Calendar app full view

How to configure Calendar’s Email and Open File alerts

Reader Dennis Malloy finds himself lost in Calendar. He writes:

When I used Calendar in Mountain Lion I could configure events so I was alerted via email. But now that option seems to be missing. Is there some way to bring it back?

It's still there as are all of Calendar’s other alert options. It’s just that they’re not as obvious as they once were. Let’s run through it.

Launch Calendar and create a new event. In the event window you see four areas—New Event; Add Alert, Repeat, or Travel Time; Add Invitees; and Add Notes or URL. Click on Add Alert, Repeat, or Travel Time. It expands to show you the options you’re familiar with, including the From and To entries, Repeat, Alert, and Show As (Travel Time is in there as well, but it’s new with Mavericks).

You can still create email alerts.

Click on Alert and you’ll see a series of time entries—15 minutes before and 2 days before, for instance. But the Email option you’re looking for is nowhere to be found. At the bottom of this list you see a Custom entry. Click on that and another small window appears. Click on the first pop-up menu that’s currently labeled Message and four entries appear—Message, Message With Sound, Email, and Open File. Select Email and another pop-up menu appears that contains the personal email accounts you’ve configured on your Mac. Select one, choose when you want the message to be sent from the pop-up menu below, click OK, and you’ve configured your email alert.

Although you haven’t specifically asked about Calendar’s Open File option I’d like to address that as well. This kind of alert is most often associated with an Automator Calendar Alarm. For example, you’ve created a Automator workflow to automatically clear your desktop of files once a week. This option still exists but its implementation seems to have confused more than one person.

It’s the same idea. Click the Alarm area and from an event’s Alert pop-up menu choose Custom and then Open File. The pop-up menu below contains Calendar and Other options. If you’d like to trigger a workflow, choose Other and then navigate to the workflow you’d like to use. By default you’ll find it by following this path: youruserfolder/Library/Workflows/Applications/Calendar. Select the workflow you want to use and it will be initiated at the date and time of the alert.

Of course you're not limited to launching an Automator workflow. It can be any file or application you like. For instance, if you want a picture of you beloved llama to open in Preview every Wednesday at 2:12 PM, just choose that file and set the alarm accordingly.

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