Renaming incoming calendar events

I could’ve sworn I’d posted about this previously, but can’t find any posts.

I get calendar invites from people that don’t name things well at all, and don’t bother to pay attention to naming. Examples (no joke):

Fwd: Re: Meeting with Robert

Of course I’M ROBERT, so the first is supremely useless. And I’m involved in Toastmasters in multiple clubs, and in a volunteer leadership category where “Toastmasters” literally describes an entire calendar, not an event. That’s not even taking into account that in a week / month view, I’ll see something like:

Fwd: Re: Meeti

It’s ridiculous.

These events come in via ICS files in email. Calendar won’t let me rename these events. And if I duplicate the event, it will let me edit it - but it won’t let me save without sending a new calendar invite to everybody on the invite list. I could duplicate and then hand-delete every invitee, but that’s very time-consuming.

So I downloaded Fantastical & BusyCal to play with.

BusyCal won’t let me edit it either. It will let me duplicate the event (helpfully clearing out the attendee list, so I don’t have to delete by hand!), and delete the old one - but it prompts me whether or not I want to notify the organizers when I delete the “real” event. The process is very annoying, and obviously detaches my event from the organizer’s, but it’s the best on-Mac solution I have so far.

Fantastical won’t let me edit it either. It will also let me duplicate the event, like BusyCal, but I can’t delete the old event without notifying the organizers that I’m declining the invite. No option given to not notify.

Oddly enough, Google will let me import the ICS and edit the events just fine. But I don’t want to have to upload ICS files to Google every time I want to schedule something, and I don’t use Gmail.

I discovered that I can manually edit the ICS files before import, and name the events whatever the heck I want…but that’s silly to have to do.

I’ve been going down the rabbit hole with Fantastical’s support, and so far their solution is (no joke) to import everything via Google and see if it will then be editable in Fantastical.

I can’t believe that the industry solution here is to hold everybody who gets a calendar invite hostage to horrible naming on the part of the organizer. I mean…can’t we AT LEAST strip out “Fwd:” and “Re:”?

Is there some way to edit these things on the Mac?


The Problem you face, might be a problem for everybody else on the list as well.
So, why do you not just write a short message to the sender of the .ics, with a recommendation for another title?

Because that puts my ability to make sense of my calendar into the “optional extra work” category for somebody else, so it will (a) take up my time, and (b) not be likely to make a difference.

For events that are recurring, yes - I have conversations about them. But most people I run into are bad at naming calendar invites. I need my calendar software to be able to handle this somehow.


I can rename other people’s events in Fantastical on Mac or iOS, and the change syncs almost instantly to my other devices. These invitations are coming from a Google Apps account, though, so Google’s API might be involved.

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Just checked. I can rename my girlfriend’s events on our shared calendar, but I can’t rename anything that’s come through my email via an ICS file.

Hmm, I wish I could duplicate it. I’ve tried manually importing .ics files from a few different sources, importing into a couple different types of calendars. What calendar service/provider are you loading these .ics into? Would you be willing to share one of these problem .ics files?

One of the big Problems of our time from my point of view seems to be, that we are talking a lot about each other, but to seldom with each other!
Yes, it takes you time to send a message to someone, who sends you a worthless named .ics File, and to make a constructive suggestion for a renaming!
But you have to take the same amount of time, to rename the event for yourself, and everybody else is also taking this time, if the Event should get a „Speaking“-Name.
Often people are not aware, that the name is a bad selection, so they will also continue to do so, and you and everybody else has to take again time, to do the renamings each by him/herself!
If the sender gets a suggestion for a better approach one time, you have a good chance, that this will be remembered for the next time, and you save the time you need for the renaming for yourself from that time on!
Also others on the list became aware of the renaming, and gets a chance to rethink his/her own behaviour!
So there is a good chance to end up with a Win-Win-Win-Situation on that!
If you just give it a try, you will probably not loose a minute on that, but be able to get rid of that situation by this sender indefinitely.:wink:

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I put a second appointment alongside the original with my interpretation of the name in these sorts of scenarios.

I sometimes also add notes to be used during the meeting into this second appointment,


I actually agree 100%. The question is whether this is a time that would benefit from more direct communication - and I’ve found that the answer is “no”.

