An electronic diary is a software program specifically designed for users to input their daily work schedules, make lists of tasks to be done, arrange appointments, and share this information with colleagues over a computer network. This type of digital journal is often considered better than paper calendars or daily planner books in terms of flexibility and convenience. Electronic diary users can view their calendars in various time formats as their needs dictate, and they also do not need to keep replacing paper calendar pages each year. A variety of businesses use these electronic tools to facilitate day-to-day operations and to keep track of plans for meetings or projects.
The standard electronic diary is often a stand-alone desktop computer application that can be either proprietary or open source software. Many professionals and companies have a preferred brand for their electronic journals. Since mobile computing is also commonplace, several types of electronic diaries are available for use on laptop computers, cellular phones, and other portable devices.
Some types of journals are web-based rather than installed applications, and these options are popular among busy professionals who need to update their colleagues on work-related matters as they travel between meetings in different locations. Networked journals usually allow groups of employees to view one another's schedules through account access with a password. Most of these digital diaries are also equipped with email connections as another means of sharing calendars, lists, and schedules.
Calendars in an electronic diary can be in hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly formats. Users can frequently switch between these views with the simple click of a mouse or push of a button. Some diary calendars are specialized for use in certain fields, such as medical offices, law offices, or other types of businesses that regularly schedule client appointments. Administrative assistants often make daily entries into these electronic diaries concerning details about these appointments. A medical assistant may enter assigned patient dates and times in a physician's electronic diary, and a law office assistant often does the same for an attorney's clients.
Digital journal software is frequently used to arrange business meetings that involve several people. An employee responsible for scheduling is usually able to look up each participant's daily agenda in the diary and arrange the meeting at a time that is convenient for everyone. The list-making feature in the electronic diary is then often used to outline the topics to be covered in the meeting, and the list can be sent to the rest of the participants with the same software program.