Welcome! If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve recently downloaded The Events Calendar or Events Calendar PRO 2.0 and aren’t sure where to begin. If so — you’ve come to the right place. The tutorial you’re about to read assumes you know nothing about the Events Calendar and will walk through everything from initial activation to setting up your events. A lot of this information has been floating around at tri.be in various forms since the plugin launched, but this is the first time it’s all been together in one place.Here’s what we’ll cover, specifically:
- Installing/activating Events Calendar
- Walking through the Settings panel
- Migrating events from 1.6.5 or 1.3.3
- Finding the calendar on the frontend
- Setting up your first event
- Setting up recurring events
- Adding events to the menu
- Adding custom event attributes
- Where to go for help
If you’re looking for advanced documentation on how to customize the plugin to integrate with your site, this tutorial won’t go into that much depth…so you may want to check the documentation page.
I. Installing & Activating Events Calendar PRO
The screencast above was produced in the days before we launched Events Calendar PRO 2.0, but the basic gist of the walkthrough process is the same. I’ll also detail it in greater depth here.
To install & activate Events Calendar:
- Open the backend of your site and navigate to the “Plugins” section. Elect to upload a new plugin (ZIP) folder.
- First select The Events Calendar 2.0 from your computer; it should still be zipped up. Hit the upload button and wait for confirmation that all was successful. Hold off on activating for now, though.
- Do the same thing with Events Calendar PRO 2.0 — upload it from your machine and await confirmation that the process was successful.
- Once both plugins have been successfully uploaded, navigate to your broader plugins list. You’ll see two inactive plugins: The Events Calendar and Events Calendar PRO 2.0.
- We’re going to want to ‘Activate’ both of these; do The Events Calendar first, THEN Events Calendar PRO. Note that you can run and use The Events Calendar 2.0 without PRO active; it essentially provides a stripped down version of the code that doesn’t include such functionality as recurring events, frontend venue pages, etc. However — you cannot have PRO active without also running The Events Calendar.
- You’ll know the PRO activation was successful by looking for the “Events” section in your admin sidebar and making sure that “Venues” and “Organizers” appear; since these are PRO-exclusive features, you won’t be seeing them unless PRO is active and functional.
Note that if you’re using just The Events Calendar 2.0 and are not upgrading to PRO 2.0, the steps above are essentially the same…except instead of uploading/activating two plugins, you’ll just do one. You’ll know The Events Calendar activated successfully if you see the broader “Events” section (with 3 options below it) in your lefthand admin sidebar.
II. Walking through the Settings panel
As the screencast above indicates, the settings panel — particularly after the interface changes introduced in 2.0.5 — is a pretty straightforward. (If you’re on a pre-2.0.5 build check out this now-outdated walkthrough of that settings panel). Otherwise, assuming you’re current, let’s review again what each of the options entail. Note that the details below are specific to Events Calendar PRO; the free counterpart does not include all of the fields we’re about to discuss, as some of them are PRO-exclusive. I’ll try to note those PRO-exclusive features as we see them.
Clicking into Settings -> The Events Calendar will land you on our tabbed settings page. The first tab you’ll be directed to is “General.” We’ve detailed what everything does in order of tabs from left-to right, below. Your Settings → The Events Calendar page will therefore include the following:
- Default View for the Events: You have two options here: Calendar and Event List. Whichever you select will be the default view your users on the frontend see when they visit /events (or whatever you’ve configured as the default events page URL; more on that in a bit). Note that whichever option you select, users will still be able to toggle to view the other option via buttons on the frontend.
- Show Comments: A checkbox that, when enabled, adds WordPress’ basic commenting functions to your event listings. If comments are enabled on a whole they can still be disabled as you see fit on a post-by-post basis.
