Free Personal Information Manager (PIM) Utilities
Free Organizers, Personal Planners and Desktop Calendar Software
Free Personal Information Managers (PIM), Personal Planners, Organizers and Desktop Calendar Software
PIM, or Personal Information Managers, are a personal planners or organizers that help you plan and organize your schedule. Such software usually let you keep track of upcoming events, meetings, appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, TV programs, etc, as well as jot down TODO lists according to the date they happen, usually in an interface that looks like a calendar (although not necessarily). They also have things like alarms or alerts that go off to remind you of things that are going to happen. Some of them also include facilities like address books and other features that you typically find in the PIM in handheld personal organizers like PDAs. The free PIM software listed on this page allow you to manage your own calendar and schedule from the comfort of your own computer, be it a desktop, laptop or ultra-portable.
The most famous of all PIM/organizers is, of course, the commercial Microsoft Outlook, which also comes packaged with some of Microsoft's other office software packages like Microsoft Office Professional.
Free Personal Information Manager (PIM), Organizer and Desktop Calendar Software
- PIM Xtreme (Windows)
PIM Xtreme is a personal organizer for your data. Features include contact lists, notes and annotations (optionally encrypted), tasks, to do lists, a calendar, financial management (accounts, financial movements, reports), alerts, etc. You can also label, group or link information from different features to each other (the site gives the example of relating a contact to an account or an event to a task). Other facilities include the ability to export your calendar. This program is open source and released under the GNU General Public License. It is a Windows program and requires the NET Framework. It also installs a MySQL server on your machine.
- Lightning (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, etc)
If you use Mozilla Thunderbird, a free email program, Lightning is an extension that integrates with the software to provide "email-related calendaring tasks". It has the usual reminder facility (where it sounds an alarm to alert you of events you wish to be notified about), the ability to set recurring events, publish events and share calendars (via webDAV), import and export your calendars, etc.
- Pimki (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc)
Pimki is a PIM, or Personal Information Manager that works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and probably other Unix-type systems. It operates differently from the other PIM software that are desktop based in that it works more like a Wiki that you run on your own machine. As such, it has an integrated blog and wiki, besides the usual TODO items and lists. Other features include a mind map facility that generates graphs of wiki connections (connections between your various entries), a search facility, a glossary page, etc.
- Nomad PIM (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
(Update: Nomad PIM is no longer being updated.) This personal information manager is a modular and extensible program that features task management and time tracking in addition to letting you keep personal notes, a journal, an address book, manage your personal finances, and even evaulating basic fitness measurements. You will need to have the (free) Java Runtime Environment installed to use it. The software is open source and released under the Common Public License.
- Spicebird (Windows, Linux)
(Update: Spicebird has been discontinued.) Spicebird, which calls itself a collaboration suite, is an extended version of Sunbird (see elsewhere on this page), featuring email, calendaring, instant messaging, etc. The intention is to provide access to web services while "retaining all the advantages of a desktop application" (to quote from their site).
- Chandler Project (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
(Update: this program does not seem to be available any more.) The Chandler Project is a desktop calendar, notebook and organizer. You can manage your schedule, jot down TODO items, write notes, track the completion of your tasks, note down your events, meetings, appointments and set tickler alarms that will alert you when those events are due, etc. It also has what it calls a "triage status" which allow you to sort items according to "Now", "Later" or "Done". You can protect your information by setting a password. You can import your calendar and tasks, sync your calendar among multiple computers, sync with CalDAV (Apple iCal, Lightning) calendars, subscribe to webcal (.Mac) and ICAL (Google) calendars, turn reminders into events, preview what's on your calendar quickly through the preview pane, create colour-coding, set recurring events, share your calendar, create a group calendar, star important events, filter your events to only see starred notes and events, and so on. The software is released under an open source licence (Apache Software License) and is available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
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