The Day View Window
When you first open PreMinder you will see two main windows. The large 'Calendar' window lets you see information in different views such as 'monthly' or 'weekly'. To read about this window and its toolbar please click here. Below this window is the 'Day View' window, which provides a view of information for a single day, and which allows you to edit the information for that day.
In the main field you can add freeform notes for the day, while in the events panel on the right you can view and edit events, and control repeats and alarms. (There is a third tall 'Edit Events' window, which also has controls for repeating events and alarms. This is a legacy design, but is included if you prefer to use this instead of the 'Day View' window.)
As you read this article, click on the purple text links to pop up a screenshot of the part of the software the text relates to.
In many calendar programs, when you want to add some information you are presented with a lot of complex options that you need to set straight away before you can write your reminder. With PreMinder, the idea is that you can just click once on the day you want to note something for, and start typing. Any more complex options for an event can be added later if they are required.
Let's try adding some text for a day. Choose a day in the Calendar window above the Day View window and click on it. In the Day View window below, that day's date appears in the date display in the top left and the insertion point starts flashing in the main field in the middle. You can now start typing anything you want. In the main field you can have different fonts, colours and styles in your Reminder messages. Let's look at how to set these now.
In the top-right of the window you will see three pop-up menu buttons. Select some text in the main field by dragging over it with the mouse cursor. If you click on the leftmost grey button a colour palette appears. When you click on one of the colours, the selected text in the field changes to that colour. The second menu is a text menu, which lets you choose a new font for the selected text, or a style such as bold, italic or underline, or a new font size. The rightmost button can perform various actions on pieces of selected text. If you choose the 'Type Bar' option at the top of the text menu (middle button), an editing bar appears at the top of the window.
The Type Bar also lets you change selected text in the Day View window. You can set the style of text to be plain, bold, italic or underline, and you can set the alignment of text to be left, centre, right or full. You can alter the font and font size using the respective popup menus. To the left of the editing bar is a spell checking panel. Click on the right arrow to find the next spelling mistake in your text or the left arrow to go back to the previous spelling mistake in your text. Click on the ABC button in the middle to pop up a menu of suggestions; choose one to replace the highlighted text. You can also set the language you want to spell check in from this menu, including a multilingual option.
Moving Between Days
At the bottom-right of the Day View window are two metal arrow buttons. Click on the right arrow to go to the next day after the currently displayed day. Click on the left arrow to go to the previous day before the currently displayed day.
You can also scrub through days using the slider. To show it, click on the slider button in the bottom-left hand corner of the Day View window. The slider is divided into twelve sections, one for each month of the current year. As you drag it, it will scrub through each day of the currently displayed year. When you reach the end of the slider, use the right arrow button to jump to the first day of the next year.
Automatic Time Recognition
The Day View window lets you enter information for the day in a freeform manner. Want to schedule an event? Just start typing a time in the main field in the middle. If you type:
9am-11am meeting with Brad.
You will notice that PreMinder automatically recognises you have typed a start and end time for a meeting and it adds the information to the schedule on the left hand side of the window. Try changing the times to see the different ways you can write event times that PreMinder will still recognise. Here are some examples:
PreMinder automatically adds text for the auto-event up to the first full stop or return character it finds. If we want to to make this event more formal, for instance add some options to it like an alarm or maybe have it repeat on different days, then we need to extract it from the general text for this day and make it a standalone event. It's easy to do this. Select the text '9am-11am meeting with Brad.'
- 1800 hrs
In the Events field on the right-hand side of the window you will see a small plus button on the right hand side. Click this to remove the selected text from the main field in the middle and add it as an event in the Events field on the right hand side of the window. PreMinder automatically recognises the times it finds in the event and sets the start and end times. You can also add a set of timed events to the Events list by selecting a list containing times separated by returns and pressing the plus button, for example:
Tip: If you want to create a new event from scratch, make sure there is no text selected in the central field, and click on the plus button on the right hand side of the reminders window. You will see the 'Edit Event' field is blank. You can add information to your event, including times which will be automatically recognised. When you are done, click on the green tick icon to save your new event. If the event times were recognised successfully you should see your event appearing in the schedule on the left of the window.
- 11am morning coffee
- 1-1:30pm lunch with Anna
- 3pm-4pm meeting with Bob
- 4pm-4:30 meeting with Kevin
In the schedule the event colour changes to the colour of the text. The slight limitation with events as that each event can only have one colour, one font, one text size and one text style, not various colours or text styles throughout the text as a general reminder message can have. However, standalone events can be set to repeat on different days and can also have alarms. Click on your event in the right hand field to edit it. You will notice that the the text of the field changes to only contain the event you are editing, and the title of the field becomes 'New Event'. The event text becomes editable.
