CALCURSE - text-based organizer
calcurse is a text-based personal organizer
which helps keeping track of events and everyday tasks.
It contains a calendar, a 'todo' list, and puts your
appointments in order. The user interface is configurable,
and one can choose between different color schemes and
layouts. All of the commands are documented within an
online help system.
I started thinking about this project when I was finishing
my Ph.D. in Astrophysics... It started to be a little hard
to organize myself, and I really needed a good tool to help
me in that difficult task ;)
I like programs which use Text User Interfaces, because they are simple, fast, portable and efficient, so I thought about working on coding a simple calendar using such an interface. Moreover, I wanted to go on learning the
language, which I only used for a while during my undergraduate
studies. So I thought that would be the good project to start
in order to get organized and to learn about a few
C things !
Unfortunately, I finished my Ph.D. before finishing
but anyway, I still wanted to work on it, hoping it would
be helpful to other people. So here it is...
But why 'calcurse' anyway ? Well, it is simply the concatenation of 'CALendar' and 'nCURSEs', the name of the library used to build the user interface.
Calcurse is multi-platform and intended to be
lightweight, fast and reliable. It is to be used inside a
console or terminal, locally or on a distant machine within
an ssh (or similar) connection.
Calcurse can be run in two different modes :
interactive or non-interactive mode. The first mode allows
oneself to view its own personal organizer almost everywhere,
thanks to the text-based interface.
The second mode permits to easily build reminders just by adding
calcurse with appropriate command line arguments
inside a cron tab or within a shell init script.
calcurse was created with the end-user
in mind, and tends to be as friendly as possible. This means
a complete on-line help system, together with having all of
the possible actions displayed at any time inside a status bar.
The user interface is also configurable, and one can choose
between several color and layout combinations.
Calcurse requires only a
C compiler, such as
gcc, and the
It would be very surprising not to have a valid
library already installed on your computer, but if not, you can
find it at the following url :
calcurse supports internationalization
(i18n hereafter) through the
utilities. This means
calcurse can produce
multi-lingual messages if compiled with native language
support (i.e. NLS). However, NLS is
optionnal and if you do not want to have support for
multi-lingual messages, you can disable this feature. This is
done by giving the
--disable-nls option to
configure (see section Install process).
To check if the
gettext utilities are
installed on your system, you can search for the
libintl.h header file for instance:
locate libintl.hIf this header file is not found, then you can obtain the
gettextsources at the following url :
http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/gettext/Note: Even if
libintl.his found on your system, it can be wise to specify its location during the install process, by using the
configure. Indeed, the
configurecould fail to locate this library if installed in an uncommon place.
First you need to gunzip and untar the source archive:
tar zxvf calcurse-1.4.tar.gzOnce you meet the requirements and have extracted the archive, the install process is quite simple, and follows the standard three steps process:
make install(may require root privilege)
./configure --helpto obtain a list of possible options.
calcurse takes the following options from the
calcurse -d 3will display your appointments for today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.
calcurseversion and exit.
calcurse can be compiled with native language
library). Thus, if you wish to have messages displayed
into your native language, first make sure it is available by
looking at the
This file indicates the set of available languages by showing
the two-letters corresponding code (for exemple, fr
stands for french). If you do not find your language, it
would be greatly appreciated if you could help translating
calcurse (see the How to
If your language is available, run
calcurse with the following command:
LC_ALL=fr_FR calcursewhere fr_FR is the locale name in this exemple, but should be replaced by the locale corresponding to the desired language.
When called with at least one of the following arguments:
calcurse is started in non-interactive mode.
This means the desired information will be displayed, and
calcurse simply quits and you are
driven back to the shell prompt.
That way, one can add a line such as
in its init config file to display at logon the list of tasks
and appointments scheduled for the current day.
