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Here is a list of some of the best tips for using Calendar on your Mac.

  • Workflow. Put the name, phone number, and email address of the person you’ve been in contact with in the Notes section of the event in case you need to contact the person because you need to contact them before the event. Prevents you from having to look up their contact info if there are errors with your event.
  • Calendar colors. Keep the number of colored calendars to a maximum of 4-6 and add metadata (tags or special characters) in your ToDos and Events to further “drill down” what you are doing. This can be great for searching content or calendar items
  • “Pencil-in” things with special characters. Digitally “pencil in” your appointment with special characters (such as ¿, -, , ???, or the simple # character) at the beginning of the event name. Seeing the special character means you can quickly identify those items that are not “in stone” just yet. This also helps when searching for lists of items.
  • Numbers (minutes or list). Adding a number and a dash (1-Event) can show you how much time you expect your efforts to take in a ToDo list or can be a numbered list.
  • Hidden event popup. Just drag and drop the event window to a new location.
  • Add additional lines of event text. One of the hidden features of iCal is using the OPT + Return key to add another line of text in the event title. You can sort of add “tags” to you title.
  • Google Maps direction and mileage. I cut and paste certain directions AND the total mileage (for IRS tax purposes) into the notes section for documentation and when I sync the info with my iPhone.
  • Travel time alarm. If I have to travel to an event and it’s local I add time in before the event of when I need to leave for the event. Such as a 45 minute alarm and needing only to travel 35 minutes giving me 10 minutes of “grip and grin” time with others. If you have a flight to catch, use a separate event with an alarm so you can catch your flight.
  • Presentation File Opened on alarm. If you are giving a presentation have iCal set an alarm to open up the presentation that you are giving. Just make sure you don’t move the file.
  • Repeatable events. You can repeat the events. Changing the event repeat rate, daily, weekly, or more brings up further options to choose from.
  • Invite others to an event. By inviting others using Mail program you can get multiple people
  • Notes. In the Notes section of an event enter in both the address of the event and the location phone number, each will become links that will allow access by either the phone or Google Maps when you click on one or the other.

Here are some tips for ToDo lists in iCal

  • Printing a ToDo list in iCal. Do a Command – P to print out iCal and then select “List” from the drop down menu. Under the Options pane you’ll then have a check box for the ToDo listing.

Apple Mail program data detectors. Using Mail’s data detectors you can

  • Mail’s data detectors. Using Mail’s data detectors can help preload iCal events into iCal. Mouse over a date and a drop down arrow will give you a choice of “Create an iCal event” or “Show this date in iCal.” I prefer the “Create” menu as I can make changes to the event right in Mail.

Mail detectors. Set up correctly (you can keep the field names such as data and address, but it is not necessary). Data detectors REQUIRE almost the exact field names as Address Book has it:

  • Date: October 25, 2010 – 6:30PM-9:30PM, or Oct 25, 2010 at 5:30 AM
  • Address: MacGetit.com, 123 Main Street Unit B, Anywhere, CO 80000 (if you place your name first, it will show up as a contact, if you place your company name it shows up as a company, i.e. it connects with the address one line above the street, whatever you have there it will take that).
  • Fax: 303-555-1234
  • Phone: 303-555-2345
  • Cell: 303-555-4567

Terminal tips for iCal. iCal defaults events to 30 minutes of duration. Using Terminal, you can change the default to 15 minutes.The defaults command below sets it to 15 minutes. You should quit iCal before running this to see the result. Open Terminal, enter the following and press return:

defaults write com.apple.iCal 'Default duration in minutes for new event' 15

Then open iCal. New events entered by double clicking or pressing Command-N will have the default time of 15 minutes. Obviously, you can set different values. To remove this setting altogether, enter the following in the Terminal and re-start iCal:

defaults delete com.apple.iCal 'Default duration in minutes for new event'
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