Calculate appointment travel times with Calendar

Calendar on the Apple Mac is a useful tool for organising meetings, appointments, and so on. Just double click a day in Calendar to create a new event and then fill in the name and time. The location is optional and you might not think that you need it, but if you do enter an address, Calendar can tell you how long it will take you to get there either by car or by walking. It’s a useful feature.

Try this, create a new event in Calendar, such as a meeting or appointment with someone and enter a title for it. Just below the title it says Add Location and if you click here you can then enter the address at which the meeting or appointment is to take place. It can be the full address or a partial one, such as the city and post code (zip code).

What you may not have realised is that if you click the time in the new event and, the event expands and displays extra information. Notice that there is a travel time field. Click it and wait for the spinning gear to stop. It then tells you how long it will take to get there either by driving or by walking. There are also options to manually enter the travel time too, but it is the automatic calculation that’s of most interest.

Calendar travel time

An obvious question is what is your starting location? Where is it working out the travel time from? Calendar tries to be clever here and it uses the information stored in Contacts. It looks up your home and work addresses in Contacts and if the event is taking place during work hours then the starting location and travel time is assumed to be from your place of work. If the event is out of work hours then the starting location and travel time is assumed to be from home.

Make sure Contacts has both your home and work addresses and go to Calendar, Preferences, General and set the start and end of the day to indicate your working hours.

There is an obvious problem here and if you are out of the office and have several appointments throughout the day, you won’t be starting the journey from the office. Instead you will travel from one appointment to the next. This is where it gets even better.

If you double click an event, click the time and click travel time, Calendar looks to see if there is a previous appointment. If there isn’t one then the travel time is from work (or home if it is out of hours). If there is a previous appointment within three hours of the selected one, it assumes that is the starting point. It then shows the travel time between the two appointments.

This is a really clever and useful feature and you can easily see how long it will take you to travel between appointments throughout the day.



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