Basics of Reminders and the Notification Center in OS X Mavericks - dummies

Basics of Reminders and the Notification Center in OS X Mavericks

By Bob LeVitus

OS X Maverick’s Reminders help you stay organized. Unlike an event, a Reminder item isn’t necessarily associated with a particular day or time (though it can be). Furthermore, Reminders can be location-based, which is handier on an iDevice than a Mac, but a great feature if you have such a device. Finally, Reminders can have a priority level of Low, Medium, High, or None.


How to Create Reminders in OS X Mavericks

Before you create or manage your own Reminders, there are a couple of things you should know, starting with the concept of Lists. Reminders includes a List called Reminders by default. You can delete or rename it if you like, and you can create additional Lists if you care to by choosing File→New List, pressing Command+L, or clicking the plus button at the bottom of the window.

Her is an example two to-do Lists and called Bob’s To Dos and Bob’s Shopping List. Also included is a third List called Completed, which Reminders creates the first time you click the check box to indicate a task is “done.”


In other words, when you check the box for an item, the item is moved from whichever List it’s on to the Completed List.

Here are more helpful techniques for working with Lists:

  • To rename a List: Right-click or Control-click the List, choose Rename from the contextual menu, type the new name, and press Return or Enter when you’re done. Or select the list, press Return or Enter, type the new name, and then press Return or Enter again when you’re done.

  • To display a List in a separate window: Double-click the List’s name; right-click or Control-click the List and choose Open List in New Window from the contextual menu; choose Window→Open in New Window; or press Command+Return or Enter.

  • To show or hide the little calendar: Choose View→Show/Hide Calendar; press Command+Option+K; or click the little calendar button below the little calendar.

  • To show or hide the List Sidebar: Choose View→Show/Hide Sidebar; press Command+Option+S; or click the little triangle in a button on the left beneath the little calendar.

How to set Reminders in OS X Mavericks

It couldn’t be easier: Just choose File→New Reminder; press Command+N; click the Plus button in the top-right corner of the Reminders window; or click the first blank line in any List and begin typing.

Ah, but there’s much more to a Reminder. Reminders can

  • Remind you at a specific time on a specific date.

  • Repeatedly remind you at a specified interval.

  • Remind you at a specific location (great for iPhone and 3G/4G iPad owners).

To access these features, you need to Show Info for the Reminder by choosing View→Show Info; pressing Command+I; clicking the little “i” that appears on the right side of the Reminder (hover your cursor over the right side of the reminder if you don’t see it); or double-click a blank spot on the Reminder. Show Info for the Pizza and Wings Reminders.


The first time you try to use At a Location, your Mac will present a dialog asking if you want to Enable Location Services to Allow “Reminders” to Use Your Current Location. If you agree, click the Open Privacy Preferences button, select the check box to enable Location Services in Reminders, and then close the System Preferences app.

Finally, to reorder Reminders in a List, click a blank spot on any Reminder, drag it up or down, and drop it into its new position.

Basics of the Notification Center in OS X Mavericks

Here’s the Mac Notification Center, and while it was new in Mountain Lion, it’s been part of iOS for years (well, at least a year longer than it’s been on the Mac).


Notification Center displays communications from apps that support it. You can make it appear regardless of what application is currently active by clicking its menu bar icon (shown in the margin) or swiping from the left edge to the right on your trackpad.

You manage notifications in the Notifications System Preference pane. Choose Apple→System Preferences, click System Preferences’ Dock icon, or click the little gear near the bottom of Notification Center, which is a shortcut that opens the Notifications Preference pane.

On the left are all the apps on your hard disk that support the Notification Center protocol. To specify settings for an app, click it in the list. When you’ve selected an app, here’s what you can do:

  • To have an app’s notifications not appear in Notification Center: Either deselect the Show in Notification Center check box or drag the app down to the Not in Notification Center section of the list.

  • To change how apps are sorted in Notification Center: Choose Manually or By Time from the Sort Notification Center pop-up menu. Choose Manually if you prefer to arrange the order the apps appear in Notification Center by dragging them up or down; choose By Time to sort them with the most recent ones at the top.

  • To specify the alert style for the app: Your choices are Banners, Alerts, or None. Alerts stay onscreen until you dismiss them; Banners appear in the upper-right corner of the screen below the Notification Center icon and fade away a few seconds after they appear.

  • To see the number of new notifications for the app on its Dock icon: Select the Badge App Icon check box.

  • To hear a sound when receiving notifications: Select the Play Sound when Receiving Notifications check box.

  • To specify the number of recent items the Notification Center displays for the app: Click the Show in Notification Center pop-up menu and choose 1, 5, 10, or 20 recent items.