Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > MAC OS X/Other

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Working with Schedules in iCal

Much of our lives, like it or not, revolve around adhering to a schedule. Calendars, in whatever form we use them, keep us informed of upcoming appointments, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Your MacBook can serve as your scheduling work center. Snow Leopard’s iCal application (found in the Applications folder) is a fast and well-connected way to keep your life in order.

Unlike applications such as Microsoft Outlook, iCal is an unimposing piece of software that shows you everything you need within a single window.

iCal’s general operation is similar to other Snow Leopard applications; selecting a calendar in the calendar list displays the content of the calendar to the right. Double-clicking a calendar entry shows the details of the entry.

Despite its simple appearance, iCal works just as well for managing calendars located on your MacBook as it can interacting with Exchange, Google, and other standards-based enterprise calendaring systems.

Adding Calendars

The first step in using iCal is to establish the calendars that you use to store your events. iCal comes with two local calendars already created: Home and Work. Use these default calendars or create new calendars depending on how you want to categorize your events.

>>>step-by-step: Creating Local Calendars

Local calendars store their information directly on your MacBook. Without the use of syncing, which is available with MobileMe, local calendars cannot be viewed anywhere but on your laptop.

  1. Open the iCal application from the Applications folder.
  2. Click the + button under the calendar list. A new Untitled calendar appears with the name field selected. Type to replace Untitled with whatever name you’d like.
  3. Verify that the checkbox next to the calendar is selected so that the calendar entries are visible.

Nesting Local Calendars in Groups

To help organize calendars, you can create groups—similar to folders—that hold local calendars. Groups make it simple to turn several calendars on and off.

  1. In iCal, choose File, New Calendar Group, from the menu bar.
  2. A new Group item appears; type to replace the name with the label you’d like.
  3. Click and drag one or more existing calendars onto the group name.
  4. Use the arrow in front of the group to expand or collapse the group as needed.

Connecting to Server-based Calendars

Unlike a local calendar, server-based calendars are stored on a central network location rather than on your MacBook. Network calendars can be accessed and modified in iCal on multiple computers. Many businesses use Exchange Server, for example, to provide shared calendars and scheduling. Another option, Google Calendar, provides free server-based calendaring that you can use both in iCal and in Safari.

  1. In iCal, choose iCal, Preferences from the menu bar.
  2. Click the Accounts icon in the Preferences toolbar.
  3. Click the + icon at the bottom of the Accounts list.
  4. Use the Account type drop-down menu to choose your server calendar type (or choose automatic to let iCal try to choose for you).
  5. Enter the connection information requested, usually an email address and password.
  6. Click Create to create the account.
  7. The new calendar account appears in the Accounts list, with the details to the right.
  8. Close the Accounts window.
  9. The iCal calendar list displays a new section with any calendars that are located on the server.

Subscribing to a Public Shared Calendar

Another iCal calendar type is a shared calendar. These read-only Internet-published calendars are available for TV show schedules, holidays, sports team game dates, and other useful information. To subscribe to a shared calendar, copy the URL for the calendar and then follow these steps:

  1. Choose Calendar, Subscribe from the iCal menu bar.
  2. Enter the URL for the calendar you are subscribing to.
  3. Click Subscribe.
  4. If prompted, enter a login name and password to access the calendar and click OK.
  5. Set a name, color, and description for the calendar.
  6. To enable the calendar to automatically update, choose an auto-refresh time.
  7. Click OK.
  8. The subscribed calendar appears in a new section within the calendar list.

Viewing Calendars and Calendar Groups

After you’ve set up one or more calendars in iCal, you can view their contents. To view a calendar or calendar group in the calendar list, follow these steps.

  1. In iCal, click the checkbox in front of the calendar you wish to view.
  2. Use the Day, Week, and Month buttons to narrow or expand your calendar view.
  3. Use the arrows to move forward or backward by day, week, or month.
  4. Use the mini-calendar to quickly navigate within a traditional calendar-style view.

Working with Events

What good is a calendar if you don’t have the ability to add events? In iCal, events can be anything you’d like—birthdays, outings, reminders, anything—as long as they are associated with a date. If you’d like to include other people in the event, you can even send out invitations that are compatible with other calendaring systems, such as Exchange.

Creating a New Event

Events can hold a large number of attributes that describe what the events are, when they are, where they are located, and so on. All you need to know to create an event, though, is the date and a name for the event.

