4 ways to create calendar events from emails on the Mac

If you use Apple Mail and Calendar on the Mac, here are some great ways to create calendar events from emails in the Mail app. Attach an email to a calendar event using drag and drop.

Email is more than a type of messaging service and it is often the first thing we check when we begin the work day. The tasks we need to do each day are often driven by emails. As we work through the messages in the inbox, there are tasks that must be performed, meetings and appointments that are requested, either real or online, projects and product deadlines and so on.

It is useful to have the Calendar app open as you deal with your emails each day so that you can set reminders, schedule events, meetings and appointments and so on. Emails are the source of many calendar events.

In this article I will show several shortcuts that enable you to create calendar events from emails and for this I will use Apple Mail and Calendar on the Mac. These two apps work well together and they are available to everyone as they are part of macOS. Some features do require the latest version though, so make sure your Mac is up to date.

1 Create Calendar events from emails

Open the Mail app on the Mac and open an email that contains a date. Move the mouse over the date and time in the message and a dotted box outline is drawn around it. To the right of the date is a small button. Click the button to automatically create an event in the Calendar app on this date.

Screenshot: Creating a calendar event from an email in the Mail app on the Apple Mac
Mouse over dates in emails in Mac Mail to create a calendar event

I used “Monday 10th May”, but this is not the only format for a date that can be used. A wide range of dates and times can be recognized and you can use natural language, for example, “Next Thursday at 3.30 pm” is recognized, so is “2.30 on 16/6/22” and many other ways of saying a date and time. Mail is very good at recognizing them.

Screenshot showing a calendar event created from an email on the Apple Mac
A calendar event created from a date in an email on the Mac

After clicking a date in an email, a panel is displayed with bare-bones details of the event. You can click in the Notes section and enter notes, click Add Invitees to invite other people and so on.

Screenshot: Setting an event reminder for a calendar event on the Apple Mac
Set the calendar event details like a reminder

The event can be edited just as you would when entering an event directly into the Calendar app. For example, click the alert and select a more convenient reminder before the event so you will not forget it.

When you have finished entering the event, click Add to Calendar and the event is created. Throughout this, there is no need to open or use the Calendar app and everything is done from within the email.

2 Drag emails to the calendar

The macOS Calendar app supports dragging and dropping and you may not have realized this, but emails can be dragged from the Mail app and dropped on a day in the calendar to create an event. This is a brilliant way to create calendar events from emails and it has some advantages over other methods.

Screenshot showing making a calendar event from an email in the Mail app on the Apple Mac
Drag from the Mail inbox and drop on the Calendar app

Open the Mail app and there is a column that lists the emails in your inbox. Click and drag an email from the inbox and drop it on a day in the Calendar app. An entry is created and a panel appears with the details.

The details can be clicked, so if you want to change the time or ther alert, just click them. The title of the event is taken from the email subject, which is often fine, but it can be clicked, edited and changed if you want.

The big advantage of creating a calendar event this way is that a link, Show in Mail, is automatically added to it. If you open Calendar, click an event to see the details, you can then click the Show in Mail link to read the email that prompted you to create the event.

3 Drag email subjects to the calendar

Text can be dragged to the Calendar app and dropped on a day in order to create calendar events from emails. For example, you could highlight the subject in an email and then drag it to the calendar and drop it to create an event.

Screenshot showing Mail and Calendar on the Apple Mac
Drag email subjects in Mail to the Calendar app

The email subject is used for the title of the new event. The date is the day you dropped it on and the other details can be edited if necessary.

Dragging and dropping the subject does not create a link back to the original email as the previous method did, so you may find it less useful.

4 Drag email contents to the calendar

Drag an email from the inbox to Calendar and it automatically adds a link back to the original message in the Mail app. However, it does not add the message contents. This means that you have to deal with two apps, Calendar to see the event and Mail to read the email. What if you want to see the email contents in the calendar event?

Screenshot showing an email in a calendar event on the Apple Mac
Drag email content to notes in a calendar event

There is a way to do this and after creating a new event, the email contents can be dragged and dropped into the event popup.

In the Mail app, open the email. Click in the message body and press Cmd+A to select all, or click and drag over the message with the mouse to select the content you want. Then click and drag the selection to the event and drop it where it says Add Notes, URL or Attachments.

The email contents are automatically inserted into the event as notes. This is great and it means that you can read an email that generated an event within Calendar without having to open the Mail app.

The only slight disappointment with this is that only plain text is inserted. There are no images and no links. This means that it would not work with a mainly image-based email. All you would get is what little text is in the email. However, it works great with mostly text emails.

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