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Recurring Events/Event Series in Events Calendar PRO

While most calendar events can be easily accommodated by the creation of a single one-day or multi-day event, there may be some situations for which a series of events may be more appropriate. These might include events that repeat at a specified interval, such as weekly cooking classes, or events of the same type that don’t follow a regular pattern, such as test dates for a school calendar. To accommodate for scenarios like this, Events Calendar PRO provides powerful recurrence capabilities. This guide will demonstrate how to use this functionality in detail.

If you’re not already familiar with the process of creating events, please review our guide on creating events before reading this guide.

Getting Started with Recurring Events

Whether you’re converting an existing single event into an event series or creating a new event series from scratch, you’ll want to begin at the Time & Date settings for your event. With recurring events, the first occurrence of your event series will reflect the options chosen for Start/End under this heading, just as if you were creating a single event. You’ll want to ensure that you’ve specified the correct start date, end date, and start and end times for the first event in your series before proceeding further.

Once you’ve finished making your selections for the first event in your series, you’ll see an Event Series option located just below the Start/End options for your event.

Time & Date options with button for scheduling multiple events

Click the Schedule multiple events button to display the first set of options for your event series. You’ll see a row of buttons denoting the available recurrence types for your event series.

Options for recurrence types in Events Calendar PRO

For event series that conform to a regular pattern, select the option that applies to your event series (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly). If your event occurs on specific dates without following an established pattern, select the Once option for your event. We’ll go over the options for both pattern-based and non-pattern-based recurrences below.

Pattern-Based Event Series

Once you’ve picked the option that works best for your event, some additional fields will appear, as shown below:

Options for "daily" event recurrence type

Let’s use the Daily event recurrence options as an example. All pattern-based recurrence types will default to the most basic type of recurrence—in this case, that’s an event that recurs daily, at the same time as the original event. You can tailor this pattern even further, if needed; for example, you might wish to have an event that recurs every three days, a weekly event that recurs every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or a monthly event that always falls on the first Friday of the month. All of these patterns can be made with Events Calendar PRO’s recurring events features.

Setting the pattern to end on a given date basically lets you specify the last possible date an event from the sequence can take place on. Example:

  • You create an event starting Wednesday, October 4, 2017
  • It recurs every week ending on Wednesday, October 25, 2017
  • That final date is when the last event in the sequence will take place, not to be confused with the end date of the event itself
  • If, instead, you selected Tuesday, October 24, 2017, then the last instance of the event would take place on the preceding Wednesday (October 18) instead

By contrast, if you set the pattern to end after a certain date, the next logical date will be used as the final date. To extend our previous example, that means setting the pattern to end after October 25 would mean the last date in the pattern would indeed be October 25.

In other words, the on and after options let you distinguish between inclusive and exclusive date ranges. Selecting the never option means that events will be created indefinitely as dictated by your Recurrence Settings.

⚠️ While it is possible to create a recurring event with no end date for the event to stop recurring, please note that doing so will set the event to recur indefinitely, which will create an indefinitely growing number of events posts in the calendar. This can have a negative effect on the calendar’s performance, causing it to load or react slowly based on the number of events that are present in the calendar.

If you’re setting up a regular recurrence pattern, such as an event that occurs on a monthly pattern without exceptions, then you are all done! Simply scroll up until the Publish pane is visible on the right side of the page, then click the blue Publish or Update button to save your event. If you want a more complicated recurring event, read on! And remember, you can set as many recurrence rules as you need. Simply click the Add more events button once you’re finished with a set of recurrence rules to expand the next set of options. You can remove a set of recurrence rules at any time by clicking the trash can icon to the right of the desired row.

Never-Ending & Long-Term Recurrence Patterns

In certain cases, you may have an event that will repeat perpetually with no known end date, and you may not wish to specify one. Or you may have an event that will repeat for a long time–perhaps even a few years. Both of these are fully supported by Events Calendar PRO, but it’s important to understand how this works behind the scenes.

Since every event has a corresponding entry in the database, a never-ending event could potentially equate to an infinite number of database entries. Clearly, this isn’t feasible–the last thing we want is to blow up your database! Similarly, a long-term recurrence pattern with hundreds of instances could place a significant burden on your database, slowing your site and events down considerably.

Rather than following this approach, we create events ahead of time as needed and clean up old events within a buffer period. By default, this period extends 2 years from today in both directions, meaning that:

  • Recurring events that are more than 2 years in the past will be automatically removed
  • Each day, any additional events that need to be created to ensure there are 2 years’ worth of future events will be automatically generated

When you create an event with a long-term or never-ending recurrence pattern, you’ll see a notice that looks something like this:

Notice that is displayed when creating a long-term or never-ending recurring event

That number shows you how many instances of your event have been created (as controlled by your buffer period). As time passes, old events will be deleted and new ones will be made as defined by your recurrence pattern.

