Click on the + button at the top of iCal in Lion, or press Command+N, and you can add events without having to use anything but plain text. For instance, you can say “Meet with Joe at 1 pm Tuesday.” It will add the event and bring up the event editor so you can add an alert or other information. See the iCal help for details of exactly what iCal understands. If yo uphold down the click over the + button, you get to choose a calendar before entering the event text.
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