Using Mac OS X: Contacts and Calendars

Many Mac applications have been designed to help users keep their contacts and appointments organized. Some of these apps, such as Microsoft’s Entourage, are built into office suites. They offer a wealth of tools useful in a big office environment. For home use, however, OS X’s built-in organization programs – Calendar application (previously named iCal) and Address Book – are difficult to beat, as they combine ease of use and plenty of features with the potential for syncing with other Macs and expansion via downloadable plug-ins.

Contacts and Calendars

Calendar Application

Calendar application (previously called iCal) is essentially a computerized diary. You change the view in the main panel by clicking the Day, Week and Month buttons at the bottom (Command key + 1, Command Key + 2 and Command key + 3, respectively), and add “events” by either double-clicking anywhere in the grid or (in the Week and Day views) by dragging over a period of time.

You can also maintain a list of tasks in the To Do panel on the right. A double-click will open that list, but if you cannot see it, click the drawing-pin button, bottom right.

If you want to make changes to an event or To Do item, you just double-click it and then click the Edit button. Next, you can change the name, make events recur every day, week or year, add an attachment, assign an alarm and a calendar.

The buttons on the bottom-right and bottom-left let the user display and hide the various Calendar application panes.


Calendar application lets you organize events in separate color-coded calendars for holidays, work, school, sport or whatever you like. By default, your various calendars are all visible. Using the check boxes in the left-hand Calendars panel, you can be selective about what you see. For example, you can view just the Work calendar or Travel calendar in the office, and Family calendar or Sport calendar at home. To add a new calendar, click the “+” button at the bottom of the window, and to delete a calendar, select it and press backspace. However, if you end up with lots of calendars, use the option in the File menu to create some calendar groups (you can use Work group or Life group, etc.). Once you have dragged a few calendars into a group, you can always turn all of them on or off with one click.

The built-in Birthday Calendar automatically displays birthdays from your Address book as Calendar application events. You can turn it on or off from the General pane of Calendar application Preferences.

Hint: Have you ever noticed that while Calendar application is running, its icon in the Dock displays the correct date, but if your Mac’s date or time is wrong, you can always correct them in System Preferences under Date & Time? If you have not noticed before, now you know.


In the info panel, you can assign an alarm to any event or to a To Do item, though you will first need to pick a due date. You will have the Calendar application send you an email reminder, a flash-up message and sound, run an AppleScript or open a file. The AppleScript option if full of useful features: for example, you could have the Calendar application fade out whatever you are listening to in iTunes and speak a reminder (though for this sort of thing it is easier to use the open file alarm option and choose an application you’ve created in Automator).

Subscribing to, and Importing, Calendars

One of the most interesting features about time management is that you can import calendars of other people. Your friends or colleagues can also publish calendars online in such a way that you can subscribe to their calendars, with your Calendar application regularly checking them to make sure you have the latest version of the records.

You can find scores of freely available calendars on the Internet, covering everything. When you find a calendar you are interested in, simply click Calendar – Subscribe.

How to Share Your Own Calendar

If you would like to share you own calendar with your fellow colleagues, friends or family, simply select the calendar, click File – Export … and send it by email. When the recipient receives it, he or she will be able to import it as long as they use a calendar program that supports the Calendar format. These include Outlook, Entourage, Mozilla Calendar, Lotus Notes and other apps known.

You can also drag a calendar into the main panel of the Calendar application to combine it with the currently selected calendar or to the Calendar list if you want to be given a choice.

To publish your calendar online so that other people can subscribe to your calendar, you will need an account with either iCloud or some other service, such as BusyMac or alike, which will let you sync your calendars with Google Calendars. You can also publish calendars on your own Website, but you will need to consult first with your hoster if they support some fundamental features, otherwise, you may try setting up your Mac to function as the server.


You can invite people to take part in an event using the Calendar application. To do this, select the event, type the email addresses in the attendees field of the Edit panel, and hit the Send button at the bottom. The recipients will receive information about the event in an email and, if they use Calendar application and Apple Mail, the invitation will flash up in their the Calendar application Notifications pane.

You can also add attendees and create new meeting events by dragging names from the Calendar application Address Panel, opened from the Window menu or with the shortcut Command key + Options + A.

The Calendar application features a printing palette that lets users print nicely presented calendars in any number of ways. Just choose File – Print or click Command key + P to explore the options. In fact, exporting calendars is also useful for backing them up, but if you want to back up all the events and information at once, you should use File – Back up Calendar.

Calendar Keyboard Shortcuts

Use shortcuts to quickly accomplish many tasks in Calendar.

  • Command (⌘) – Right Arrow – Go to the next day, week, month, or year.
  • Command (⌘) – Left Arrow – Go to the previous day, week, month, or year.
  • Command (⌘) – T – Go to today’s date.
  • Shift-Command (⌘) – T – Go to a specific date.
  • Command (⌘) – Switch to Day view.
  • Command (⌘) – 2 – Switch to Week view.
  •  Command (⌘) – 3 – Switch to Month view.
  • Command (⌘) – 4 – Switch to Year view.
  • Control-Command (⌘)-F – Switch to full-screen view. To exit full-screen view, press Escape.
  • Command (⌘) – R – Refresh all calendars.
  • Space bar (with the Calendar list open) – Select or deselect the checkbox next to the selected calendar.
  • Command (⌘) – click any calendar’s checkbox – Select or deselect all the check-boxes next to calendars in the Calendar list.
  • Shift-Command (⌘) – N – Add a new calendar group.
  • Option-Command (⌘) – S – Add a new subscribed calendar.

Event shortcuts

  • Command (⌘) – N – Add a new event.
  • Command (⌘) – E – Edit the selected event.
  • Option-Command (⌘) – I – Edit the selected event in a new window.
  • Tab (while an event is open) – Go to the next field.
  • Shift-Tab (while an event is open) – Go to the previous field.
  • Escape (while an event is open) – Close the event editor.
  • Tab – Select the next event.
  • Shift – Tab – Select the previous event.
  • Arrow keys – Select the next or previous event.
  • Control – click the event, then choose a calendar from the pop-up menu – Move an event to another calendar.
  • Control – Option – Up Arrow – Move the selected event 15 minutes earlier (in Day or Week view); move the selected event one week earlier (in Month view).
  • Control – Option – Down Arrow – Move the selected event 15 minutes later (in Day or Week view); move the selected event one week later (in Month view).
  • Command (⌘) – comma – Open Calendar preferences.
  • Command (⌘) – I – Show information for a calendar or event.
  • Option-Command (⌘) – A – Show or hide the Address panel.
  • Shift-Command (⌘) – A – Show or hide the Availability panel.
  • Search for events – Go to specific dates

Extra Calendar Application Tools

There are plenty of downloadable tools to extend the Calendar application capabilities which can help you view upcoming Calendar events via the Dashboard, via the menu bar, etc.


  • If you want to sell Apple electronics online to iGotOffer, visit our Website. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with our prices, as we pay top dollar for your used electronic devices: Sell Apple products online!
  • Apple is the company most often cited in today’s marketing classes. So much so, that is not surprising that a lot of Websites talk about Macs and their applications. For example, the following Webpage has some pointers about the Calendar application:

Mac OS X Mavericks tutorial: Setting up accounts for Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. Video published by LinkedIn Learning Solutions, on January 24, 2014. Mail, Calendar, and Contacts are three of the most important applications in the Mac OS operating system. In this tutorial, learn how to connect existing email and calendaring accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo!, and more with these applications in Mavericks.


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