Pro tip: Customize the Mavericks' Calendar for specific preferences

Mavericks' Calendar is among the applications business users leverage most often. Follow these tips to customize your Calendar settings to your specific preferences.

Mavericks' Calendar

Chances are that many users open Calendar more often than any other Apple program, with the possible exception of Mail. Daily business operations are governed by the need to be in certain places at certain times for certain meetings. Keeping appointments, reminders, meeting locations, corresponding information, and other data handy would be difficult without a strong calendar application.

Fortunately, Mavericks' Calendar is up to the challenge. In addition to providing the commonly understood meeting, event, and reminder features, the program includes several optional customizations that can change the way you manage your schedule.

Organize events using multiple calendars

Most modern business professionals use their work calendars to also track personal tasks, volunteer-related activities, and other obligations. Calendar simplifies the strategy with its ability to sort events into, you guessed it, multiple calendars.

To create a new Calendar, click File, select New Calendar, and indicate the calendar source, such as iCloud or your corporate email server. The new Calendar is created within the corresponding source and remains highlighted to simplify renaming the calendar (the default title is Untitled).

When multiple calendars exist, you can sort events by calendar by opening the event and clicking the corresponding colored box that appears at the top right of the calendar item. Clicking the drop-down arrow, located next to the colored box that indicates the current calendar to which the event belongs, opens the pop-up menu from which an alternative Calendar can be selected. You can also change an event's Calendar association by right-clicking the event directly within a Calendar, selecting Calendar from the pop-up menu, and changing the event's Calendar association accordingly.

Use Travel Time

New in Mavericks is Calendar's Travel Time feature. This tool seeks to assist users in calculating the time required to reach a meeting or event destination.

Here's how it works. First, Location Services must be enabled on the Mac's Privacy tab (within the Security & Privacy System Preference), and Calendar must be selected as an app possessing permission to determine your location. Second, when creating an event, you must select the address from the options Apple provides when you enter the event's address. Entering an event destination within your Contacts is a good method of ensuring these locations appear within an event's location choices. Third, you must specify a travel time using the drop-down box provided within the time entry section of the event from within Calendar.

Here's where the application feature really shines. Although you can choose to specify a custom setting or pick from the typical 5-minute, 15-minute, etc. intervals, the Maverick's Calendar looks at the preceding appointment and will try calculating the travel time needed to reach the new event's destination from the previous destination's location. Give it a try and kick the tires; it's worth the effort.

Leverage specific preferences

As is typical with a calendaring application, you can adjust numerous settings within the program. Clicking Preferences from the Calendar menu opens the Calendar's General preferences windows. From the General tab, you can specify the number of days per week the application should display, on which day the week should start, how weeks should scroll, when days should begin and end, and which Calendar should serve as the default.

The Accounts tab lists the different Calendar accounts. Business users possessing an Apple account and who use an Exchange server will likely find at least two accounts present: one for iCloud and another for the corporate email server.

Options set from the Advanced tab include enabling time zone support, displaying events within the year view, and even showing week numbers within the Calendar. You can also specify that events be automatically opened within separate windows and whether Calendar ask before it sends event changes to others.

Even Calendar Alerts are customizable. The Alerts tab lets you determine alerts individually by accounts. The account, such as iCloud, is selected from the top drop-down box -- and then you can tweak events, all-day events, and birthday display options from their respective drop-down boxes. The Alerts tab also allows you to specify whether shared calendar messages and invitation messages should be enabled (or disabled) within the Notification Center.

How do you customize your Calendar settings? Share your Calendar preferences in the discussion thread below.

By Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...