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iCal is another component of Lion's information hub, an application for keeping track of the events in your and others' lives, and here are the basics of how it works. So we will launch iCal. With Lion, Apple has changed iCal's interface to resemble a large desk calendar. Hopefully, you'll like this look, because there's no way to turn it off. And like it or not, the interface is pretty straightforward. If you click on the Calendar's button, by default you see Home, Calendar, and Work calendars.
If you uncheck a calendar, any events associated with the calendar will disappear. So for example, I'll uncheck Work and my work events disappear. Enable it again and they reappear. Also different from previous versions of iCal is that you can't show a permanent list of your calendars. You can only view this window and that disappears when you select something in your calendar. If you have chosen to sync calendars from say MobileMe or Gmail to iCal, they will appear here as well.
So here's Calendar and here's my Gmail calendar. If I want to, I can hide that, so that doesn't appear. I want to click Show and it does. The Day, Week, Month and Year buttons show you that view. Here is Day calendar, Week, let's go to a different week, so we will change to the following week, the week after, and the week after that. You can see also that you can have overlapping events. So for example, I have a board meeting. This is a work event. I am also going to have lunch with Sally, so I am going to cut this meeting short, so that I can go off and have lunch with Sally.
Month calendar, which is the default, and you can also view events by year. I'll go back to Month view. Whichever view you are in, there's always going to be a Today button. I can advance through the calendar and if I want to go back to Today, all I have to do is click Today and I'm back to Today. To quickly add an event, all you have to do is click the plus button. This allows you to enter in natural language events. So for example if I want to have lunch this Friday with Nick, I would say lunch Friday with Nick and press Return, and sure enough the event appears on the next Friday.
And notice that it's at 12 noon. So if I say lunch, it's going to enter noon. If I were to enter dinner, it would have shown up at 8 o'clock. Now if you want to, you can get more specific by entering something like meet Nick October 20th and it will enter that event on that day. Click Done. You can also enter an event by simply double-clicking on a date. So here's my event. Now at this point I am going to want to edit this event, so I select it and press Command+E and now I can edit that event.
You can edit many things inside an event. So for example, if I wanted to have lunch all day with Ian, I can make that an all-day event. Of course, I don't want to do that. You can choose the time that this is going to happen. So we'll have that happen at 12:00 pm. It's not going to be that long a lunch, so we will make that go until 1:00 pm. You can have this repeat. So if I want to have lunch with Ian say once a month, I'll do that. That becomes a repeating event, and so once a month we will see that event appear on the calendar.
This will never end, so we can choose to do that, or if I am only going to have lunch with Ian every month say for the rest of this year, maybe we will have that repeat another 16 times. I can choose which calendar I want that to appear on. This is going to be a work-related event, so I will change that to Work. I can also set an alert. This is an alarm and it's a good idea. I routinely choose Message with Sound. When I do that the timer shows that it will remind me by default 15 minutes beforehand.
I sometimes need a little bit more warning than that, so I set this to hours before and we will change this to 2 hours. You can set multiple alarms. In case I'm very forgetful, Message with Sound again, I am going to have this happen 2 days before. So I'll get an alert 2 days before and I will also get an alert 2 hours before. I can continue to add more if I want to. If I click Add Invitees, I can choose other people to join my event and it ties into Address Book so it knows who's in my Address Book, and I can easily add them.
So I am going to add Christian Fletcher because he is a good guy and he doesn't eat too much. If I wanted to I could add an attachment. I can also add a URL, say the restaurant's URL, and I can add a note. Ian hates fish. Once I have added an invitee I can click Send and then an e-mail message will be sent to Christian Fletcher saying don't forget that we have a launch at such and such a time. It sends him a little vCal file, which is a calendar file, which will then go into his copy of iCal or some other calendar program.
And I will close that out. I don't really want to send that. iCal also supports to do items, which Apple calls Reminders, things like take out the trash or polish the dog for example. So go to create new reminder and I want to remember to practice the piano. If you like you can double-click on that and then choose your priority. It's really important that I practice the piano. Once I have actually practiced the piano, all I have to do is place a checkmark in that box and that indicates that I've completed that event.
Now let's look at a couple of preferences. You can choose a default calendar. In this case it might be my Home calendar. You can show a birthdays calendar. So anybody in your Address Book that has a birthday listed, their birthday and name will appear in the calendar. Accounts is important. Let's say I have set up a Gmail account or a MobileMe account click the Delegation tab and you'll see any calendars that you have that are part of these accounts. Only when you check this box next to show will you see these events in your calendar.
So if I wanted to show my Soccer Schedule for my Gmail account I would also have to check that and then those events will be synced to iCal. And that's iCal in a nutshell. By itself, it's a capable calendar program. When used in league with an iOS device and an online service such as MobileMe or iCloud, it becomes essential component for organizing the events in your life.
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