is tedious and error-prone. I want to make something better. Assume I am smart but have little programming knowledge or power user experience.

I have a lot of events that recur on a given schedule (Seated Fitness every Monday at 11:45, Science and Technology Group every 1st Monday, News Forum Thursday morning, Friday morning, and Saturday afternoon, etc.). I also generate an agenda style list of activities, and a daily schedule as well as a monthly.
I always wind up with errors on the calendar because there are hundreds of events listed that turn into white noise. Errors like a misplaced or missing event make it through multiple rounds of proofing by multiple people, and I'm getting frustrated with it. I want to spend less time writing the schedule and more time planning it.

Here's what I really want: a way to magically turn an agenda style list of events into monthly and daily calendars. I need to have a fair amount of aesthetic control over the outputs because they have to follow house style rules. Even better would be some If/Then controls, like, "SingFit happens every other Friday except when Jazz happens". I need to be able to add one time events and reschedule instances of recurring events.

Frankly, I'm basically describing Outlook's calendar, which is how I actually keep track of and plan the schedule. I just don't know any way to make Outlook output aesthetically manageable. I've tried exporting Outlook's calendar data into excel, and making a table from that output gets me most of the way to the agenda-style list. But I have no idea how to make that into a readable calendar, or if all this is possible. I'm guessing Excel is my best choice, but honestly not certain. I have enterprise grade Office at my disposal.

TL;DR: if you are an Excel (or other program) wizard, and you had to make a perfect events and activities calendar using the same data for three different formats, what would you do? Or how much would you charge to build it for a noob like me?
posted by skookumsaurus rex to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Trello in Gold mode Calendar view??
posted by tilde at 5:27 PM on April 4, 2016

I'd look at iCal to Word converters, like this, or Outlook templates like this.
posted by beyond_pink at 5:57 PM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

This didn't get much of an answer because your whole issue is how to get the events into "house style rules", which you don't explain.
posted by WCityMike at 5:48 PM on April 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good point, WCityMike. I'm sure I'm not doing a great job expressing myself, missing too much vocabulary and experience with this kind of thing. If anyone is still listening out there, here's the current style for the monthly calendar, with the agenda and dailies much more open to change. Trello doesn't seem to do quite what I'm looking for, though it seems cool on its own. The links beyond_pink shared are promising, thank you. I'll keep trying!
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 8:36 AM on April 7, 2016

What software is that calendar currently produced in?
posted by misterbrandt at 8:42 AM on April 7, 2016

Oh nevermind, I see from the filename it is a docx.

To my eye, all you need is a calendar system that you can use to build the schedule (with smart recurring events, etc), and then a way to dump that calendar to an agenda-style format. Then you can copy/paste each day into the right day's cell of the table and apply indent styling to make the linewraps work correctly? Or are you looking for something more automated than that?
posted by misterbrandt at 8:48 AM on April 7, 2016

Misterbrandt, that's pretty much exactly what I'm looking for. More automated would be cool, but not if it makes it more difficult to handle. Do you know a good way to handle the smart recurring events and the agenda-style dump?
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 2:42 PM on April 7, 2016

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