If you type a new set of start and end times, these will be recognised automatically as the new times for the event. You can change the colour of the event using the colour menu in the top right of the window, or the font and style using the text menu in the top right of the window.
At the end of the event description, if you type an ‘@’ character followed by any words, these words will become the event location. The following example will set the event location to ‘Coffee Shop’–
If the event is in a calendar linked to an iCal calendar, the event location is synced to the event’s location field. The location text is only displayed in PreMinder when the event is being edited, at the end of the event text preceded by ‘@’ symbol.
If you want to add extra notes to an event, simply hit tab on your keyboard while the cursor is blinking in the event text field. A notes field appears below the event text field to which you can add further information. Text in this field cannot be styled it will sync with event notes in iCal events, which are plain text. If you would prefer the text in this field to display in a different font, colour, or font size, change the default font settings in the Appearance section of the Preferences window, accessed from the PreMinder menu in the top left of your screen.
- Meet Joe 2pm @ Coffee Shop
When an event is being edited you an alter repeat, alarm and calendar options using the controls underneath the editing field. To add a repeat to an event, check the 'Repeat Every' box, enter the time interval between repeats in the field underneath and choose between days, weeks months or years in the popup menu. If you want to add a more complex custom repeat, choose one of the options in the lower half of the popup menu and a window will appear allowing more detailed settings.
Changing Start Date of an Event or End Date of Event Repeats
To specify when a repeat event should stop repeating, click on the arrow button to the right of the popup menu and an options window will appear. This options window can also set the start date for any event by clicking on the date bar in the top section of the window. This will show a date picker which can be used to choose a different start date.
To choose when repeats should stop, choose one of the three radio buttons:
Once you have set the options as required, click OK and the 'Start and End' window will close.
- Never: for events that repeat indefinitely
- After: once this option is chosen, enter a number in the field and then choose a time span, for example '2 weeks' or '3 months'
- On date: once this option is chosen, click on the date bar next to it and choose an end date from the picker that appears
Changing an Event‘s Calendar
To change the calendar with which the current event is associated, choose a new calendar from the Calendar popup menu. You can add and edit calendars using the Choose Calendars window which is accessible by clicking on the folder icon in the toolbar of the main Calendar Window. More information about these features can be found by clicking here.
To add an alarm to an event, choose one from the Alarm popup menu which is by default set to 'None'. All events can have one alarm handled by PreMinder. Please note that PreMinder must be running for alarms to function. If any alarms happen when PreMinder is not open, they will be reported next time you run PreMinder. You can run PreMinder unobtrusively in the background by choosing 'View > Hide All Windows When in Background' in the menu bar. If an event is in calendar linked with an iCal or other external calendar, you can also add multiple iCal alarms to the event. PreMinder alarms are displayed in the top section of the Alarm popup menu and are as follows:
All PreMinder alarms can be set to play a sound when they trigger. You will see a loudspeaker icon next to the gadgets which set the amount of time before the event when the alarm should go off. Choose the system sound you want to play from the menu which appears when you click on the loudspeaker icon.
If the event is in a linked calendar, existing iCal alarms are shown in the middle section of the Alarm popup menu. Select one of these to edit it. You can choose new iCal alarms to add to the event from the bottom section of the Alarm popup menu. The different types of iCal alarms that you can set are:
- Notify will display an alarm message using Growl if it is installed.
- Notify –Sticky will also use Growl but the alarm message will not fade away until you have clicked on it.
- Alert displays the alarm in a dialog box. When this type of alarm triggers and PreMinder is in the background, its dock icon will bounce until you click on it to show the dialog box.
- Email will send an email to the specified recipients using the Mail application. A dialog box will appear allowing you to edit the text of the email and add the email addresses of the recipients when you choose this option from the popup menu.
- Open File or URL will open a file on your computer or a URL in your web browser. A dialog box will appear allowing you to browse for files on your computer or add URLs to the alarm when you choose this option from the popup menu.
