Guides Mac Tips

How to Place iCal Events and Tasks on Your Desktop

How can I put my iCal events and tasks on my Desktop so I can see them all the time?

The dead-simple way to solve this problem is to crack open your wallet. iDeskCal does this easily. It’s $10.99 in the Mac App Store, and you can grab a free trial

You can also do this on your own with a combination of GeekTool and icalBuddy. Both are free, but require some tinkering. GeekTool installs as a System Preference pane and can display a range of info on your Desktop. And icalBuddy is a command-line utility that can grab your iCal events and to-dos from the iCal database without needing to open the iCal app itself.

Using GeekTool to get your iCal events on your screen is free and highly nerdy. Yay!
Once you’ve installed them both, open up System Preferences > GeekTool and drag the Shell icon (in the Geeklets pane) onto your Desktop. That’ll pop up both a transparent window where your output will be displayed and a Properties dialog that defines what
will be shown.

The field you need to worry about the most is Command, which is where you’ll paste or type an icalBuddy command that shows your iCal events or tasks. icalBuddy’s developer has a handy list at, so if you find a command there that does what you like, go ahead and paste it in. Then use the other fields in GeekTool’s Properties dialog to tweak the placement, fonts, and so on. For more on GeekTool, check out our how-to “Trick Out Your Desktop with GeekTool.”