- Multiday Event Cutoff: Let’s say you have an event that runs from 6 pm on Friday until 2 am on Saturday; technically, that’s a Friday & Saturday event — but to readers on the frontend, and for all intents & purposes, it’s a Friday night event that runs long. This is where the multiday event cutoff comes into play; if you set the dropdown here to 2:30 a.m., for example, your Friday-Saturday event would only show on Friday in grid view. Basically this cuts off the last day (in grid view) if the event ends that day before the time specified in the dropdown.
- Enable Google Maps: This checkbox turns on Google Maps integration. Enable it to turn on the backend map preview (that shows as you create events) and the embedded map that appears alongside each event on the frontend.
- Events URL Slug: Determines where on the frontend your events will live; defaults to /events but can be changed to whatever you see fit. Note that the “Current Events URL” link that appears below the field will take you directly to your events page.
- Single Event URL Slug: Similar to the Events URL Slug, this determines the URL structure for a single event. Note that while you want this to be similar to the Events URL Slug, they cannot be identical — notice how if the Events URL Slug defaults to “events”, the Single Event URL Slug has to be “event” (singular). Keep this in mind as you make changes.
- Debug: Turn this checkbox on to log debug information. This is probably not worth enabling unless you have the specific intent of checking for errors with the plugin code.
- Events Template: This dropdown allows you to change the look/feel of the calendar and how it integrates with your site. The plugin comes with two templating options by default (Default Events Template and Default Page Template); your theme will likely include at least one more. Switch between these if you’re finding the calendar does not look as you want it to on the site — while they may not get you 100% where you want to be, you’ll be able to tell right off the bat which templating option is most compatible with your site and can make additional modifications as needed from there.
- Add HTML Before/After Calendar: These fields allow you to add extra divs (or other HTML) before or after the calendar as it appears on the frontend of the site. This can also come in handy for adding sub-heads or announcements to your calendar.
Defaults (PRO only)
There are a number of fields in here; while I won’t review them all in depth, all serve essentially the same purpose: to save you time as you create new events. After checking the “Enabled” checkbox, set whatever default values you deem appropriate. You can include as many or as few as you wish. Once you save, anytime you create new events these fields will be pre-populated.
Additional Fields (PRO only)
This is where you add custom event attributes; we’ll cover the process more in depth once we get to section VIII.
The field(s) where you’ll enter your valid license key(s). Starting with 2.0.5, any events-related add-on you buy from Modern Tribe that requires a license will require you visit this tab. Licenses for all add-ons are placed here! The more you have installed, the more fields will appear. You can add as many or as few as you want at a given time; remember that since none of our plugins require the license to work, you’re merely adding them to access support & future updates. If you’re running a free plugin or one that doesn’t require a license you can obviously ignore this field.
We spent a lot of time devising the Help tab so it’d be as valuable as possible to the community. Got an integration question or bug? Go here first. Aside from giving you an overview of our philosophy and how we treat support issues, it’ll direct you to valuable places like our help videos / FAQs / documentation / etc. We built this plugin to serve you and tried to cram as much information that can help you succeed in here as possible (without making it feel like an inundation…we hope).
III. Migrating Events from Events Calendar 1.6.5 or Events Calendar PRO 1.3.3
The process of migrating events from an earlier build differs a bit between the free, open source Events Calendar (1.6.5) and Events Calendar PRO (1.3.3). 1.6.5 → 2.0 is detailed in this video, with written instructions to be found at the corresponding article. Note that the migration process is identical regardless of whether you’re using The Events Calendar or Events Calendar PRO.
That leaves 1.3.3 → 2.0. Luckily, this process is extremely simple: if you were a 1.3.3 user and are looking to upgrade, you can bypass the entire migration process required by 1.6.5 users. Simply deactivate 1.3.3; then activate The Events Calendar 2.0 (and activate Events Calendar PRO 2.0, if you’re a PRO user). Upon viewing your events list, all the 1.3.3 events should automatically have been converted to 2.0 events and will remain virtually unchanged from your 1.3.3 install.