When called without any argument or only with the
calcurse is started in
interactive mode. In this mode, you are shown an interface
containing three different panels which you can browse using
the 'TAB' key, plus a status bar (see figure below).
appointment panel---. .---calendar panel | | v v +------------------------------------++----------------------------+ | Appointments || Calendar | |------------------------------------||----------------------------| | April 6, 2006 || April 2006 | | ||Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun | | || 1 2 | | || 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | | || 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 | | || 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 | | || 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 | | || | | |+----------------------------+ | |+----------------------------+ | || ToDo | todo | ||----------------------------| panel | || | | | || | | | || |<--. | || | | || | | || | +------------------------------------++----------------------------+ | ? Help R Redraw H/L -/+1 Day G GoTo C Config | | Q Quit S Save J/K -/+1 Week Tab Chg View |<-. +------------------------------------------------------------------+ | | status barThe first panel represents a calendar which allows to highligth a particular day, the second one contains the list of the events and appointments on that day, and the last one contains a list of tasks to do but which are not assigned to any specific day. In the bottom line of the screen there is a status bar, which indicates the possible actions and the corresponding keystrokes.
The following structure is created in your
directory the first time
calcurse is run :
$HOME/.calcurse/ |___conf |___apts |___todoThe conf file contains the user configuration.
At any time, the built-in help system can be invoked by pressing the '?' key. Once viewing the help screens, informations on a specific command can be accessed by pressing the keystroke corresponding to that command.
All of the
calcurse parameters are configurable from the
Configuration menu available when pressing 'C'. You are then
driven to a submenu with three possible choices : pressing 'C'
again will lead you to the Color scheme configuration,
pressing 'L' allows you to choose the layout of the main
calcurse screen (in other words, where to put the three
different panels on screen), and last you can choose between
different general options by pressing 'G'.
These options control
calcurse general behavior,
as described below:
auto_saveis set to no. This means the user must press 'S' (for saving) in order to retrieve its modifications.
calcurseto quit without prompting for user confirmation.
calcurse color theme is configurable and is to be
chosen by typing the number corresponding to the desired
theme. This color will then be applied to the panel borders,
to the titles, to the keystrokes, and to general informations
displayed inside status bar. A black and white theme is also
available, in order to support non-color terminals.
$TERMenvironnement variable, color could or could not be supported. An error message will appear if you try to change colors whereas your terminal does not support this feature.
calcurseto display them, try to set your
$TERMvariable to another value (such as xterm-xfree86 for instance).
The layout corresponds to the position of the panels inside
calcurse screen. The default layout makes the
calendar panel to be displayed on the top-right corner of the
terminal, the todo panel on the bottom-right corner, while the
appointment panel is displayed on the left hand-side of the
screen (see the figure in section
for an exemple of the default layout).
By choosing another layout in the configuration screen, user can customize
calcurse appearence to best suit
his needs by placing the different panels where needed.
Incorrect highlighting of items appear when using calcurse
black and white theme together with a
variable set to xterm-color.
To fix this bug, and as advised by Thomas E. Dickey
xterm maintainer), xterm-xfree86
should be used instead of xterm-color to set
"The xterm-color value for $TERM is a bad choice for XFree86 xterm because it is commonly used for a terminfo entry which happens to not support bce. Use the xterm-xfree86 entry which is distributed with XFree86 xterm (or the similar one distributed with ncurses)."
Please send bug reports and feedback to:
firstname.lastname@example.org to the author:
If you would like to contribute to the project,
you can first send your feedback on what you like or dislike,
and if there are features you miss in
For now on, possible contributions concern the translation
calcurse messages and documentation.
Note: Any help in getting
internationalized would be very welcomed, but before
contributing, send a mail to
email@example.com to know if someone
already started the translation process into your language.
