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All about calendar sharing

Christopher Breen | April 26, 2013
Last week we took a very long look at the workings of Mountain Lion's Calendar application. This week, we'll delve into some of the details. Specifically, getting calendars in and out of the application and how to use Calendar with services such as Google and Yahoo.

Subscribing to calendars

As promised, we'll now discuss subscribing to calendars. As you now know, you can subscribe to a calendar via an emailed invitation. You click on the subscription link in the email message, Calendar launches, you then click the Subscribe button, and a sheet appears. Within this sheet you can configure the calendar's options. You can change its color, choose a location for it (in iCloud or on your Mac, for example), choose to remove any embedded alerts and attachments, and select the auto-refresh interval (every minute, every 5 minutes, every 15 minutes, every hour, every day, or every week). Click OK and the calendar is added to the Calendars pane.

If you aren't provided with a direct link to a calendar--which automatically starts this process--you can manually add calendar links that you've copied from your Web browser or some other source. Choose File > New Calendar Subscription, and, in the sheet that appears, paste the link. Click the Subscribe button and off you go.

As I pointed out in a recent Mac 911 entry, the advantage of adding such a calendar to iCloud is that it will be synced with all devices (iOS devices as well as other computers) that use your Apple ID. You can't add subscribed calendars to a Google or Yahoo account within Calendar.

Calendars you subscribe to are read-only, meaning that others can't add or remove events. And that makes sense, given that a lot of these calendars are used for publishing holidays, sports team schedules, concert dates, and release dates for upcoming movies. The San Francisco Giants organization would not look kindly on you were you to turn May 7th's Phillies matchup into a night game.

Where do you find such calendars? At one time, sites that held calendar repositories for a wide variety of events--holidays from around the world, team schedules, media release dates, and band concert schedules--were all the rage. They no longer are. Most of these sites still exist but their calendars are wildly out of date. Instead you should determine what you'd like a schedule of and then use your Web browser to search for it. Find a link to an "iCal" calendar or a .ics file, and you should be able to easily subscribe to the calendar.

About account delegates

Google and Yahoo allow others to share their calendars with you. Let's say, for example, your company uses Gmail's calendars. Within your company Gmail account, you can create your own calendars--a project schedule, a days-off calendar for tracking your time off, and a calendar for keeping track of work-based events that will require you file an expense report for travel and entertainment. When you add that account to Calendars, these calendars will automatically appear under the Google heading in the Calendars pane.


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