In certain cases, you may need to extend or shorten the buffer period for your long-term event series. You’ll find these settings under Events > Settings in the General tab (which is selected when you first navigate to your plugin settings).

Settings for the automatic generation and cleanup of events

Please note that changing these settings will not change event instances that have already been created. Any changes made will affect new events or event instances created from that point forward.

Non-Pattern-Based Event Series

If your event series includes one or more event instances that do not occur as part of a greater pattern, you can add these events to your series by using the Once recurrence type. Clicking this button when adding a recurrence rule to your event series will display the following options.

Options for "once" event recurrence type

Enter the date for your event into the On field by typing or by using the provided date picker. You can also specify whether this event will occur at the same time as the original event or a different time. Once you’ve finished providing the details for your first event recurrence, you may add other recurrence rules as needed by clicking the Add more events button. You can remove a set of recurrence rules at any time by clicking the trash can icon to the right of the desired row. After you’ve entered the recurrence rules for all of your event dates, you can save your changes by scrolling up until the Publish pane is visible on the right side of the page, then clicking the blue Publish or Update button.

Exclusions

With Events Calendar PRO 3.12 and beyond, you can exclude specific dates or ranges within a recurring series. An Add Exclusion button will appear as soon as you add any other recurrence rules. Clicking this will display a row of buttons matching those that appear when adding a new recurrence rule. The Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly exclusion options can be used to exclude events in a pattern-based series, while the Once exclusion option can be used to exclude a single event on a specific date.

Options for specifying a daily exclusion pattern for an event series

You can add as many exclusions as you need to fine-tune your event series. Exclusions can be deleted by clicking the trash can icon to the right of any row.

Display Settings

Let’s imagine that you have a class that takes place every weekday evening–indefinitely.

If you have many such recurring events, you will quickly end up with a very busy calendar indeed, and this could be particularly confusing to users accessing your events in list-style views. If you only want, for example, 20 events to be listed per page, you don’t want each page to be dominated by a bunch of events which are, after all, virtually identical except for the difference in start date.

To avoid this situation, we’ve provided an option that allows you to hide from list-style views all but the first upcoming event in each sequence. You’ll find this setting under Events > Settings in the General tab (which is selected when you first navigate to your plugin settings).

Recurrence in list views can be controlled

Breaking Events from Series

Thus far, we’ve covered how to create recurring event series on your site, but what if you want to go the other way and break a single instance of an event out of the series it belongs to? This is a handy feature when life introduces changes to event plans: if, for example, you want to push one instance of an event an hour back while leaving all the others in the series unaltered, this is the feature you’re looking for.

There are two methods for breaking events out of a series: breaking off a single instance of an event, or breaking off a batch of events from a given start date. Let’s cover the single instance method first.

Breaking off a Single Event

When you are viewing an instance of an event on your site, if you have the Toolbar enabled in your WordPress user settings, you should see an Edit Event link in the toolbar. Upon hovering over this link, a drop-down menu should appear with a few options, one of which is Break from Series.

Screenshot showing the "Break from Series" link when viewing a single event

Click this link and allow the page to refresh. You should be brought to the edit screen for this event in your WordPress admin. The event will no longer be a part of the recurrence series.

Breaking off a Batch of Events

The above method covers breaking off one singular event from the larger series. This second method doesn’t break off just one event—it essentially splits the main recurring series in two, leaving two separate recurrence series.

To do this, navigate to Events from your WordPress sidebar. In your listing of events, locate the event at which you want to split up the series. Hover over the title of this event and look for the Edit Upcoming link.

Screenshot of the "Edit Upcoming" link

Click this link to confirm that you’d like to split your event series at this location. You’ll be presented with a pop-up dialog box confirming the change before it is processed.

Dialog box that appears when splitting an event series in two

Click OK to confirm, and your series will be split at this event.

When might splitting your event series in this manner be useful? Let’s say you have an event that runs for a whole year. It happens every Friday at 7pm. Then, about four months into the year, things change, and the event gets shifted back to 8pm every Friday. If the change is going into effect on April 1st, for example, you could go to the April 1st event and use the Edit Upcoming feature to make this event and every event after it start at 8pm instead of 7pm.


Final Thoughts

Recurrence is as intuitive an experience as we can make it, and we hope that this article will serve as a useful reference as you’re familiarizing yourself with the options available to you! If you should get stuck or need any further help, please don’t hesitate to post on our support forums and let us know.

Good luck!