Note that if you were on 1.3.2 (or any release prior to 1.3.3), it’s strongly advised that you upgrade to the last stable 1.x release — 1.3.3 — before making the jump to 2.0. Feel free to drop Rob an email if you need the 1.3.3 code and he’ll hook it up.
IV. Finding The Calendar on the Frontend
The video above nicely sums up the process of finding your calendar on the frontend. If you’re left with any lingering questions or need a written walkthrough of how to do this, check out the step-by-step at the video’s corresponding article. This process is the same regardless of whether you’re using the free Events Calendar or have upgraded to Events Calendar PRO.
V. Setting Up Your First Event
If you watched the video above, hopefully the process of setting up your first event is a bit clearer. Let’s review it in greater depth.
To set up your first event, regardless of whether you’re a core (free) or PRO user, navigate to the backend of your site and select Events → Add New. You’ll notice that this looks very similar to the page you see when adding a regular post. Creating events is simple:
- Title, description (entry body), categories and featured image operate identical to a regular blog post. Assign and configure them accordingly before moving into The Events Calendar section, which appears below the entry body field.
- Once you begin configuring event details, the first thing you’ll need to decide is whether or not this will be an all day event. If it is, hit the checkbox; you’ll see the start/end time fields disappear upon doing so. If it isn’t an all-day event, leave this field unchanged.
- Select the start date/time; start date will default to today and start time/end time will default to 8 a.m. / 5 p.m. respectively. However — assuming you haven’t set this event as all day — you can change these to whatever fits your event criteria using the dropdowns.
- If you’re a PRO user, you’ll also see a dropdown for “Recurrence.” (Core/free users do not offer recurring events at this time). If that’s the case leave “Recurrence” set to “None” for now; we’ll discuss recurring events in section VI.
- Event Location Details will determine the venue, assuming you want to include one. You can either use a saved venue from the dropdown (PRO users only), or create a new one on the spot. If you do create a new one now and are using PRO, note that it’ll be saved in the dropdown for use on any future event you create. It’s also worth noting that you can add as many or as few venue details as you see fit; whether it’s a specific address or just a country, the plugin will accommodate your needs. You can also leave these fields entirely blank if you don’t want any venue information to display. Remember that the core/free version does not save venues, so if you’re on this more limited code base you’ll need to re-enter your venue details each time.
- If you check the “Show Google Maps Link” box, it will include a nice button that links your readers to view the venue information at maps.google.com. If you check the “Show Google Maps” box, it will embed a map of the venue into the events page directly. You can include one, both or neither of these on an event-by-event basis.
- Event Organizer Details are similar to the venue details we added above, only these focus on the person putting the event together. Once again you have the option to pick from existing organizers via the dropdown (if using PRO) or to add a new one using the fields available; and once again, you can add as many or as few organizer details as you wish. Like venues, saved organizers only exist for PRO users so you’ll need to re-enter organizer details each time if you’ve not yet upgraded to the paid version.
- Event Cost is how much your users can expect to pay for the event. If you leave it blank, no cost field will appear. If you enter a “0”, it will say the cost is “Free”. Otherwise just enter the numeric value you deem appropriate.
- The last field on the page is “Excerpt.” If you add any text here, it will appear in both the broader events list and upon hover in grid view, followed by a link to the full entry. If you leave this field blank the list & grid view will pull their preview directly from the entry body.
VI. Setting Up Recurring Events
A while back, when the plugin was still in its beta stage, we put together a little screencast introducing what recurring events was capable of. But things have changed a bit since then — so let’s review the different types of recurring events and how they appear on the frontend. Remember that all recurring events give you the option of having your event end ON a specific date; or AFTER a fixed number of occurrences. Also recall that recurring events are a PRO-exclusive feature; so if you’re a new user but are working on the open source release, you can bypass this section entirely.