- The Pester setting allows you to choose any of the previously mentioned alarm options but over a period of time before an event. So you could get an alarm reminder five times in the run-up to an important event.
iCal alarms are handled by iCal's helper application which runs in the background. PreMinder does not need to be running for these alarms to trigger. They will also sync with external calendars and devices like the iPhone, and can trigger on these devices (Although iCal alarms that launch files on your computer will not work on your phone). To remove an iCal alarm or PreMinder alarm from an event, click on the red button with the minus icon to the right of the alarm gadgets.
- Message will display an alert box for the alarm when it triggers.
- Message and Sound will display an alert box for the alarm when it triggers and play a sound. When you have chosen this option from the Alarm popup menu, you will see a loudspeaker icon next to the gadgets which set the amount of time before the event when the alarm should go off. Choose the system sound you want to play from the menu which appears when you click on the loudspeaker icon.
- Email will send an email to one of your email addresses when the alarm triggers. When you have chosen this option from the Alarm popup menu, you will see an envelope icon next to the gadgets which set the amount of time before the event when the alarm should go off. Click on this icon to choose the email address you want the email send to from the menu which appears.
- Open File will open a file, folder or application on your computer when the alarm triggers. When you have chosen this option from the Alarm popup menu, you will see a file icon next to the gadgets which set the amount of time before the event when the alarm should go off. Click on this icon and choose file, folder or application from the popup menu, then choose the relevant item from the file browser window which appears.
The Edit Event Popup Options Menu
The 'Edit Event' title has a small popup arrow next to it. Click on the title to see an options menu which can perform several actions on the event currently being edited. The list of options is as follows:
The icon to the right of the 'Edit Event' title is a green tick. When you have finished editing this event, click on the green tick icon. All of the events for the day will once more appear in the events field.
Tip: If you hold down the shift key and type return while editing an event, this is the same as clicking on the green tick icon. The event will be saved and all events for the day will appear once more. You can also finish editing the event by hitting the enter key. If you hold down the option key and type return or enter when editing an event, the current event will be saved and a new blank event will appear for you to type information in.
- Make this a Birthday Event: This sets the event to repeat once every year. The age of the person is calculated automatically based on the start date of the event, and will be shown in the calendar window. To stop people's ages being shown in the calendar, Choose ‘PreMinder > Preferences…’ from the menu bar. In the General section of the Preferences window, uncheck ‘Show People’s Ages in Birthday Events.’
- Make this an Anniversary Event: This sets the event to repeat once every year, and marks it as an anniversary. The number of the anniversary will be shown in the Calendar window.
- Go to Start Date of this Event: If the event is a repeating event, this will take you to the start date of the event. So if the Day View was showing the 1st February 2012 but the repeating event started on the 1st February 2010, the Day View will move back to display the 1st February 2010.
- Convert to Span: This shows a sub-menu of different time durations. Choose one of these to convert the event to a multi-day span lasting for the duration you select. The event will keep its start date, display as a span (banner event) in the calendar, and will now be editable in the Span Editor in the Day View window.
- Edit Notes for this Event: This shows the Event notes editor in the bottom half of the Event editing panel, in the same way as hitting tab when in the main event text field.
- Edit URLs for this Event: This shows the Edit Event URLs window, which allows you to add URLs to websites, or files, applications and documents on your computer to an event. This window is discussed below.
- Edit Start Date or Repeat End Date: This shows an options window which allows you to alter the start date for the event. It allows lets you specify when a repeating event ends, either never or on a specific date.
- Edit Repeat, Alarm and Calendar Options: This shows or hides the Repeat, Alarm and Calendar options controls at the base of the event currently being edited.
- Detach this Event: This detaches the event instance on the currently displayed date shown at the top the Day View window from its master repeating event. You can then change the start and end times, text or other event options for this event instance (Such as notes or URLs) without affecting the other instances of the repeating event. You can also move this instance to a different date without affecting the other repeats.
- Trash this Event: This will send the current event to the trash. You can view events in the Trash by choosing ‘File > Find…’ from the menu bar and selecting the ‘Show Items in Trash’ at the bottom-right of the Find window. You can click on an event in the Trash for the option to restore it to the Calendar.
The Events List
Once the list of events for the day is displayed again, you can click on the Events title with the small popup arrow to get a list of options relating to all events shown for the day. The list of options is as follows:
To send an event to the trash, you can hold the mouse button down and swipe across it from left to right in the events list. A red line will be crossed through the event, at the right end of which you will see a trash can icon. Click on this icon to trash the event. To keep the event simply click anywhere else in the window or wait for the trash can icon to disappear. Once an event is in the trash it can still be viewed and restored in the Find window, as described above.
