Windows Gadget: Presto's Sidebar Clock
A Vista/Windows 7 gadget to elegantly display the current date and time (with optional time zone support).
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 08 April 2007

Overview

Presto's Sidebar Clock is a gadget for the Windows 7 and Windows Vista sidebar. Windows 8 users can use 8GadgetPack to run the clock. (I do not have plans to make a native Windows 8 app; please see the reason why in the Enhancements section of this page.)

It elegantly displays the current date and time (with optional time zone). The clock is available in two sizes and can automatically change color based on the sunrise and sunset times of the selected timezone.

If you like the clock, donations are welcomed and appreciated! Please see Charityware below or send Bitcoins to the following Bitcoin address: 17aEqKmfifakcuvAAsaAj5TDJD7ETaygAv

Download and install gadget now (v1.72)!

Internet Explorer and Opera may download this as a .zip file; if this happens, please rename it to .gadget before running.

29 supported languages: Afrikaans, Basque (Euskera), Български, Català, Čeština, 简体中文, Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Esperanto, Français, Gaeilge, Italiano, 한국어, Lietuvių, Magyar, Mакедонски, मराठी, Nederlands, Norsk, Polski, Português, Română, Русский, Slovenščina, Srpski, Svenska, українська.

See pictures of how other people use Presto's Sidebar Clock on Flickr (email me with your picture if you would like to share!).

E-mail me if you are interested in providing translations for other languages! It is pretty easy; I will send you a file of words to translate.

Bug Reports

Please scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions first and check if there's already an answer to your question.

If you still need help, please fill out the bug submission form.

Charityware

Presto's Sidebar Clock is Charityware. You can use and copy it as much as you like, but you are encouraged to help the less fortunate of the world through a donation to UNICEF. After you have made your donation, please e-mail me your name so I can add your name to the donors list (and know that my gadget is appreciated!).

Thanks to the following generous individuals who have shown their appreciation for Presto's Sidebar Clock by contributing to UNICEF: Jim Baker, Dave Horne, Diane Koyich, Matt Halls, Rich Armstrong, John Sietsma, Rob Hawkes, Lo Yuk Fai, Jim Restucci, Kerry Walsh, Geoff Quinn.

Background

On WinXP, I was always very dissatisfied with the default system clock. My biggest complaint was that it didn't display the date unless you hovered the cursor over the time or made the start bar super wide. So I found a shareware program called TClockEx that installs a customizable clock in the lower right hand corner.

TClockEx was perfect for my needs, unless I traveled internationally. In this case, I wanted to display multiple time zones at once, so I ended up using a pay program called Zone Tick.

When I first installed Vista, I used the default clock and date widgets that Microsoft has provided. However, they consume too much screen real estate for my tastes. Further, while I have no problem with analog clocks in the real world, I like a digital clock for my computer desktop.

None of the digital clock gadgets available met my requirements for simplicity and elegance, and Presto's Sidebar Clock was born...

Features

In addition to offering a completely customizable date and time format (using the same format as PHP's date function) it also supports an optional time zone offset and time zone label. By simply dragging multiple copies of the clock to your sidebar, you can have two or more time zones displayed simultaneously. The clock can also automatically dim at sunset.

The following characters are supported differently than what is documented on the PHP date function web site:

e: Not supported
I: Not supported
J: Julian date (same as "z" but starting at 1 instead of 0)
o: Not supported
Q: Shows difference between local time zone and the clock's time zone
T: Not supported
u: Not supported
V: Same as "W" but adds 1 to the work week number

Any of the time and date format codes can be used in either the "Date format" or "Time format" fields.

The time and date format codes are also supported in the bottom label field but must be escaped with a "\" character. For example, "Berlin \H:\i" would result in "Berlin 14:27".

Acknowledgments

This gadget uses Svend Tofte's excellent formatDate JavaScript code to do the date and time formatting. Special thanks to Svend for releasing his useful code to the public domain.

It also uses the pytz package to compute the time zone offsets for all of the cities for both standard and daylight time. The time zone files upon which pytz is based are changing all the time, Stuart Bishop does a great job of constantly updating pytz.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the way the time or date looks?
Here is a list of the codes that control how the date and time appear. You can get this list by clicking "Format help" from the options.

