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

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 links for managing events, categories, locations and calendars. Below is a brief description on each of these items:

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.

Locations - An event can be assigned a location, either by using a text description or by selecting from a list of pre-defined locations.  The location manager manages a list of pre-defined locations.  The advantage to creating these locations is that you can group events by this location and provide additional information about the location (type of location, description, etc.).  The Google Maps plugin (provided in the standard and pro versions) supports both type of locations.

Calendars - A calendar defines how events will be displayed (calendars were called "views" in Zap Calendar 3). 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. Similar to Joomla categories, Zap Calendar categories can be assigned to calendars.  Unlike Joomla categories, however, Zap Calendar categories can be assigned to more than one calendar, and calendars can display multi-level categories.  For example, our example above described the multi-level "Sports" category.  If a calendar 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 calendar.  iCal subscriptions and RSS feeds are also defined in the calendar settings.

Installing the Component

After you download the Zap Calendar file, you can install it directly from the "Joomla Extensions | Extensions Manager" page. No unzipping is necessary, since all add-ons plus the component will be installed in one step.  After the installation, you will be prompted to click the link to complete the installation.  This step is needed to activate the just installed plugins.  Some plugins will need to be manually enabled, such as choosing the social plugin your site will use.  Go to the "Extensions | Plugin Manager" page, select the zapcalendar folder, and select the plugins you wish to enable.  For plugins supporting third party applications, you must have that application installed in order to use the plugin.

Installing Sample Event Data

You may wish to install sample event 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 tools page.  From the import screen, select the following options:

Import Mode: Import Events Into Separate Categories
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 a 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.  The read only property is also used for categories that receive events from iCalendar syncs using the icalsync plugin.  This prevents inadvertantly adding events to a category that will get removed when the next icalendar sync occurs.

Creating Events

In addition to creating events from the front end, there are several methods in the administrator interface to create an event.

Quick Event - Available from the Zap Calendar tools page after your first category is created, the Quick Event feature allows you to quickly add events.  From the Quick Event module, select the category and time zone, 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 to 10pm" will create a 2 hour event for the following Saturday at 8pm.

Import - Use this method to import events from iCalendar or CSV formatted files or URL's.  You can even use this method to transfer events from one Zap Calendar site to another using an iCalendar export and import.  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.  If you have created locations in Zap Calendar's location manager using the exact description defined in the iCalendar or CSV feed, those events will be linked to that location item. More information about this can be found here.

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

Displaying your First Calendar

Create at least one calendar in the Calendar manager.  You can then add Zap Calendar to your front end by creating a Zap Calendar menu item.  You will need to choose a menu title and select a calendar.  You can customize this calendar or create additional calendars for use by other menu items or modules. A description of the available calendar settings is available here.


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.  Click here for a list of the dozens of available add-ons for Zap Calendar.  More detail on configuring the add-ons are available in the Zap Calendar support section.  For example, more info on the Google Maps plugin, one of our most popular plugins, can be  found here.