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Tiny Tip – View Calendar in Terminal

Cal 2018
Terminal Showing Command `cal 2018`

Have you ever needed to see an entire month or an entire year calendar just to look at dates but not with it all cluttered up with your appointments? On macOS there’s a super easy way to do it.

To instantly see the current month, just open the Terminal app (located in Applications → Utilities), and type:

cal

Boom. So fast, so easy, and just the information you need.

This week I had a problem to be solved and knew that Terminal was the fastest way to solve it. I knew I’d written a blog post on October 17th, 2018 and I needed to find the folder where I’d stored the extra information for that blog post. I keep my notes for my blog posts in folders on my Mac by the year/month/date of the Sunday podcast episode. To find the notes for the October 17th, 2018 blog post, I needed to find the date of the following Sunday.

Easy peasy with Terminal. Instead of just typing cal, I needed to tell it the year I wanted to look at.

cal 2018

Boom again – I instantly had the entire 2018 year shown month by month in a beautiful calendar view. and I could see that the following Sunday was 21 October 2018.

Cal 04 1958

Have you ever wondered on what day of the week you were born? I’m pretty sure I was born on a Sunday, but I can verify by just adding the month into the command:

cal 04 1958

This gives me just the month of April in 1958, and sure enough, the 20th was on a Sunday.

Cal  B -11
One Year Starting This Month with `cal B -11`

That’s most of what I do with Terminal to look at calendars, but if in Terminal you type in:

man cal

You’ll see the manual, or “man page” for the command cal. I started reading it and discovered you can view the current month but also the month on either side by typing:

cal -3

Maybe you want to look at the previous 12 months, starting with the current month. For that we need to use the -B flag, to tell it 11 months back.

cal -B 11

Give it a try, get it into your muscle memory and then someday you’ll be needing to see a calendar and remember, “Hey, I’ve got one right here in my Terminal!”

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