  1. In iCal, highlight the calendar you wish to add an event to.
  2. Navigate to the day on which the event takes place.
  3. Switch to day or week view.
  4. Click and drag from the start time to the end time to create the event. The default event name, New Event, is highlighted automatically.
  5. Type a name for the event, and then click off of the event to save it.

Editing Event Information

To edit the information for an event that you’ve created, first find the event on the calendar where you added it and then follow these steps.

  1. Find and double-click the event you want to edit.
  2. Unless you’ve just added the event, an event summary window appears.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. The event information window appears.
  5. Click any of the available fields to change values such as start or end times, location, alarms (notifications), and so on.
  6. Click Done when you are finished editing the event.

Sending Event Invitations

iCal can work directly with Mail to send invitations to your events. When the invitees respond, their attendance status is updated directly in iCal. Use these steps to send invitations to an event.

  1. Find and double-click the event you wish to send invitations for.
  2. Unless you’ve just added the event, an event summary window appears.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. The event information window appears.
  5. Click the Add Invitees link.
  6. Enter email addresses in the field that appears, just as you would in Mail.
  7. Click Send to send the invitations.
  8. An icon appears in the upper-right corner of the event to show that invitations have been sent. A question mark indicates that responses haven’t been received from all invitees.

Accepting Invitations

You can easily add to your calendar invitations that you receive. Even though invitations are sent through email, Snow Leopard’s Mail program works with iCal to automatically transfer the invitations to the iCal Notifications area where you can act on them.

  1. When a new invitation arrives, the iCal application icon updates to show the count of invitations in the Dock.
  2. The event is shown with a dotted outline in iCal.
  3. Click the notification button to show the notification panel in iCal.
  4. Use the Maybe, Decline, and Accept buttons to respond to the invitation.
  5. Declined invitations are removed from your calendar, accepted and tentative invitations are added.

Searching Events

If you’re a heavy scheduler, or have dozens of enterprise calendars to manage, sometimes it’s useful to be able to quickly search for events, which is a breeze in iCal.

  1. Make sure the checkboxes are selected for the calendars and calendar groups you want to search.
  2. Choose which fields to include in the search using the drop-down menu in the Search field.
  3. Enter your search terms in the Search field.
  4. The results of the search are displayed in a pane at the bottom of the iCal window. Click an entry to jump to that event.

Working With To Do Items

In addition to events, iCal offers a simple To Do list. Combined with events, to do items provide a means of managing projects and other task-oriented or time-sensitive happenings.

>>>step-by-step: Displaying the To Do List

Your default iCal view does not include To Do items. To see them, you need to click the pushpin icon to show the To Do item pane.

  1. Click the pushpin icon in the lower right of the iCal window.
  2. The To Do item list appears.

Adding a To Do Item

To Do items are added in a way that’s similar to how you add calendar events. With the To Do item list visible, complete these steps.

  1. Select a calendar that the To Do item should be associated with.
  2. Double-click the empty space inside the To Do item list.
  3. A new To Do is created and the name is highlighted. Type to enter a new name.
  4. Use the drop-down menu to the right of the To Do item to set a priority.

Editing To Do Item Details

After creating a new To Do item, you might want to fine-tune the details. Editing the To Do item’s details gives you the ability to set a due date, priority, and more.

  1. Double-click the name of the To Do item.
  2. The To Do detail window displays.
  3. Use the available fields to set alarms, associate the item with a specific calendar, or set a due date.
  4. Click the Close button.

Removing To Do Items

After you’ve completed a To Do item, chances are that you don’t want to have to think about it any more. To automatically delete or hide To Do items after they’ve been checked as complete, follow these steps.

  1. Choose iCal, Preferences from the menu bar.
  2. Click the Advanced icon in the toolbar.
  3. Check the boxes beside Hide To Do Items or Delete To Do Items and provide the number of days before these rules take effect.
  4. Close the iCal preferences.

Printing Calendars

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we can’t take our MacBooks (or even our iPhones) everywhere. When you need your calendar information in paper form, iCal does an amazing job of printing calendar and itinerary views.

  1. Choose File, Print from the iCal menu bar.
  2. Set the view you want to print.
  3. Set a time range for the calendar being printed.
  4. Click the checkboxes beside each calendar to print.
  5. Select which options should be added to the printed page.
  6. Click Continue to start the typical Snow Leopard printing process.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020