Some events repeat regularly—an annual fair or weekly cooking class, for instance. To accommodate scenarios like this, Events Calendar PRO provides powerful recurrence capabilities. This guide will demonstrate how to use this “Recurring Events” functionality in detail.
If you’re not already familiar with the process of creating events, then before reading this guide please review our guide on creating events.
Getting Started with Recurring Events
When it comes to building a new recurring event or modifying an existing one, all you have to do to get started is scroll down to the Time & Date settings in the event’s edit screen. Once here, you’ll find a section called Event Series as shown below:
Click the “Schedule multiple events” button, which will reveal a drop-down menu selector. This selector will let you choose the type of recurrence you’d like for your event series. A single event will allow you to schedule one additional event on a specific date and time of your choosing. This is a useful option if your recurring event has an irregular schedule, or has a few random dates in addition to a broader pattern. For event series that conform to more typical patterns, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly recurrence options are also available, along with custom configuration options for each setting.
Once you’ve picked the option that works best for your event, some additional fields will appear, as shown below:
Let’s use the Daily event recurrence options as an example. All recurrence types except for A single event 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. But 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, January 7, 2015
- It recurs every week ending on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
- 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, January 27, 2015 then the last instance of the event would take place on the preceding Wednesday (January 21) 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 January 27 would mean the last date in the pattern would indeed be January 28.
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.
Important Note: 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 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 and can click Publish/Update 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.
With Events Calendar PRO 3.12 and beyond, you can now exclude specific dates or ranges within a recurring series. An Exclusion option will appear as soon as you add any other recurrence rules. You can leave the Exclusion dropdown at None to signify no exclusions in your series, or use the options to remove some events from your established series.
In the example above, the event will repeat every week, except for the date specified in the Exclusions section. You can also set daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly exclusions as needed. You can add as many exclusions as you need to fine-tune the series.
Never-ending & Longterm Recurrence
Some events repeat perpetually and you do not wish to specify an end-date. Or you have an event that will repeat for a long time- 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 would potentially mean that an infinite number of database entries would have to be generated – which is clearly unworkable: the last thing we want is to blow up your database! Similarly, a long-term recurrence patterns with hundreds of instances could slow things down.
Instead, we create events ahead-of-time as needed and also clean-up old events within a buffer period. By default this period extends 2 years from today in both directions, so:
- Recurring events that are more than 2 years in the past will automatically be removed
- Each day, any additional events that need to be created to ensure there are 2 years’ worth of events in the future will be generated automatically, too
When you create an event with a long term or never ending recurrence pattern, you’ll see a notice that looks something like this:
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 news ones will be made as needed by your recurrence pattern.
It might be you need to change the buffer period and either extend or shorten it. Thankfully, doing so is easy and all you need to do is visit the Events → Settings → General admin screen and find the following settings:
Please note that changing these settings will not change event instances that have already been created. It will effect any new events or events instances going forward.
Let’s imagine 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 in list-type views – where you might only want 20 events to be listed per page, and don’t want it 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 an option exists in the Events → Settings → General admin screen that lets you hide from list-style views all but the first upcoming event in each sequence:
Breaking Events from Series
Thus far we’ve covered how to create recurring events 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 you to want to push one instance of an event an hour back but leave all the others in the series unaltered, for example, this feature is the exact tool you’re looking for.
There are two methods for breaking events out of a series: breaking off a singular instance of an event, or breaking off a whole chunk of events from a given start date by using the “Edit Upcoming” link. Let’s cover the singular instance method first.
Breaking off a Single Event
When you are viewing an instance of an event on your site, if you have the Admin Toolbar enabled 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.” See this screenshot for reference:
Click this link, and let the page refresh; you should be brought to the edit screen for this event in the wp-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, go to the “Events” page in your site’s wp-admin and locate event at which you want to split up the series. Hover over the title of this event, and look for the “Edit Upcoming” link. Click the link, click “confirm” when prompted to, and the series will be split at this event. See this screenshot for reference:
When is this “Edit Upcoming” link useful? Well, 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 then 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.
Recurrence is as intuitive an experience as we can make it and we hope this article will serve as a useful guide–but of course it is also a quite involved and relatively complex part of the plugin. If you get stuck or need any further help, please don’t hesitate to post on our support forums and let us know.