None of the codes do what I want.
Check the additional codes listed above to see if what you want is already available.

How do I display the sunrise or sunset time on the clock?
Displaying the sunrise or sunset time is not currently supported. If sunrise information is available for the selected timezone, the clock can dim the color of the clock when it is night time. Support for displaying the sunrise and sunset times themselves will be coming in a future version.

What's up with the strange time zone names?
The technical reason is that I use the zoneinfo project for my time zone information. It provides information by city name.

Daylight saving time started today and my clock is 1 hour behind or ahead.
Sometimes the clock takes several hours before it adjusts to daylight saving time. Please wait 24 hours and the clock will probably correct itself.

Do you have support for Julian dates in the date format string?
Use uppercase "J" in the date format string to get Julian date. This is the same as "z" but starting at 1 instead of 0.

I just want to display the date. Is there any way to turn off the time?
If you want to suppress the time, it's possible to enter the date format codes in the time format box. For example, you could put "M j" for the date format and "D" for the time.

Can I change the background image?
Yes! Go to the settings, click on the appearance tab, and select the browse button at the bottom to load a background image from your hard disk. A kind person from Slovakia provided a nice gray background image if you need one.

Daylight saving just changed for my time zone, but the clock is still showing the old time.
Sometimes it takes up to 24 hours for the correct time to appear. Please wait a day before contacting me with a bug report (thanks!). Time zone rules do change frequently, please ensure that you are running the latest version of the clock.

How do I run multiple clocks?
Click the Windows Start menu and type "Gadget Gallery". When the gallery opens, simply drag as many clocks as you would like onto the desktop.

How do I get multiple clocks to be closer to each other on the desktop?
By default, Windows 7 snaps gadgets to a grid pattern with a wide spacing. Hold down the shift key while moving the gadget to allow the gadget to be placed anywhere.

The gadget does not start automatically when Windows starts.
This is a Windows Sidebar problem. The clock has no control over when or how it is loaded. See this thread for tips on how to repair the sidebar.

What is the time zone for India?
Please use Asia/Calcutta.

After installing the clock, I only see a blank gadget or the time is shown but does not update.
This is a Windows Sidebar problem. Please see these articles for possible solutions: WinHelpOnline, Microsoft Answers

Why is dimming not available for some time zones?
Dimming requires a latitude and longitude, which may not have been provided for all time zones. Email me with the name of the time zone and I will add it.

My city is not on the list of time zones
Email me the name of the city and I will consider adding it to a future release. Only major cities will be included, otherwise the list will grow too big!

Can you change the clock appearance to do XYZ?'
Please send me your feature suggestion, although I am pretty happy with the way the clock looks, so I may not implement it. You can always change simple things, such as line spacing, font colors, bold, etc., by editing the gadget's CSS file: (1) Open the directory %AppData%\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets (2) Go the prestosidebarclock folder (3) Edit the gadget.css, make the changes you want, and save (4) Exit any running clock gadgets (5) Re-install them from the Gadget Gallery.

I changed the font size to a value other than "Auto" and now the letters and numbers are too big or run into each other
If you change the font sizes to any value other than "Auto", then you are on your own--you will have to carefully choose font size values such that the date, time, and label don't grow outside the box, run over each other, or otherwise look bad.

When I restore previously-saved settings, the new font size is messed up on the new gadget.
If you save settings from a large-size (undocked) gadget, you have to manually undock the new gadget. (This is due to a Microsoft design limitation and there's no way for the clock to automatically do this.)

Release history

Enhancements

Microsoft has stopped development on the gadget technology and closed the online gadget store. Windows 8 and beyond do not have gadget support.

I'll continue to fix bugs and update the time zone definitions, but otherwise I will most likely not be doing any further feature enhancements to the clock.

Regarding Windows 8: At this time, I do not have plans to write a "tile" for the Windows 8 Start page, for several reasons:

If I do decide to add features, it will most likely be one of the following, which have been suggested by users:

Previous Versions

Comments

I would love for you to leave a comment telling me if you enjoy the clock! However, if you need help, please don't leave a comment but instead use the bug submission form.
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