Yahoo's online calendar is free and easy to use, but lacks some of the features of Google's alternative.

If you've been on the web for a while, chances are good that you have a Yahoo account, even if you don't use the company's email service. But you may not have realised that your account gives you access to Yahoo's free online-calendaring software. All you have to do is navigate to calendar.yahoo.com to get started.

By default, Yahoo Calendar shows your events for the day; tabs at the top of the interface let you also view your calendar by week, month, and year, as well as by an agenda-style Event List. Yahoo also lets you manage your tasks, which show up in a box on the lefthand sidebar and in their own separate task view. Unfortunately, one downside to Yahoo Calendar is that it puts obtrusive ads on your calendar page, often with flashing or animated elements.

To add an event, you must click the Add Event button at the top left of the screen or enter the information in the Quick Add form below the calendar, which is less than obvious. If you're in the Month view, you can also click the Add link in the box for each day. Adding an event can be a laborious process, requiring you to tab or mouse through several fields and pull-down menus to fill in all the relevant details, such as date, time, location, description, and so on. Even the Quick Add function has several pull-down menus to navigate. In the full event entry dialog, you can also enter email addresses to invite your contacts to an event.

NEXT PAGE: sharing calendars