Enhance Calendar with Blotter

1/31/2013 9:10:20 AM

Keep on top of events and reminders by anchoring them to your desktop

What you need: OS X 10.6+, Blotter ($9.99 Mac App Store)

Calendar is a great app that has evolved along with OS X to become the hub of a multi-device system. It ties together your iPad, iPhone, and Mac in one handy app environment, but unfortunately, the desktop app on the Mac is often overlooked in favor of the more handy iPhone app.

Blotter app

Need to remember that important date? You definitely won't miss it once you auqment Calendar’s basic functionality with the Blotter app.

This is because it seems easier to tap in events on the iPhone, or have Siri do the work for you, so the Mac version is left languishing in your dock. Luckily, the Mac App Store is able to breathe a little more life into Calendar thanks to a cool utility called Blotter. It collects the data in your iCIoud calendars and the Calendar app, and displays it as your desktop wallpaper. This allows you to see, in real time, what is happening week by week, month by month, every time you glance at your desktop.

It’s not intrusive or unsightly. Rather, it becomes a great little reminder of what's happening and an easy way to add events without loading the Calendar app. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to load, customize, and control Blotter, as well as how to use shortcuts to access faster event and reminder creation.

1.    Lock and Load

Download the Blotter app from the Mac App Store ($9.99) and open it using the Launchpad app in your dock. Alternatively, you can open it from your Applications folder in Finder. The app will display your current calendar and the Preferences pane, where you can set it up.

2.    Time for Tabs

The General tab lets you control the way Blotter behaves. To begin with, tick the Open at Login checkbox to ensure that the app loads each time your Mac starts up. You can then decide whether or not you need any of the other options below. You can also use this pane to quit the app.

2. Time for Tabs

The General tab lets you control the way Blotter behaves.

3.    Shortcuts

Use the tabs at the top to select the Shortcuts option. Here you can add your own custom keyboard commands for certain actions. Simply click an option and then press the key combination you would like to use as a shortcut. The app will recognize this and enter it into the space for each action.

4.    Fully Loaded

Once your shortcuts have all been loaded, the screen should look like this. You can now test them by using the key commands you have just created. If you learn these by heart, there should be no need for you to use the menus or the Calendar app when adding events or reminders.

5.    Shape It Up

The default view for your Blotter calendar is square, but you can pick from four presets that will change its shape. Your choice will depend on how much screen real estate you wish to give the app. Remember, it will always be there, under any files, folders, or drives that live on your desktop.

6.    Pick a Position

To find out how much space Blotter takes up on your desktop, click on the Positioning tab and drag the white lined square around the sample desktop in the window below. Depending on where you keep desktop items and the size of your dock, you can choose to move Blotter out of the way.

6. Pick a Position

7.    Pick Your Content

You can use the Layout tab to customize the elements that sit within each section of Blotter. Use the dropdown menu as a starting point, then use the bottom window to drag the section you want to alter. Click and hold on the three dots under a section to move it and change the layout.

8.    Calendar Time

The last tab lets you decide which calendars to display using Blotter. Click the checkbox below to choose which ones appear. If you use iCIoud, you can also select your shared and subscribed calendars. You can now dismiss the Preferences pane and see your finished Blotter calendar.


You can access the Blotter menu from the top menu bar in OS X, near the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth symbols. Click on the icon and use the drop-down menu to access your keyboard commands, set preferences, and quit the app.

The End Result

As you can see, your new desktop looks great. There's a huge date stamp in the top left, and your information updates in real time, so every time you add a reminder or event, it appears almost instantly. The field of blocks at the very top are your all-day activities, and below these are your individual events. These take on the same colors you use in Calendar and iCIoud. On the left is a Right Now section, which keeps you up to date on today's events. Above that is your To Do section, which pertains to your reminders in Mountain Lion. This app plays nicely with iCIoud, so when you use Siri to add reminders, they sync back through Calendar and into Blotter. This app is so great we think Apple should buy the rights to incorporate it into the next OS X!

The End Result

As you can see, your new desktop looks great.

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