Right-click or hold the control key and click on an event in the events list to see a contextual menu which can perform actions related to the event. You can also simply hold the mouse button down for a short time on an event in the list to pop up the menu. Its options are as follows:
- New Event will start editing a blank new event. You can also click on the plus button to do this or click in a blank area of the events list underneath any displayed events.
- Show Full Events will display the full text of each event in the events list.
- Show One Line Events will only show the first line of each event in the events list, and will trim it if it is longer than the width of the list.
- Delete All Events For Today will send all events for the displayed day in the Day View to the trash, as well as all repeating events which start on the currently displayed day. A dialog box will appear confirming that you want to proceed with this action. You can view events sent to the trash by choosing ‘File > Find’ from the menu bar and clicking on the ‘Show Items in Trash’ checkbox. Click on an event in the list for the option to restore it.
If the event clicked on has any URLs associated with it, these will appear as a list at the end of the contextual menu. Choose a URL from the menu to launch it.
Tip You can also pop up the contextual menu over an event in the Calendar window or an event shown in the schedule on the left-hand side of the Day View window. Right-click or hold the control key and click on the event, or hold the mouse button down for a short period of time.
- Edit this event will hide the full events list and allow you to edit the event clicked on.
- Edit event URLs will open the URLs window which allows you to add URLs to websites, email addresses, files, folders or applications to the event. More information about this window is shown below.
- Don’t show repeat on this day will hide the selected instance of a repeating event on the displayed day. This option is only available for repeating events.
- Trash this Event will send the event to the trash. If it is a repeating event, all instances of the event are sent to the trash.
The Edit Event URLs Window
The first field in this window can contain a single URL. If the event chosen is in a calendar that links to iCal, this URL will be synced with iCal.
PreMinder events can have multiple additional URLs which do not sync with iCal. To create one, click on the plus button and it will appear in the URL list below. Add a title or description for the URL in Title field and type the URL itself in the URL field. ‘http://www.’ or ‘http://’ will be added automatically for you at the start of web addresses if left out.
You can also add a link to an application, file or folder on you hard disk by clicking on the respective icon to the top-right of the URLs list and choosing the required item in the file browser dialog that appears. Click on a URL in the URLs list and press the ’minus’ icon to the top-left of the list to remove it. Click on the ’plus‘ icon to add another URL. Click on any URL in the list to edit it.
All URLs added to an event can be launched quickly when you right-click on an event in the Day View or Calendar windows, as they appear as a list in the event‘s contextual menu.
The schedule is shown in the left hand panel of the Day View Window. It shows an at-a-glance view of appointments for the day without the need for scrolling. You can set the start and end times of the schedule display by choosing ‘PreMinder > Preferences’ from the menu bar, and altering the sliders at the top of the ‘General’ tab.
You can create a new event by dragging a box downwards in a blank area of the schedule in the Day View, from start to end times. It will appear in the right hand side of the Day View where you can edit its text and other properties. Its start and end times will have been already added.
Any event which also shows up in the Event List on the right hand side of the Day View can be edited in the schedule too. Drag the event up and down in the schedule to change its start and end times. Drag from the top edge or bottom edge of the event to resize it so it becomes a shorter or longer event. Right-click on an event or hold the mouse button down in the same position on the event for a short time to pop up the event contextual menu. You won‘t be able to alter items in the schedule which are automatically generated from text in the central notes field. If you want to make one a formal event, select the relevant text in the central field and press the ‘plus’ icon at the far right of the window.
The Span Editor
Spans (multi-day banner events) appear in the Day View above the central notes field. To create one you can click on the ’Span’ button in the Calendar window toolbar and resize it if necessary in the Calendar window. You can also convert one-day events to spans as described earlier. To edit the span in the Day View, click on its bar above the central notes field. The span editor shown above will appear.
The top left field contains the main event text. You can enter start and end times here, which will be automatically recognised. Type an ‘@‘ character followed by a place name at the end of the event to set the location. Hit tab to edit the event notes in the field underneath. Click on the colour swatch to the right of the event text field to pop up a palette of colours. To the right of this are the event start and end dates: click on any item in these dates to see the date picker which lets you either type a new date or select one using the mini month and mouse controls. You can also set a particular time span for the event by choosing one from the actions cog menu in the top right of the span editor.
The span repeat options are found underneath the span start and end dates and function in the same way as the repeat controls in the event editor. The alarm settings also function in the same way, as does the calendar popup menu.
