iCal and Address Book: Under Appreciated (?)


iCal graphic I have a haunting feeling that I’m not the only one who has neglected the power and ease-of-use that Apple offers in their OS X based iCal and Address Book. I use them very simply (at best) and every time I open one to do some occasional task I think to myself, “I gotta start using this program more!”

So I’m on a mission to make them a regular part of my day while using my Powerbook. I know they’ve got so much under the hood and I could benefit from these offerings greatly. My [analog] sticky-note organization (of both scheduling and contacts) is highly effective…But I’m sure I could do better.

address book As I begin my quest to get more intimate with iCal and Address Book, I’ll be reporting back in segments. I’m eager to discover the killer features – the things you didn’t know they (or you) could do – and ways to integrate them seemlessly into daily work.

If you’ve got life-hacks, plugins, or personal experiences that you’d like to share, please do. I’m always interested in how other people user their systems, and I gain a great deal by learning from them – as I’m sure all of you will as well.



I am having issues printing out my tasks in “list” view. For some reason the “show URL” menu when i get info suddednly has mail info which shows up in the list view and adds to my tasks below eacj task? I had re-entered all tasks to clear them, but mailto code popped back in? I did not have auto email retrieval checked in iCal prefs. Any help??


I figured out a simple low tech solution for the company name AND person’s name problem.
Simply duplicate the person’s name as the first line
in the address field you will use to print envelopes and labels and let AddressBook print using the company name. Voila, you get both. Stupid work around, but it works, and you only have to set it up once per contact.
I hope that Apple adds increased functionality to the AddressBook and iCal in Leopard. They are great resources, just a bit underpowered.


I have many birthdays entered in Address Book but most of them do not show up in iCal despite enabling. There must be some bug. I just upgraded to a MacBook Pro with the latest OS.


iCal and Address Book are awsome! I don’t know how I could live without them. I look foward to the additional intergration with mail in leopard.


I have been adding birthdays to Address Book so it will add to iCal. It has worked fairly well with two exceptions. Both are September birthdays and I either entered them as August or the computer entered them as August. But, aside from that, I have tried several times to correct the error, but it REFUSES. I have tried the edit button, the minus sign next to the birthday field and even deleted the whole card. But when I typed in the info for the new card with the September birthday, the Address book CHANGED it to AUGUST again. ???????


Allen I tried your solution to add files to Address Book using the URL slots, but it didn’t work – I created a .rtf text document, placed it in user/documents, copied the file path with FilePathToClip CM (the one you mentioned wasn’t to be found), then pasted the file path into a URL in Address Book. Instead of booting TextEdit, it booted Safari, which said: “Safari couldn’t open the document …/user/abc.rtf because it couldn’t connect to the server “localhost” Can you give me some more advice, as I really want to lick the problem of attaching files to Address Book – I miss that from when I used to use Entourage, and I think it is a really great thing that Apple should add to Address Book. Thanks :)


I looked further into the company label issue and found some hints on the Apple Support site, in the discussion forums.
It seems this feature does NOT exist in Address Book and there is no script/hack etc that can turn this on within Address Book.

The only proposed solution are additional tools such as “Address Book Reports” (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/18672) or SnailMail (http://nixanz.com/products/snailmail/README.html). I’m about to try those two and when I know more I’ll post another short report.

However, this really seems to be a missing feature in Address Book and lot of people complained on the Apple Discussion site about it. Hopefully Apple will fix this soon.


Yes, listen to Klaus!
There must be someone with a hack that will allow us to turn on the name & business when printing a label! Still no answer from the void. . .


Did some answer the question from Lewis (October 15th 2005) about the address book lable printing and the missing company name? I have the same problem and this is a real setback with Address Book. Great tool otherwise but this is a true problem. If someone knows anything, please post anything on this topics.


Ok, I just confirmed the earlier note… yes, using say “snag path” CM, you can snag file:// paths, then paste those into address book, and ical… if you leave a file off ( just use a folder), you could keep a contact related folder say in ~/documents/contactfolders/Steve/ as an example… a file://machd/../documents/contactfolders/Steve/ type url will open the folder for you in the finder… alternatively, you can use any file whose extension the system understands already (knows which helper apps to use).

Another tip: I place my mission statement into the info section of the iCal calendar. I have each calendar separated by my “roles” vis-a-vis Stephen Covey… and each role has a mission statement that helps me to stay on task while working on my scheduling etc. Quick way to review the statement before the day begins as well…

To get more space, use option-enters to get line breaks, which will help separate out items in the calendar info section…


t- I believe the key to your thought is the URL fields in Addressbook (and ical as well).

For starters, try dropping an .rtf file there and see what happens… (for me the file://…. shows up.) If you can get that type of format for any file on your computer (there are CM plugins that do that etc.), then you can paste directly into those panes and then just click on the file and it will open with its corresponding program. I’m working on just that right now… haven’t fully implemented that in my work yet, but working on it.

