Forum Question: Automatically export a calendar from iCal !

Gary could you please show me a way how to automatically export an iCal Calendar to my iMac using Automator. I’d like this done every day. Incase my mobile me calendar gets messed up, at least I have a back up of the same calendar !
Can Automator also automatically switch user accounts to carry out this back up, or wil I gave to manually log into the appropriate user account?
Cyrus Dubash

Comments: 19 Responses to “Automatically export a calendar from iCal !”

    6/3/11 @ 7:37 am

    You can try. I’d set a daily even tin iCal that then triggers the Automator script. For the script I’d simply record yourself using the Export function in iCal. It may take some experimentation to get the script right.

      5/3/12 @ 3:07 am

      I tried the recording feature of AppleScript and exported my calendar, but it didn’t record anything. Besides, the export command is not in the iCal Suite of the AppleScript library under Lion. I am not an AppleScript specialist, but does that mean there’s no way to use the export command in AppleScript?

        5/3/12 @ 4:36 am

        Now that I watched your video, I understand what you meant. I didn’t know about this feature in Automator and it seems brilliant! thanks!
        …except the recording seems very random, the cursor misses the menu buttons and gets lost in the way. Is there a proper way to move the cursor to get the recording right?

        NB: There’s no keyboard short-cut for Export calendar

          5/3/12 @ 6:39 am

          Yes, I know what you mean. It doesn’t work 100% of the time. So why not create a keyboard shortcut for the menu choice? (

            5/17/12 @ 6:00 am

            This option is just brilliant!
            …but sadly, Automator still doesn’t reproduce the recorded action.
            I chose “iCal Archive…” instead of “Export…” because the Export menu title sometimes changes mysteriously to “Export as calendar…”. After assigning a shortcut, I recorded the action using it instead of the mouse. But when launching the process, the window where to save the archive does not open. If I shrink the process to only the shortcut, the window does open. But as soon as I add where to save it and the name of the file, etc., it doesn’t.
            Could you help me with that?

              5/17/12 @ 6:42 am

              I don’t have a solution for you, never having had to do that specific task before. Experiment with it. Try different things. Add delays between the commands, etc.

                5/17/12 @ 9:39 am

                I had tried the delays. But thank you very much anyway for the pieces of advice!
                The purpose is to be able to consult the calendar of the main session in my other sessions (I don’t need to modify it in the other sessions). It seems absurd to me to have to resort to the cloud to synchronise data on the same computer…
                If you know any other way to do it, I would be very grateful!

                  5/17/12 @ 9:42 am

                  Use the cloud. Why not? Then it is also backing up your calendar at the same time. And you can access it elsewhere if you ever need to.

                    5/17/12 @ 4:00 pm

                    Privacy! dear privacy!
                    Plus environment (internet traffic emits CO2)…

                      5/17/12 @ 7:01 pm

                      Not sure how privacy plays into it. I’m not suggesting that you make the calendar public.
                      I’m not an energy expert, but I can’t see how saving your calendar to a cloud service uses more energy than you already do by using your computer.

    Cyrus Dubash
    6/3/11 @ 9:28 am

    I am very new to automator ! can u get me started with the recording feature ? is it something like recording a macro ! im quite lost looking at it !

    10/30/11 @ 12:17 pm

    Automator is very limited in my experience and not very intuitive. I suggest that you use the Apple program, Backup, which also comes with all Mac computers. I have just done this to save local copies of my iCal calendars and Address Book contacts. Very easy to set up.
    I hope this is helpful.

      10/30/11 @ 3:39 pm

      I think the old “Backup” program is finally dead now with Lion. At least you used to get it with MobileMe (in the software downloads section) and now that MobileMe is going away, I assume Backup is too,

    Joseph L
    1/8/12 @ 6:08 am

    With the MobileMe service going away, is there / will there be an alternative means to publish a calendar from iCal, other than linking the calendar to a google calender?

    8/7/12 @ 9:33 pm

    I got this to work. I tried creating a keyboard shortcut as those above did, but even though you would think this would be a more precise way to tell automator what to do, I think the fact that the “iCal Archive…” menu option is not a direct selection but instead an offshoot of the “Export” menu item, Automator can’t really find it.

    Instead, what seemed to work was the following:
    1) Start record in Automator
    2) click once on iCal from the dock
    3) click once on “File” from the menu bar – do not move the mouse
    4) wait a bit (?5 seconds? I can’t remember how long, but it’s this waiting that seemed to make the difference)
    5) mouse down to “Export” – wait a bit before further mousing
    6) mouse over to “iCal Archive…” – wait a bit before clicking
    7) click once on “iCal Archive…”
    8) select your destination folder form there, Gary’s videos have given pointers re: how to ensure this is correct regardless of various other mutable factors.

    Hope this helps….

    1/4/13 @ 11:21 am

    Gary, is there a way to sync my icloud calendar with my Outlook. Thanks.

      1/4/13 @ 11:59 am

      Not that I know of. You don’t really “sync” an iCloud calendar — you “view/edit” it. It exists in the cloud, not on your Mac. Like you would view a web page in a browser. You use Calendar on Mac (and iOS) to view/edit your iCloud calendar. You can also do it at You can export it from there and import it into Outlook, certainly, but it wouldn’t continue to sync. Outlook isn’t an iCloud calendar viewer/editor like Calendar is.

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