Mountain Lion: Calendar’s Fancy New Search

I covered using Mail search tokens when Lion came out, but now in Mountain Lion, we can use a similar feature in the Calendar app. (Man, I’m having trouble getting used to not calling it iCal.) This ability makes it much simpler to find appointments using layered searches; for example, you can quickly find all events that are called “Meeting with Jeff” that have the term “Starbucks” in them. Let’s walk through it together, shall we?

So in Calendar, you can click in the search field in the upper-right of your window to get started, or hit Command-F to jump directly up there. Just like in Mail, you’ll get a list of so-called search tokens when you start typing. 

Select any of those tokens to see the list of matching events. If you choose anything underneath the People, Title, or Notes sections, Calendar will save that query out as an editable token, and you can continue typing afterward to refine the search.

Click on the category itself to modify it. (What original category your search token was under will affect what choices you get here.)

The results appear in the new search sidebar on the right-hand side—click any of them to leap right to the event you choose.

I’m apparently unavailable a LOT.


Now that you’ve played around with the tokens, there are a couple of neat things to know. The first is that any events that match your query don’t just appear in the search sidebar—they show up in a darker color in Day, Week, and Month views to make ’em stand out.

This was true in Lion as well, but it only seemed to work for all-day events, at least for me.

Searching in Year view in Mountain Lion is really fun and useful, too, especially for recurring appointments. As you can see in my screenshot below, the days that contain events that match your search will be highlighted there.

So, so helpful. This makes me forgive Apple a little bit for the iCal/Calendar name switcheroo.

You can swap among the different views while your search is active. Once you clear the search, though, the sidebar disappears completely, leaving your Calendar program as pristine as it was before. I like these new features, but I admit that I miss having my reminders in that location. I’m getting used to it.