Try it out, see if that solves the problem. :)


I use Address book at work most of the day and need help. I would like to attach files to contacts in address book. For example if I have a PDF calalog from a company I want to look up the company name in address book then see the PDF attachment. I also need to do this with word files, pictures, and really anytype of file. Any suggestions?


In regard to the Address Book, has anyone been able to make the address labels work? Apple does not know how after countless hours spent talking to AppleCare. Here is the problem. Let’s say you have “Bob Smith” who works at “ABC, Inc.,”. If you set the labels to print the work address, it will say the name “Bob Smith” but will not list his company, but will list his work address. There seems no way to turn on name and company at the same time. It has rendered this useless for small business owners to make mailing lists! However, here is the rub, if you go into the address book proper and click on the work address and “copy mailing label,” it will paste name, company and address properly! Help!


Goods news is that Tiger (X.4) will automatically sync birthdays between iCal and Address Book. About time!

nick santilli

Pale –
that sounds really cool! I’m focusing more on iCal at the moment, and plan to update (heavily) my address book shortly. when I do that I’ll definitely check out the iCal Birthday Shifter.

Thanks for the tip!

nick santilli

Aaron – thx, yeah, i’ve actually used that a few times.

only reason I’ve already got contacts in my Address Book is that I’ve Sync’d it with my T610 cell phone…


QuickSilver for Mac has an Address Book plugin that allows you to look up address book entries on the fly. Click Open Apple-Space Bar and then start typing a name in your book, hit return and the card comes up.


A suggested plug-in is MenuCalendarClock (mouthful, huh?!). Simply put, it replaces your menu bar clock and adds the functionality of a drop-down calendar and to-do list, illustrating your iCal events. It’s pretty customizable, even to the icon you place in the bar.

It’s nice to have the convenience of seeing your schedule quickly via the menu bar.


I have no need for a propietary calendar, however if iCal works as well on the PC as it does on the Mac, there is vast uses.

Mozilla Calendar works with the iCal standard, this is great for PC users’ ablilty to synch to .mac calendars or individual personal calendars.

Why is this nice? I frequently search for ways that my Mac at home can do what my PC at work can do. I strive to find ways my Mac is more efficient than my PC. Unfortunately MS Outlook is a primary condender in the PC busniess world keeping many Enterprises away from the Mac. Just no good enterprise solution for email and scheduling.

Well, I think that Apple has done a fine job in iCal’s implementation and feature set in comparison to the Outlook Beast.

I am able to share calendars with all my relatives whether they are on a Mac or PC. You can’t do this in Outlook – every one must be on the Outlook server.

The key is using http://icalX.com to exchange calendars. Mozilla and Apple iCal both can utilize this service and the results are compelling.

Almost realtime updates to any calendar you subscribe to. If someone doesnt’ have iCal or Mozilla Calendar there is an HTML version of the Calendar hosted there also.

So, now i can see my wife’s calendar and she can see mine. Helps us keep track of what’s going on much easier.

My Calendars include; Family Vacation Calendar, Work, Home, Birtday’s, Anniversaries and one for my small group.

Dave Hanks

iCal: Set up my wife’s professional business with a series of calendars. They now mange event calendars for selected clients too. Also Call schedule and vacation calendars etc. We personally use personal calendar for each of us and one for each kid. Also one for each kid’s school… and so we break it out in great detail… then I can pull together the data very easity to get the big picture. The wife can get the business picture just as easily. I hear good rumors about many GREAT improvements comming with Tiger… so I will only get BETTER. But for now, the printing options (font size etc.) are extremely limited.

Address Book: Best feature is auto lookup for email addresses. Nicely customizable, but could use a few more features. I wish it was more integrated by Group Organizer and PhoneValet and other third party products. I think more will integrate it better as it gets better with new features that I expect in Tiger.

Tim Matheny

I’ve also come late to the iCal party because my company uses Meeting Maker (a great product, btw) for group scheduling and I thought “why would I need two calendars?” Well, here’s why – shared iCal calendars. Seems like there are a zillion calendars chronicled out there at iCalShare and Dotmac.info, and a bunch of them are about events I’m interested in. Besides that, Apple has a number of web pages that generate iCal files on the fly according to your preferences. So I have incentive to use iCal.
But two things really have pushed me this direction now – first, someone pointed me to a little program called iMeetiCal that converts Meeting Maker text exports to iCal calendars. Then I got to wondering about a Filemaker Pro database I was using that generated date-and-time events: could I look at those in iCal as well? Turns out there’s a company called Cleveland Consulting that has a free FMPro db called iCalFilter that will translate any fields in a FMPro database into an iCal file. Cool stuff about that – I can save the resulting file to my iDisk and subscribe to it with any Mac OS X machine anywhere…

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