A Fresh Look at Daylite 5

A Fresh Look at Daylite 5

Years ago I wrote an article titled Daylite – The Little CRM That Could. In the article I explained how I chose Daylite as the CRM that we use at motion.tv. Well it’s been a while since that last article (2011), so I thought I would write a bit more and talk about Marketcircle’s latest release, Daylite 5.

First off, let me say the term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is somewhat inaccurate, as Daylite does so much more than just handling interactions between customers and clients. The description on Marketcircle’s website is much more accurate:

Daylite keeps everything related to your business in one place, so you and your team can share information wherever they are by Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Your contacts, schedule, tasks, projects, sales opportunities, emails, and notes are all there, making it easy to find what you are looking for in seconds.daylite5-logo

motion.tv isn’t your typical business. Instead, it’s a mix of multiple entities including: motion – our annual conference retreat for creative professionals, motion.tv – content that feeds your creative brain, cg+news – our motion picture and broadcast industry news portal, and our newsletter – BrainFood – all of which are owned by our design firm, z o c o l o c o | s t u d i o s. Because of this, we don’t have one standard workflow that fits each entity. And, because there are just two of us who handle everything, we’ve had to come up with systems that are lean and clean.

the motion.tv toolbox

One of our challenges is that at any given time, we are working with multiple people outside of our organization simultaneously. Whether it’s speakers for motion, authors on motion.tv, publicists on cg+news, or freelancers in our ‘virtual studio’ – there are numerous daily interactions with a wide variety of people.

And, while I’d love to say there’s a single tool that does everything for us – it isn’t so. If our company didn’t have so many different facets, it would be a no-brainer to use Daylite 5 for everything. My philosophy on organization is simplicity first and foremost. But for us, I’ve narrowed it down to the following toolbox:

  • Daylite 5: our hub for all internal management and day-to-day activities 
  • DevonThink Pro Office: the key to our paperless office
  • Trello: the heart of our virtual studio – great for collaboration
  • BitTorrent Sync + AWS (Amazon Web Services): seamlessly share project files internally and with remote freelancers

The first three are pretty straight forward and easy to use. The last – BitTorrent Sync + AWS – well, now we’re getting a bit geeky. Stay tuned for future articles on creating your own virtual studio. But for most companies, Daylite is an ideal all-purpose management tool. Daylite is designed to use on every Apple device you own: from Macs and iPads, to iPhones and the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Ok, I admit…I honestly don’t know if Daylite will be part of the Apple Watch…but now I’ve put the bug in Marketcircle’s ear!

If you’re new to Daylite, please take some time to learn it. Because it is so powerful and flexible, it does have a relatively steep learning curve. Granted, you could just use it out of the box and start adding Contacts, Calendars, and the like – but what really makes Daylite so powerful, is taking a bit time in advance to plan. I would highly recommend looking at creative ways to use categories and keywords in particular…it’s a great way to organize and make Smart Lists on steroids! And there’s so much more…projects, opportunities, pipelines – Daylite provides an amazingly comprehensive toolset.

Daylite does require a ‘central’ server – and there is no charge for this license. We use a Mac Mini running Yosemite Server 4 as our Daylite server – but any Mac will work. And there’s something new in the works at Marketcircle for those who do not want to setup their own Daylite server – Daylite Cloud. Even though the full implementation of Daylite Cloud is not yet available, you can now request that Marketcircle house your data on Daylite servers in a secure environment. Contact them for details.

The cost for each Daylite user license is $299.95 per user, or $149.95 per user if you’re upgrading from Daylite 4.They also offer a 30-day trial which can be downloaded from their website

So let’s take a quick look at some of the new features in Daylite 5.

