Mac OS X: Open Contacts & Events in Separate Windows

| TMO Quick Tip

You may know that you can double-click on a Mail message (or hit Command-O) to bring it up in its own window. Continue doing this with as many you want, and Mail will obediently open a window for each message. But it’s less well known that you can do a similar thing in Address Book and iCal, which is pretty darned useful for comparing data. In Address Book, for example, double-click on each contact you want to open.

As you can see, each contact card will open in its own window, allowing you to compare or edit the information within them. I find this especially useful when I’m trying to weed out duplicated data. 

Similarly, double-click on events in iCal to pull them open one at a time. 

Note, though, that you have to have the preference Open events in separate windows turned on in iCal for this to work. That checkbox is within the menu item iCal > Preferences, under the Advanced tab. If you don’t have that on, double-clicking an event will only open the little pop-up beside it, and you won’t be able to open any others at the same time.

If you want, you can pick up, drag, and drop that pop-up to force it to become its own window instead of it being attached to its event, but that’s adding an extra step to the process.

Drag an event’s pop-up to pull it out into its own window.


I’m not fond of extra steps. (But I am awfully fond of the Open events in separate windows preference, anyway.)

Finally, in both Address Book and iCal, the keyboard shortcut for “open the things I have selected in their own windows” is Command-I. In iCal, that’s invoking Edit > Get Info; for Address Book, that’s Card > Open in Separate Window. So you can hold down Command and select as many cards or events as you like, hit that keyboard shortcut, and zowie! They all open up without you having to double-click each one. Why, you could have a screen full of contact cards if you wanted. I don’t know why you would, but you could.

Popular TMO Stories


Lee Dronick

Great tips!

Melissa Holt

Thanks, Lee! I appreciate that. smile


Excellent!  I will also use these tips for weeding out duplicates. You know, because .mac - er, mobile me - er, iCloud works so well wink

Melissa Holt

Ha ha, Jeff! I have no idea what you’re talking about, as I have never seen an Address Book with duplicated entries, no sir. wink

Pat Dawkins

Is there a way to open multiple notes that are maid in Mail.

Melissa Holt

Hey Pat,

Yep! If you hold down Command, select as many as you want, and then hit Command-O (which is the shortcut for File > Open Notes), that’ll do what you’re looking for. smile


Lee Dronick

Yep! If you hold down Command, select as many as you want,

Thanks again Melissa!

Melissa Holt

Uh oh. You’re welcome, but what’d I do this time? :D

Lee Dronick

You answered Pat’s question which answered one I had not yet asked or researched.

Melissa Holt

Aha! Well, I’m happy to have helped.


Thanks Melissa.  So simple when you know how!

Pat Dawkins

I am trying to add my signature to a PDF file.  I have “photo’d” the signature as instructed under the Annotation heading but when I try to place it, it is replicated perfectly but in a vertical position and I am unable to make it horizontal.  I have tried deleting that signature and redoing another but each time it is pasted in vertically

Melissa Holt

Hey Pat,

You may find this link useful?other people are having this problem with some documents, and on that page, they talk about what they’ve done to work around it.

Hope that helps!

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account