The Events Window
To show this window, make sure the item 'Show Edit Events' is ticked in the 'View' menu. This window is a legacy window, and is included for users who prefer it, but all of its functions are now handled by the Day View window also. It can set alarms for events but does not support setting iCal alarms, to do this please use the Day View window.
- Large Date Display. The Events Window can edit any event that falls on a particular date: either an event which begins or occurs once on the date shown in this large display, or which repeats on the date shown. If you hover the mouse over the day, date or month in the display you will see two arrows appear, which let you increase or decrease the value you are hovering over. If you click on the year, a menu will pop up letting you select another year. This display is for navigation only, it does not change the dates of any events. You don't have to use this display to navigate to a date, you can click on a date in the Calendar window and it will appear in the Events window display. Clicking on the triangle icon near the year will show or hide the rest of the window's editing options.
- Select Event Menu.The pop-up menu allows you to choose which event you are editing for the date shown in the display. It will present you with a list of all events that fall on that date, as well as a 'New Event' item for creating a new event.
- Start Date Editing Bar. This lets you change the start date for the event. Normally this will be the same as the date shown in the large display at the top of the window. However, sometimes repeating events may fall on a date but start before. For example, if your friend's birthday was on the 4th May it would appear in the Events window when the large display showed 4th May 2009. However, if your friend was born in 1976 then the date bar would show 4th May 1976. Clicking on any part of the date bar allows you to change the start date for the event. If you click on the date, you will see a date picker. You can either type a different date into the field and hit return, or choose a different date in the picker underneath. If you only have the date and month of an event, but not the year, for instance if you knew the date and month of someone's birthday but not the year they were born in, you can add this event by entering a '?' character into the year field. Please note that some types of repeat which depend on knowing the year value won't work with this type of event, but a yearly repeat for a birthday will work.
- Start and End Times. If you tick the check-box to the left of the clock icon, you will give your event start and end times. Type the start time in the light blue field and the end time in the darker blue field to the right. Several common ways of writing times are automatically recognised.
- Event Text Field. Enter the text for the event in the field here. You can also edit the text for an event in the Day View window.
- Event Options Menus. These three icons are pop-up menus. The first two will display a menu of colour swatches. The left-most one will set the text colour of your event and the middle one will set the background colour of your event. The actions cog menu presents two options:
- Make this a birthday event. This will make an event a birthday event, setting it to repeat on the same date every year from the start date. It will also display the person's age on a specific date in the calendar. You can turn off age calculations by choosing 'Preferences' from the 'PreMinder' menu. Under the 'General' section, un-tick the check-box marked 'calculate people's ages in birthday events'. Age calculation will only work for events with a start year, excluding anyone whose birth year you do not know and have entered a '?' for the year value.
- Delete event. This deletes the currently selected event in the pop-up menu. If you need to retrieve an event which you have accidentally deleted, choose 'Find' from the 'Edit' menu in the menu bar. Choose the 'Events' option and un-tick all the check-boxes except 'Show Items in Trash', which must be ticked. All deleted events will then be displayed in the search results list. If you click on any event in the list, a dialog box will appear asking you if you wish to restore the event: click 'Yes' to remove it from the trash and it will re-appear in your calendar.
If you want to completely erase all events in the trash, click on the 'Empty Trash' button in the Search Window. Please note that once you do this, the events are gone forever.
- Repeating Event. To set an event to repeat, tick the check-box marked 'Repeat Every'. In the field, enter a number for the frequency of the repeat, then choose 'days', 'weeks', 'months' or 'years' in the pop-up menu next to it. If you choose 'weeks…', 'months…', or 'years…' from this menu under the heading 'Custom' a small window will open allowing you to set more advanced custom repeat options. Further documentation for this will be added soon. You can also open this window by clicking on the plus icon next to the 'Repeat Every' check-box. If you tick the check-box marked 'Until' you can add a date on which repeats for this event will end (Otherwise repeats continue forever). If you hold down the mouse button on the word 'Until' a pop-up menu will appear; choosing 'For' allows you to set the repeat to continue over a certain time span.
- Event Alarm. Choose the type of alarm you want to add to an event, and when it should go off before the event. You can also set an alarm to 'pester' you and go off several times in the run up to an important event. Alarms can notify you via Growl, pop up an alert box, or send out an email or launch a file. You can also specify a sound by choosing one from the popup menu under the loudspeaker icon.
- Attendees Field. You can enter the names of attendees for an event in this field. As you type a name, it will autocomplete based on the contacts in your address book.