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It's easy to manage your projects with Daylite's email, calendar, and contacts integration.
We Mac users fancy ourselves style-conscious creative types, but that doesn't mean we need to play the part of the disorganized creative genius. Thanks to the Daylite 3 Productivity Suite, your Mac is just as capable at business management and organization as it is at the artsy stuff.
Daylite serves many different purposes. It's a contacts database, calendar app, and project manager, but most importantly, it tightly integrates all of these aspects together and with Apple Mail using the Daylite Mail Integration tool. Sole proprietors or those with small businesses who have been getting by with Address Book and iCal need only to import the data into Daylite and will soon find themselves in an entirely different world. Granted, that world is incredibly overwhelming at first. Though the interface is fairly intuitive and the user's manual lengthy, software with this many features and such extensive customization options takes time and determination to fully comprehend. There may be some bumps along the way, but once you've had sufficient practice and the fog begins to clear, those bright-light, this-is-cool moments will come frequently.
Daylite's interface lets you see everything in one place and quickly toggle between views: contacts, calendars, tasks, appointments, groups, organizations, projects, opportunities, or notes. Yes, that's a lot of options, and unless you have experience with business productivity apps you'll likely spend most of your time toggling between contacts and calendars at first. Even in those beginning stages, however, the integration with Mail is key. Once you've installed the software, an extra Daylite drawer becomes visible in Mail. If the contact with whom you're emailing isn't already in your database you can add him or her instantly. You can record each message in Daylite and associate it with particular contacts, organizations, projects, appointments, or tasks. From within Mail you can create an appointment with the addressee in your Daylite calendar. Not only does Daylite streamline appointment and task creation in this fashion, but it also lets you create a central, easily searchable database of all of this info, including email correspondence. And you can take an offline version of that database with you on your laptop when you travel.
To that extent, Daylite is a high-octane version of Mail, Address Book, and iCal - but that's just the beginning. Daylite also provides the opportunity to track projects using Pipelines (essentially a timeline of tasks or stages) and potentially increase business by tracking so-called Opportunities, or leads. It includes templates for letters, forms, and reports, and it integrates with another Marketcircle app, Billings 2 (reviewed in March), to produce estimates and invoices.
Incredibly key: Daylite supports multiple users over a network. Coworkers can share calendars, propose and schedule meetings, share a central database, and (our favorite) delegate tasks to others.
The bottom line. For the small-business owner or contractor who wants to get serious about productivity and organization, Daylite is a slightly daunting, but powerful, complex, and ultimately worthwhile, solution.
PRICE: $189 (one user), $829 (five users), $1,649 (10 users)
REQUIREMENTS: 1GHz G4 or later, Mac OS 10.47 or later, 768MB RAM, 150MB disk space
Powerful database. Loaded with features. Highly customizable. Integrates seamlessly with Mail. Universal binary.
Such complexity requires patience and a not-insignificant learning curve. Manual can be confusing.