Analyzing Information

Daylite 5 has both new and improved features for the Mac and iOS that are focused on finding and analyzing your information. For Daylite on the Mac, new features include:

  • Summary View: analyze your data with interactive graphs as a means to discover trends and visually see what’s going on in your business
  • Timeline: visualize your contact history and quickly jump to view any point in time in your client history.
  • Activity Search: easily find specific emails and client activities
  • Repeating Tasks: set tasks to repeat so you don’t have to enter in new tasks multiple times

The summary view is impressive. The best way to explain it, is to see it in action. Check out this video:

Enterprise level analysis for the rest of us!

And the new timeline feature is a great way to look back at your history, and quickly jump to any point in time. Take a look:

daylite_apple_mailNow, take a good look at the image on the right. Yes! Daylite now offers the ability to edit contacts directly in Apple Mail using Daylite’s Mail Assistant. Definitely a time saver!


The new Repeating Tasks feature is something that has long been on my wish list. Create a task once, and then select to have it repeat daily, weekly, every 2 weeks, monthly or annually. Sweet!

Other new features include:

  • the ability to search for ‘blank’ fields in your database – the perfect way to find missing information
  • you can now collapse the sidebar to increase your workspace
  • the ability to add folders and subfolders to the sidebar so you can easily organize your lists and Smart Lists – another feature that’s been on my wish list!

What About The Look and Feel?

As a designer, the look and feel of an application is important to me. Daylite has come a long way since it’s earlier years in it’s GUI design. Daylite 5 has a modern, Yosemite interface. Close down the sidebar and take a look at it side-by-side with Apple’s native Calendar app, and you’ll see that it is very clean – but still maintains an elegant design. Better than Calendar in my opinion! 

Now open the sidebar. Ok, I admit – the sidebar could use some visual design improvements…Apple’s Calendar sidebar is more appealing…but Daylite isn’t too far behind. Also, one other oddity – did you notice that when you hide the sidebar from Daylite you go to the menu: View -> Hide Sidebar. Makes sense. Until you reopen the sidebar. Don’t you think the menu item should say “Show Sidebar”? Probably just a bug…

The Daylite interface is consistent throughout all of it’s components: Companies, Projects, Opportunities, Groups, Calendars, Notes and Contacts. Speaking of contacts, did I mention that Daylite is a relational database? Simplistically stated, this means that each entry can ‘relate’ to another. So unlike Apple Contacts where the entry you made for a company does not ‘relate’ or link to the entry you made for someone who works at that company – everything in Daylite can be ‘attached’ or related to one another. So if you have 5 contacts who work at a specific company, enter the company info once, and link each of the 5 contacts with their detailed information to the company. Taking it a step further, if the company has its headquarters (Company contact) and three regional offices (Company contact for each office -> each linked to parent company), and 50 employees that you work with, you can connect each employees to their specific regional office. This alone makes Daylite worth it’s weight in gold. 

And iOS?

iOS was not forgotten in this release. Completely redesigned for iOS – it looks beautiful! Remember, Daylite keeps everything related to your business in one place, so you and your team can share information wherever they are by Mac, iPhone, and iPad!


Bottom Line

At motion.tv Daylite serves as our core management app. While it doesn’t quite meet all of our needs due to the unique intricacies of our organization, Daylite is a fantastic tool – one that has no competitor in my opinion. If you’re a fan of using some of Apple’s built in apps like Contacts and Calendar, you don’t need to throw them aside. Setup your office or studio using Daylite, and then easily sync Daylite with Apple Contacts and Calendar. Bottom line? Get it.


Daylite 5
9 Total Score
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Highly customizable. Comprehensive toolset. Because it's based on a relational database, you won’t find anything more powerful.


Tips for strategic usage of categories and tags should be included in the documentation. Even though there is a bit of a learning curve, if you take the time you'll find it's well worth it!

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  1. Have used Daylite since 2002. Loved it from version 1.0, only gets better every version. Would love to see a cloud based Daylite. The mail integration is worth the price alone. Get it!

    • elainemontoya

      I agree! With each release, it get’s better an better. Use the link on this page to get an early look at the cloud based version of Daylite. I think it will be fantastic!


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