How to Use Reminders on Your iMac

By Mark L. Chambers

You don’t need to look far to find the Reminders application on your iMac. Just click the Reminders icon on the Dock to display the main window, as shown in the following figure.

The Reminders window in action.

The Reminders window in action.

The highlights of the Reminders window include

  • Search box: Click here and type a phrase or name to search for it among your reminders.

  • Reminders sidebar: You can add as many separate Reminder lists as you like in the application (one for work, for example, and another for your Mac user group). In the sidebar, you can switch quickly between your lists. (Note that two lists, Reminders and Completed, already appear.)

  • Hide/Show Reminders Sidebar button: Click this button (lower left) to hide or show the Reminders sidebar. You save a significant amount of screen real estate when the display is hidden.

  • Calendar: This handy calendar indicates which days of the current month already have reminders pending: They’re displayed with a dot under the date. You can jump to any date by clicking it. To move forward and backward through the months, click the Previous (left arrow) and Next (right arrow) buttons next to the month name. (Note that this calendar does not sync or exchange reminder dates with the Calendar application.)

  • New List button: Click this button (bottom left) to add a new Reminder list to the sidebar; or, from the keyboard, press the Command key+L. The list name is highlighted in a text box, where you can simply type the new name and then press Return.

  • Reminders: These entries are the reminders themselves. In its simplest form, a reminder is just a short phrase or sentence. Each is prefaced by a check box that you select when the reminder is complete, thereby moving that reminder automatically to the Completed list. And yes, conversely, if you select the Completed list in the sidebar and deselect the check box for a reminder, it returns (like a bad penny) to the original list.

  • Add Reminder button: Click this button (upper right) to add a new reminder to the currently selected list; or, from the keyboard, press the Command key+N. Press Return afterward to save it to your list.

Adding a reminder is straightforward. First, click a date in the calendar display to jump to that date, and then click the Add Reminder button. Type a few words and press Return to create a basic reminder. Now for the fun part: Hover your cursor over the reminder you just created, and an Info button (the lowercase i in a circle icon) appears next to the text. The game is afoot! Click that Info button to display the settings you see in the following figure.

Editing a reminder.

Editing a reminder.

The fields on the Edit sheet are

  • Reminder text: Click this text to edit the reminder text itself.

  • On a Day: Enable this check box if the reminder should appear in Notification Center on a particular day. By default, the date is the one selected when you created the reminder. You can click the Date and Time fields to change them.

  • At a Location: Here’s a powerful feature. Enable this check box, and you can choose a card from your Contacts application that includes an address (or simply type an address into the box). Now Reminders will monitor your current location on your cellular-enabled iOS device (using Location Services) and notify you when you’re leaving or arriving at that location (and optionally, on the date and time you specify in the On a Day field). For example, you could create a reminder that notifies you on your iPhone when you’re arriving at the mall on September 15 to pick up the watch that’s being repaired. Shazam!

  • Repeat: Set this reminder to automatically repeat every day, week, two weeks, month, or year at the same time. To disable repeat, choose None.

  • Priority: You can assign one of four priorities to the reminder: Low, Medium, High, or None. Assigning a priority prefaces the reminder text with one (Low), two (Medium), or three (High) red exclamation points so that the reminder stands out from the crowd.

  • Note: Click next to the Note field to enter a free-form text note along with the reminder.

Click the Done button on the Edit sheet when you’ve finished making changes. You can edit a reminder as often as you like. For example, you may sometimes have to change the date on a reminder multiple times as your schedule changes.

To delete a reminder from the list, right-click it and choose Delete from the menu that appears.