Improved Importing and Exporting
Version 8.0 adds significant improvements to the importing and exporting of events. In the previous version, events could be imported from Outlook, Excel, or iCalendar files. In version 8.0, events can also be imported from text files formatted as CSV (comma separated values) or tab-delimited. When importing from text or Excel files, many new input fields are supported, including fields for specifying how events should recur, how they should be colored, or whether they should have associated reminders. Also, unrecognized fields will no longer be ignored. Instead, an import wizard will allow custom mapping between input field names and destination field names.
Importing Events - Now More User Friendly
The window for importing events has been completely redesigned to make it easier to use and more intuitive. It can be accessed from the "Import Events" command on the File menu. The first screen presents options for the import source. Additional information will be shown on the window, depending on the selected import source.
After selecting an import source and clicking the "Next" button, the window will update based on the selected source and file. For example, if Outlook were selected, a listing of the Outlook calendars available for import would be shown. In the example screenshot below, a CSV file was selected. The destination calendar for the imported events can be selected from a drop-down list of existing calendar names, or a new calendar name can be typed in. Additional settings also allow importing of reminders and colors, and the use of defined calendar defaults if data is not present in the imported file.
Importing Events - Custom Field Names and Mappings
When importing from Excel, CSV, and tab-delimited text files, the Import window will show a mapping of input fields to destination fields. In most cases, VueMinder will guess the destination field based on the input field name. If VueMinder is unable to make an appropriate guess, the destination field will be blank. A selection can be made by clicking the drop-down button, where a list of all supported field names will be shown.
Importing Events - Summary Window
After selecting the field mapping and clicking Next, the events will be imported and a summary of the import shown. At this point, the "Import Another" button can be clicked to import another file, or the "Close" button clicked to close the window.
Importing Events - Drag-and-Drop
Events can also be imported by dragging and dropping a file into the VueMinder window. The file will be checked to determine if it contains event, task, or note data, and the appropriate import window and settings will be shown, skipping some of the manual steps required in the Import window.
Importing Events - Supported Field Names
When importing events from CSV, Excel, and tab-delimited text files, the following “To Fields” are supported. Most of these are optional. The only fields that must be present are “Title” and “Start”. Also, since these fields might not be applicable to every event, you can leave the value blank to have the field ignored for a particular event.
Title – The event title text.
Location – The event location text.
Category – The event category. If there are multiple categories, separate them with semicolons. Example: “Work; Important; Follow-up”
Calendar – The event calendar. If not specified, the imported event will be assigned to the “Destination calendar” selected in the Import window. Otherwise, this will override the selected destination calendar.
Priority – The event priority. Example: “High”.
Start – The event starting date and time. For an all-day event, just the date is needed. The format should match the date/time format used for events in Windows, based on your regional settings.
End – The event ending date and time. If this isn't specified, the Duration field will be used. If the Duration field is also not specified, the event will be assumed to last all day if the Start field doesn't include a time of day in it text. Otherwise it will be assumed to be 1 hour in length.
Duration – The duration of the event. It should be formatted as “N span”, where N is a number and span is “minutes”, “hours”, “days”, ”weeks”, or “months”. Example: “30 minutes”.
All Day – An all-day flag. Values that are blank, “No”, or “False” will be treated as non all-day events, while values of “X”, “Yes”, or “True” will be treated as all-day. The same yes/no value parsing is used for other flag input fields, such as the “Completed” field.
Completed – The event completion flag. When set, the event will be marked as completed.
Popup Reminder Time – The time before the event start that a popup reminder should appear. If blank, there will be no popup reminder. Otherwise, specify the length of time as “N span”, similar to the Duration field format. Other time-span fields, such as “Desktop Alert Time” also use this format.
Desktop Alert Time - The time before the event start that a desktop alert should appear. If blank, there will be no desktop alert.
Email Reminder Time – The time(s) before the event start that an email reminder should be sent. If multiple times are desired, separate them with semicolons. The reminder will only be sent to the email address specified in the Email Settings. Additional recipients cannot be specified by the import. This could be improved after I improve the reminder settings to allow direct email addresses instead of needing to be associated with pre-defined contacts.
SMS Reminder Time – The time(s) before the event start that an SMS reminder should be sent, similar to the “Email Reminder Time” field.
Run Program Name – The executable to run, including the full path (if not in the Windows path variable) and file name, when the event starts. This could be used to initiate a backup process, launch a web browser, or whatever else you want to start automatically. Example: “iexplore.exe”
Run Program Parameters – Parameters to pass to the executable specified in the “Run Program Name” field. Example: “http://www.vueminder.com”
Recurs Daily – When this flag is set, the event will be imported as a daily recurring event. The first occurrence is specified by the “Start” field.
Recurs Weekly – When this flag is set, the event will be imported as a weekly recurring event. The first occurrence and day-of-week is determined by the “Start” field.
Recurs Monthly – When this flag is set, the event will be imported as a monthly recurring event. The first occurrence and day of month is determined by the “Start” field.
Recurs Yearly – When this flag is set, the event will be imported as a yearly recurring event. The first occurrence and day of year is determined by the “Start” field.
Recurrence – This field can be used as an alternative to the recurrence flag fields like “Recurs Daily”. Supported text values are blank, “Daily”, “Weekly”, “Monthly”, or “Yearly”.
Font Name – The name of the font, to override the default calendar appearance. Example: “Times New Roman”
Font Size – The size of the font. Example: “12”
Font Color – The color of the event text. All color fields support several formats. These can be “R, G, B”, where R, G, and B are each numbers 0 through 255 representing the red, green, and blue components of the color. Example: “128, 200, 30”. The format can also be a hex number starting with either “0x” or “#”. The bytes are ordered RRGGBB. For example, yellow would be “0xFFFF00”. A pre-defined color name can also be specified as text, instead of numerically. Example: “Yellow”. To see a list of pre-defined color names, click the drop-down button on any of the color inputs and select the “Web” tab. All the color names specified on that tab can be specified as text when importing.
Background Color 1 – The primary event background color. The format is the same as the other color fields.
Background Color 2 – The secondary event background color, as well as its border color. The format is the same as the other color fields.
Gradient Style – The gradient style used to blend the two background colors together. The value is text. To see a list of supported values, click the Gradient style drop-down button in the appearance settings. Note, if a style as spaces in its name in the drop-down list, the spaces should be removed in the specified import value. Example: “GlassTop”.
Exporting Events - Output to CSV Files
The Export Events window has similar changes to its layout and design, for consistency with the Import Events window. In addition, events can now be exported to CSV files.
Version 8.0 makes importing and exporting event data easier than ever.
- The redesigned import and export windows help streamline the process.
- The ability to map unrecognized field names eliminates the guesswork involved with determining what the "correct" column name should be in the file to import.
- The addition of CSV and tab-delimited file support makes it easier to transfer data between VueMinder and other programs, particularly those that don't support the ICS file standard.
- The ability to drag-and-drop files for importing makes the process of importing events extremely quick and easy.