Introduction to Calendar

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Configuring events

If all you could do with Calendar was scribble down events, you’d be just as well served by a paper calendar (with real leatherette). But Calendar does far more—and it does much of that within the Event Edit window.

To expose the Event Edit window, create an event using the Create Quick Event field (or select an existing event and press Command-E). In the window you’ll find the following elements.

Event name: Found at the top of the window, the name field is highlighted, ready for you to edit. It’s prehighlighted because the text you enter in the Create Quick Event field isn’t always as descriptive as you’d like it to be. Just type in new text and press Return, and the event’s name will change.

Location: “Let’s see, was that Meeting Room 265A East or Meeting Room 265A West? Ah, that’s right, I put 265A West in the Location field.”

All-day: Enable this option, and you designate your event as taking up the entire day. You might use this for a vacation or sick day, for example.

From and To: Here is where you choose the beginning dates and times for your event. Click on a date and a small month-view calendar appears. Click on another date to quickly change the event to that day.

Anatomy of the Edit Event window

There’s a tiny convenience hidden in the time area. Click on the time in the To area, and a small menu appears that lets you add or subtract time from the currently scheduled time in half-hour increments (up to three hours). Slick.

Repeat: If you attend the same meeting (or poker game) at the same time, week after week you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Repeat field. Click the default None entry, and from the menu you can choose how often you’d like the event to repeat—every day, every week, every month, or every year. If one of these intervals doesn’t fit the situation—you want the event to repeat every two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday, for example—choose Custom and do what needs doing.

Show As: You have two options here: Busy and Free. Choose the most appropriate.

Calendar: You can choose to attach this event to any calendar that appears in the Calendars list.

Alert: Your Mac can alert you to an upcoming event in a variety of ways. From the Alert menu you can choose Message, Message With Sound, Email, and Open File. When you select one of these items, one or more options appear below. At the very least, a time entry appears—‘15 minutes before, for instance. You can choose a different interval by clicking on minutes before and choosing from the options ‘hours before’, ‘days before’, ‘minutes after’, ‘hours after’, ‘days after’, and ‘on date’. Click on the number that precedes one of these entries to change it to something more to your liking—30 minutes rather than 15, for example.

If you choose Message With Sound, you can select the sound you’d like to hear from a sound menu. Select Email and an email menu appears where you can choose the account you’d like the alert sent to, assuming you have more than one account listed on your contact card. (We’ll discuss the ins and outs of the Contacts app in a future lesson.) And when you select Open File, you can navigate to a file that you’d like to have automatically opened as an alert—a presentation you’re supposed to give in 15 minutes, say, or a rendition of “Take This Job and Shove It” as a reminder that you have an appointment with HR in half an hour.

Invitees: Countless studies show that meetings are most effective when attended by more than one person, and that’s why the Invitees item exists. To add someone in your list of contacts, just start typing their name. A list of suggestions will appear. From this list choose the person you’d like to add. If the person you want to invite isn’t in your contacts, just enter the complete email address. You can then choose to add them by clicking the small triangle at the end of the address and choosing Add to Contacts.

When you add invitees, you’ll notice that a Send button appears at the bottom of the window. This indicates that those you’ve added to the event will be notified by email. Click Send, and an invitation will wing its way to them. This invitiation includes the information you’ve added in this window, including the items I describe below. When the invitation is received, your invitees will have the option to click Accept, Decline, or Maybe buttons.

Your invitees will see something much like this when they receive your event invitation.

Attachments: If you attach documents to your event, they will also be sent to your invitees.

URL: You can attach Web links to your event. This might include a link to a Google map to show invitees where a meeting will be held; or it could be a link to the webinar you’ll be presenting.

Notes: The Notes field serves to provide additional information about the event. For instance, if the event is for your eyes only, you might add a couple of notes about a client’s personal interests—“Hey, Bob, how about them Brewers, eh?” And if you’re sending the event to a group of people, you can use this field to provide more details about what will happen at the event (which might motivate them to attend).

There’s more to be said about Calendar—subscribing to public calendars, sharing your calendars with others, and using other calendar services. We’ll get to all of these things in the next lesson.

Next week: Working with shared calendars

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