- Every Day
- Every Week
- Every Month
- Every Year
Obviously, the most flexible recurrence option is the “custom” one. We’ve already spent a fair bit of detail on what custom recurrence can do in another article, which you should probably review if you’re still unclear. (There’s also a video on it, if you’re into that sort of thing.) So rather than spend any more time on it here let’s move on to section VII.
VII. Adding Events To The Menu
We detailed adding events to the header menu in the video for step IV (“Finding The Calendar on the Frontend”), above. Written directions can also be found at that video’s corresponding article. This process is the same for both free & PRO users.
VIII. Adding Custom Event Attributes
Remember that custom event attributes are a PRO-exclusive feature. So, as with recurring events, you can skip this section if you’re using just the open source Events Calendar. If you are on PRO, you can review this screencast we put together on adding custom event attributes; but it may also make sense to read on to see the process in writing, since it’s new to 2.0 and something even existing users may be unclear on.
To add custom event attributes to your events:
- Navigate to Settings → The Events Calendar.
- Click the “Additional Fields” tab. (Note: you’ll only have this tab if you’re running PRO).
- You’ll see three areas to configure: Field Label, Field Type, and Options (one per line).
- The Field Label will determine how this attribute appears on the frontend. If you’re aiming to include a “Host” in your events, for example, you’d include the word “Host” here. No need to add the separator colon; the system will throw that in automatically upon publication.
- Field Type determines what type of field this will be: a text field (where event admins can enter whatever they want); Radio (where you pre-populate the options and event admins can select one of them); Checkbox (which is similar to Radio except allows event admins to pick multiple selections instead of just one); and Dropdown (in which you pre-populate the list with options and event admins can select one from a dropdown that appears on the event creation screen).
- As the Options header indicates, you should include one option per line in this corresponding text field. You can include as many or as few you as you see fit.
- You can add more custom fields by selecting the “Add Another” link that appears on the far right. Make sure you save your changes upon completing this and before navigating to another tab, or none of your custom attributes you will be available.
Any custom attribute data that is added here on the Settings page will be available to all users for all events that are created going forward; as it stands there is no way to filter these down by user role or event category. If you ever want to remove an attribute from the site (stripping it from any existing events it may be assigned to along the way), just come back to this Settings page and hit the “Remove” link.
IX. Where To Go For Additional Help
Hopefully this primer was an exhaustive (but not exhausting) overview of what you can do with Events Calendar PRO on its most basic level. Of course, there is tons more the plugin is capable of — how far you’ll extend it depends on how much time you’re willing to spend. But for those looking to do more, we’re here to help. Here’s where we suggest starting, if the “Help” tab in the Settings page doesn’t do it:
- FAQ: Our frequently asked questions page is probably the best starting point to check whether your question has popped up more than once. The FAQ is broken out into different sections that will hopefully help narrow your search down.
- Tutorials: With new tutorials coming on a near weekly basis, this is the best place to look for more advanced templating/development tutorials or other functionality that exists outside of what the plugin offers out of the box.
- Help Videos: Though you’ve probably seen most of our existing help videos in the tutorial above, we’re always adding new ones — and looking for suggestions of what to cover next.
- Support Forum: The first or last line of defense (depending on how you look at it), our support forum is monitored on a daily basis and is the best place to go for one-off questions or direct support. Please make sure you’ve reviewed the forum guidelines before you begin posting, and don’t forget to do a quick search to see whether your issue has already been addressed before posting a new thread. It is important to note that the forum is limited to just PRO users — so if you’re on the open source version, we unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth to provide you with direct support.
We’re also always building out our documentation page with new information to help customize and otherwise extend the plugin’s functionality. Here are the types of information you can find there, which is an exhaustive list at the time of writing:
While not necessarily for the casual user, this documentation should help — and was inspired by requests from — members of the community looking to get more out of this plugin.
Thanks again for reading, and if you’re a paid user, for your purchase of Events Calendar PRO! Feel free to leave any lingering questions in the comments below, or just drop us a note.