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Quick Tip: Work faster with Events in Apple’s iCal

The days of paper diaries and paper calendars are coming to an end. Tools like Apple's iCal are gradually but surely making scribbling down (and out!) appointments and meetings on paper a thing of the past. iCal has some powerful features to help you take control of your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly planning... and every new version of OS X brings with it new iCal features. On the surface some of the changes made can appear revolutionary (syncing your calendars to your iPhone), others may be evolutionary (contextual menus), and every once in a while some users find the changes are not to their liking: for example, editing iCal events in Snow Leopard can be overly click intensive! There are, however, some useful tricks that can make working with events in iCal quicker and thus make organizing your busy routine easier and more fun.

Tip 1 - Navigating Events Using Shortcuts

It's the simple tips that are often the most effective! No matter what view mode you are in (Day, Week or Month) use the Tab key to select the next event in the main Calendar view and Shift + Tab to select the previous event. This will become especially useful when combined with the following tips.

Tip 2 - Straight to Info Pane

One of the biggest complaints about editing event names in iCal is that double-clicking an event shows a pop-up dialogue box, but none of the details can be edited unless you click on the Edit button. So that's at least two steps to edit the name, location, etc! Well, here's where the Inspector comes to the rescue.

You can choose Edit > Get Info (Command + I) to go straight to the Info pane for the selected Event.

Right-clicking on the event will also give you this option from the contextual menu.

However, to edit multiple events (one at a time), once you are finished editing the info for one event, you need to close the Info Pane, select a new event, open the Info Pane, etc.

Tip 3 - Time for a Closer Inspection

The Info Inspector, like in OS X's Finder dynamically updates to show information for the selected event. Open the Info Inspector from the Edit menu or using the shortcut Option + Command + I.

You can edit an event then use the Window > Cycle through Window (Command + `) command to select the Calendar window.

Use Tab / Shift + Tab to select next / previous events respectively and again cycle through windows or use the mouse to quickly edit the info as required.

Tip 4 - Convert Event Pop-Ups to Info window

If double-clicking an event feels more intuitive to the way you work, no problem. iCal has a hidden tip just for you. It works well if an Event pop-up is blocking the view of other events and you wish to move it and works as a quick way to start editing an Event.

Double click on an event to view the pop-up window.

Now simply drag the pop-up's background where you wish it to be. It will move out of the way and transform into an Info Pane.

Tip 5 - Quick Edit an Event Title

So, you want to simply edit the name of an event... No need to open the Info pane, Inspector or perform cartwheels for this tip!

Option + double-click on Event title in the main Calendar. The Event title is highlighted blue. Start typing your preferred text and press the Return key when you're done. Make sure you option + double-click exactly in the text and not on the Event's background for this to work.

Interested to learn more about OS X? These tutorials will make you a Master of your Mac!

Rounik Sethi

Rounik Sethi | Articles by this author

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training program, facilitating workshops on using music and digital media tools in the classroom. If you're looking for Rounik, you'll most likely find him (and his articles) on Ask.Audio & macProVideo.com.


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