The thing is, most of my calendar meetings are 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 sorts of things - so the multiplier effect is minimal. And the only reason for me to have an event name that begins with “Fwd:” is because somebody didn’t take the 5 seconds to clean it up before they sent it. In my experience, that’s not the sort of person that’s generally going to respond well to me dumping more stuff on their list, especially stuff that’s likely annoying to them like “can we rename a meeting”.

It’s not malice on their side typically as much as it’s just overwhelm.

With that in mind, I try to have the conversations where it would have a multiplier effect, and my experience is that it generally just doesn’t help. One event might get fixed, and then the next event is back to the same problem. Again, not malice - just overwhelm. Too much stuff to worry about.

So all that to say, I’m not against having the conversation - but I still need the ability to fix it in software on my side. :slight_smile:

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I appreciate the idea, and I’ve played with doing that - but that makes the viewing problem even worse though, because each event title is half the size. :slight_smile:

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Your public profile is hidden, so I can’t seem to message you - but if you PM me your email I’d be happy to share one of them. :slight_smile:

What if you moved the original to a different calendar, one which is set to not be displayed? No need to delete it, which avoids the cancelation notice. And then you can edit your personal copy without reservation. If you ever needed to reference the original invite, you can still access it. Just temporarily make the calendar visible and then hide again when you are done.

I agree that editing the original event would be preferred and I am curious to see if a solution is found so I can make use of it too.


Have you considered a script or shortcut which would edit the ics file before importing to your calendar?

The format seems to be a pretty straight forward text file iCalendar - Wikipedia

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I do this too but I hide the original event in Fantastical. Not ideal but that’s the best solution I found.

That’s a consideration, yes.

The thing is, it seems to be tied to the “organizer” field. If that’s not me, it won’t let me edit it.

So my options are to dynamically try to rewrite the subject (much more labor-intensive in the import process), or to just dump the ICS files in a folder and use a folder script or something to remove the organizer and/or replace it with me before import.

The first is objectively better, because it leaves all the other functionality (accept/decline/etc.) in place. The latter is almost certainly easier.

So it’s a conundrum.

Excellent, I agree wholeheartedly and when possible, call rather than email. Calling is often friendlier and less likely to lead to misunderstanding. I will sometime call and ask, “would you mind doing me a small favor?” I’ve never had anyone refuse or get mad—to my knowledge. :slightly_smiling_face: But, even it they get angry, I’ve always had them comply with the request.

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Have you had good luck with future compliance? I.e. you say “Paul, when you send me an event in the future please format the title as 'Paul & Sam - Planning Meeting” - and it’s not an issue the next dozen times?

And perhaps more importantly, if you wind up calling them the next dozen times, does that affect your ability to communicate with them about stuff that objectively matters more than the formatting of a calendar invite?

I can tell you that in a primarily volunteer organization (which is what this calendar is largely for), if you make those calls too often you stop getting replies to anything you send, which leaves you with a big “people don’t answer my emails or phone calls” problem in addition to the problem of calendar titles.

So to avoid burning valuable social capital on this trivial little stuff, I’m perfectly willing to take responsibility for fixing these little things on my side. It’s my calendar, and I’m happy to take the extra few seconds when adding an event to clarify what it is. Unless there are a dozen people being affected every week, that’s the option that makes the most sense to me.

The issue here is that, for some reason, my software is preventing me from being able to take responsibility for my own calendar, to the point where I can’t even strip out “Fwd:” and “Re:” from an event title.

That’s what I need to solve. :slight_smile:

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This reminds me that I used to have a script that would remove the organizer field but it became a multiple step process like you mentioned.

Another option is for you to create the event and invite the other parties. This would allow you complete control.

No, not so much. Most have been pretty good about trying to comply with the request. I will call and then if needed, I may send a follow-up email if he or she “forgot” about the agreed to change. IF there is still an issue, I’ll just drop it. Some hills are not worth dying on. :slightly_smiling_face: I’m dealing mostly with professionals not volunteers so that may make a big difference.

Yeah, it’s typically not a situation where I’m the appropriate person to create the event. Usually it’s meetings set by other people that I’m expected / asked to attend.