The doc/ directory of the source package already
contains translated version of
manual. However, if the manual is not yet available into your
native language, it would be appreciated if you could help
To do so, just copy one of the existing manual file to
manual_XX.html, where XX
identifies your language. Then translate this newly created
file and send it to the author (see Reporting
bugs and feeback), so that it can be included in the
As already mentioned,
gettext utilities are used
calcurse to produce multi-lingual
messages. This section provides informations about how to
translate those messages into your native language. However,
this howto is deliberately incomplete, focusing on working
specifically. For more comprehensive informations or to grasp
the Big Picture of Native Language Support, you should refer
GNU gettext manual at:
http://www.gnu.org/software/gettext/manual/Basically, three different people get involved in the translation chain: coders, language coordinator, and translators. After a quick overview of how things work, the translator tasks will be described hereafter.
To be able to display texts in the native language of the
user, two steps are required: internationalization
(i18n) and localization (l10n). i18n is about making
calcurse support multiple languages. It is
performed by coders, who will mark translatable texts and
provide a way to display them translated at runtime. l10n is
about making the i18n'ed
calcurse adapt to the
specific language of the user, ie translating the strings
previously marked by the developers, and setting the
environment correctly for
calcurse to use the
result of this translation.
So, translatable strings are first marked by the coders within the
C source files, then gathered in a template
file (calcurse.pot - the pot extension
meaning portable object template). The content of
this template file is then merged with the translation files
for each language (fr.po for french, for instance -
with po standing for portable object, ie
meant to be read and edited by humans). A given translation
team will take this file, translate its strings, and send it
back to the developers. At compilation time, a binary version
of this file (for efficiency reasons) will be produced
(fr.mo - mo stands for machine
object, ie meant to be read by programs), and then
calcurse will use this file at
runtime, translating the strings according to the locale
settings of the user.
Suppose someone wants to initiate the translation of a new language. Here are the steps to follow:
LC_ALLenvironment variable for software to be translated (see Environment variable for i18n).
'msginit -i calcurse.pot -o fr.po -l fr --no-translator'If you do not have
msginitinstalled on your system, simply copy the calcurse.pot file to fr.po and edit the header by hand.
The format of the po-files is quite simple. Indeed, po-files are made of four things:
A few notes:
calcursewon't use the translations of such strings until you do something about them. A string being fuzzy means either that the string has already been translated but has since been changed in the sources of the program, or that this is a new string for which
gettextmade a 'wild guess' for the translation, based on other strings in the file. It means you have to review the translation. Sometimes, the original string has changed just because a typo has been fixed. In this case, you won't have to change anything. But sometimes, the translation will no longer be accurate and needs to be changed. Once you are done and happy with the translation, just remove the
"#, fuzzy"line, and the translation will be used again in
"#, c-format". This tells that parts of the string to translate have a special meaning for the program, and that you should leave them alone. For instance, %-sequences, like
"%s". These means that
calcursewill replace them with another string. So it is important it remains. There are also \-sequences, like
\t. Leave them, too. The former represents an end of line, the latter a tabulation.
msgid "" "some very long line" "another line"
"Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8\n"You should also fill in the Last-Translator field, so that potential contributors can contact you if they want to join you in the translation team, or have remarks/typo fixes to give about the translations. You can either just give your name/nick, or add an email address, for exemple:
"Last-Translator: Frederic Culot
calcurseis a curses/console program, thus it can be heavily dependant on the terminal size (number of columns). You should think about this when translating. Often, a string must fit into a single line (standard length is 80 characters). Don't translate blindly, try to look where your string will be displayed to adapt your translation.
This section contains links and references that may be of interest to you.
calcurse homepage can be found at
If you are interested in the project and want to be warned
when a new release comes out, you can subscribe to the
calcurse announce list. In doing so, you will
receive an email as soon as a new feature appears in
To subscribe to this list, send a message to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe"
in the subject field.
Its time now to thank other people without whom this program would not exist! So here is a list of contributing persons I would like to thank :
calcursefor Mac OsX
vimfor the displacement keys
aptitudefor the text user interface
calcurseusers who sent me their feedback.