Need help installing Zap Calendar? Click here for a tutorial on installing Zap Calendar, or find out how to add additional functionality to your Zap Calendar site with the dozens of add-ons available for Zap Calendar.

This is the installation guide for Zap Calendar 3.  Click here to view the installation guide for Zap Calendar 4.

OK, so you now have purchased and downloaded Zap Calendar and are wondering how to get started? Well, this article is for you!

Before installing the product, we just want to briefly describe some of the terminology used in Zap Calendar, which will make it easier for you once you start using the product.  From Zap Calendar's control panel, there will be icons for managing events, categories and views. Below is a brief description on each of these concepts:

Events - Events are the bread and butter of Zap Calendar. This is ultimately what your website users are looking for.  At a minimum, events must include a title, a date and a category (described below).  All day events do not require a time.  An event can also include a location, a description and may repeat. Event specific plugins may provide additional information, such as a map from the Google Maps plugin or RSVP information from the RSVP plugin.

Categories - Every event must be in at least one category. Categories are a way to organize events.  This is somewhat similar to Joomla's article categories, where each article has a category assigned to it; however, Zap Calendar events can be assigned to more than one category.  For example, at, Theodore Roosevelt is listed under two categories, "U.S. Presidents" and "U.S. Vice Presidents" (he was vice president under William McKinley).  Category specific plugins may provide additional information, such as the iCal subscription plugin available in the Pro version.  Also, unlike categories in Joomla 1.5, Zap Calendar categories can also be defined as single or multi-level.  This allows categories to be defined below categories.  For example, a school may have a category called "Sports".  Below sports, individual sport teams, like "Varsity Basketball", "Junior Varsity Soccer" can be defined, which all relate to the parent "Sports" category.  The benefit of defining categories this way will be seen in views, described next.

Views - Views define how a calendar will be displayed. The type of calendar display (i.e. month, week, day), which categories are to be displayed and which theme to use are just some of the settings that can be defined here. Views are somewhat similar to sections in Joomla 1.5, where categories can be assigned to views.  Unlike Joomla categories, however, Zap Calendar categories can be assigned to more than one view, and views can display multi-level categories.  For example, our example above described the multi-level "Sports" category.  If a view included the category "Sports", then all categories below "Sports" will also be included in the view. If another category was added below "Sports" later, then it would be automatically included without needing to modify the category list in the view.  iCal subscriptions and RSS feeds are also defined in the view.

Upacking the Zip File, Installing the Component

The zip file you downloaded must first be "unzipped" into separate files before using. Once unzipped, you will find several zip files. These zip files include the Zap Calendar component, language files, and associated modules and plugins.

Once you have unzipped the downloaded file, you can begin installing the individual parts of Zap Calendar.  At a minimum, you must install the Zap Calendar component, which filename begins with "com_zcalendar...".  The modules and plugins can be installed as needed for your site.  All components, modules and plugins are installed from the "Extensions | Install/Uninstall" menu option.  Plugins are disabled by default after installation, so be sure to enable them from the "Extensions | Plugin Manager" menu option.  Also, many of the plugins have configurable settings that are set in this screen.

If you are using Joomla's SEO feature and have the "Add suffix to URLs" option enabled, you need to make a change to the .htaccess file. In the .htaccess file, change this line:


RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} (/|\.php|\.html|\.htm|\.feed|\.pdf|\.raw|/[^.]*)$  [NC]

to this line:


RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} (/|\.php|\.html|\.htm|\.feed|\.pdf|\.raw|\.ical|\.rss|/[^.]*)$  [NC]

Installing Sample Data

You may wish to install sample data to quickly get more familiar with Zap Calendar's features.  Installing sample data is easy and is done from the import option in the administrator panel.  From the import screen, select the following options:

Import Mode:
Select a category Doesn't matter
Enter Category Doesn't matter
Date Range Either option
Import Type URL Import
Specify iCal formatted file to import: Leave blank
Specify server file or iCal URL to import[0]=1&cat[1]=5


This sample data loads the birthdays of Presidents and First Ladies of the United States, creating a new category for each group.  Here is a list of other URL's you can use for sample data:

All birthdays from American History Calendar: .

All events from American History Calendar: .

Creating Your First Category

Since each event must be assigned to at least one category, you should first create at least one category from the category manager.  Categories can optionally be created in a tree structure.  This allows several categories to be grouped together.  For example, several categories could be categorized under a sports group.  This group could be subdivided further, say male and female teams.  This grouping is created by defining a common parent category for the group of categories.  The read only property for a category is typically enabled for parent categories. This prevents events from being added to the parent category, allowing them to be added only to the child categories.

Creating Events

There are 4 ways in the administrator interface to create an event.

Quick Add - Available from the Zap Calendar panel after your first category is created, the Quick Add feature allows you to quickly add events.  Click "Quick Add", select the category, then type the event title and date on the same line.  For example, "Independence Day 7/4" will add the event "Independence Day' on the next July 4.  Include the year if the event has already occurred or if it is going to occur more than 1 year from now.  When a time is not specified, an all day event is assumed. If a time is specified, it is assumed to be a 1 hour meeting.  For example, "Basketball Game vs. Eagles 2/3 5pm" will create a one hour event on February 3.  You can also use specify a day of the week instead of a date. "Office Party Saturday 8pm" will create an event the following Saturday at 8pm.

Import - Use this method to import events from iCal formatted files or URL's.  You can even use this method to transfer events from one Zap Calendar site to another.  From the import screen, you can specify a single category to import the events into, or, if the iCal file has categories already defined for the events, you can have the import program import the events into their own categories. The categories will be created automatically if not already defined.

Event Manager - Adding events from the event manager provides the most features when create an event. Use this method to create repeating events.  You can use the event manager to find, modify and delete existing events.

Sequential Events - This feature allows the creation of many events from a single screen. It is used for events that occur every day but with a different title. School lunch menus is an example of events that can be created using this feature.

Displaying your First Calendar

Add Zap Calendar to your front end by creating a Zap Calendar menu item. Enter the view id "1", the Zap Calendar view created at install time.  You can customize this calendar view or create additional views for use by other menu items or for use by a module. A description of the available calendar view settings is available here.

Modules and Plugins

Modules and plugins can expand the capabilities of your calendar by allowing your site visitors to use added calendar features such as weather, mapping and searching.  You only install the modules and plugins that you need.  Click here for a complete list of the currently available modules and plugins for Zap Calendar.

This tutorial will step throught the installation of the Google Maps plugin.  If you do not have any events yet in your calendar, install the example data described previously.  If you have entered events, make sure the location field has been filled in, since the Google Maps plugin uses this field for locating events on the map.  Install the Google Maps plugin from the "Extensions | Install/Uninstall" menu option in the administrator.  Once installed, go to the Plugin Manager to enable the plugin.  The Google Maps plugin requires a Google Maps API key to be entered in the plugin settings under the Plugin Manager.  Visit to receive an API key for your domain. If your domain is accessible both with and without the "www.", then you should get 2 API keys.  After you have entered your domain and appropriate API key, you can save the plugin settings.

Next, open the appropriate view from Zap Calendar's View Manager.  From here, go to the plugin tab and open the Google Maps plugin settings. Enable the plugin for this view by setting the options, "Google Maps Plugin" and "Group Map" to "On".

Now when viewing the calendar from the front end, you should see a map with your events.  More info on the Google Maps plugin can be found by clicking here.