7 useful Calendar tips for Mac users

Apply these tips to get the most out of using the Calendar application on your Mac.

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Integration is the big advantage of Apple’s Calendar in macOS. It’s a little basic, but it does the job. And while better choices exist, it seems worth checking to ensure you’re getting the best you can from the application.

How Siri can help

One useful Siri feature on both Macs and iOS devices is that you can ask your assistant to tell you what appointments you have today, tomorrow, next week and so on. Just invoke Siri to ask the question, and you’ll be shown a list of them — you don’t even need to open Calendar. You can also ask questions like, “Do I have anything planned for September 2?” or “When is my meeting with Robert?”

How to use Multitouch

If you’re using an Apple notebook or trackpad, then you have some handy finger swipes to help you get around Calendar:

  • Swipe up or down with two fingers to fly between different months in month view
  • Swipe left or right with two fingers to slide between different weeks in weeks view
  • With your fingers in the left hand side of the window, swipe left or right with two fingers to slide between different days in days view (though I find this gesture is a little hit or miss).

How to automate Calendar reminders

Have you grown frustrated with needing to tweak the default alert settings when creating a new entry using Calendar on your Mac? You don’t need to be, as I explained here; you can change the default alerts created with an event very easily:

  • Open Calendar Preferences.
  • Tap the Alerts tab.
  • You’ll see three different kinds of default alerts: Events, All-day Events and Birthdays.
  • You can set a default mechanism for each one — you may want to be alerted to birthdays a week before they occur, so you can buy gifts, for example.
  • You can choose to define these for iCloud (so the settings become default across all your devices) or only on your Mac.

In the future, you should need to spend less time adjusting these settings.

How to display events in one page

One limitation in Calendar on macOS is the application’s inability to show your upcoming events in list view. Fortunately, OSXDaily has a hint for that: Just click the search box and tap a period/full stop or double parenthesis (“”) and hit Return. You should now see a list of all your upcoming events. Be warned: This isn’t perfect, but it seems to work most of the time and is an excellent tip.

How to get told when it is time to leave

Calendar will tell you when it is time to leave to go to an event. When creating the alert, be sure to enter a location, create a new Alert by clicking the plus button beside the existing alert for this item, and then choose Time to Leave. Now select the mode of travel in the Travel Time section that appears in the edit area. Calendar will try to tell you when it’s time to set off to the meeting

How to keep all your stuff together

I’m not convinced Mac users make enough use of Calendar’s ability to open documents and other files when they are required for a certain date. What this means is that all the documents you might need for that meeting will be opened and made available to you on your Mac, all thanks to a little-used Calendar alert setting.

  • Create a new Calendar event, select it and tap Command-E to access the Edit menu for the item.
  • Click in the Alerts region and tap the Plus sign that appears beside one of the existing alerts you may have set up for this calendar item.
  • A new Alert item will appear. Click the time item to access a drop-down menu that provides other time options. At the bottom of the list, choose Custom...
  • In the Custom item, you’ll find four options: Message, Message with sound, Email, and open File.
  • Now you can choose the file you want to open. You can set Calendar up to open multiple files; you just need to create an alert for each one.

How to use a different calendar application

Calendar on the Mac has a little-used Preference that lets you change the Default Calendar App used on your Mac. Select it, then choose the application you want to use (such as Fantastical or Things). In the future when you create events from within an email (etc.), you should find them stashed inside of your chosen app.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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