How to Create Events in OSX Calendar Using Natural Langauge and Voice

The great calendar app Fantastical lets users create events by typing in natural language, but the most recent version of the Calendar app in Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will do the same thing without the need of a paid add-on app. We’ll show you how to create them and how to do it using both the keyboard and your voice.

What is natural language?

Most calendar apps require the user to populate the pertinent data manually, like the event title, the time, date and location, by clicking a bunch of check boxes and typing in numerous spots in the event editor. The Calendar app will let users do create events all from the Event title box using natural language.

To do it the old way, create an event by clicking the plus icon in the upper left or by using the New Event menu item from the app’s File menu. Type the title and then double click it to edit and enter the other data.

Calendar Events toolbar

All of the above steps aren’t necessary any more thanks to natural language.

Natural language lets users type in events by entering the data just as a person would tell their friend when and where an event will take place. For example, if a person wants to go fishing at noon over at Wilson’s Pond, they can enter the data by typing, “Go Fishing at Wilson’s Pond today at noon.” The Calendar app will create a new event with the entered information as the title. The new event will put “Wilson’s Pond” in the the location field. It will create the event for Noon today. If the event is March 30, then type “on March 30 at noon” instead of “today at noon.”

How to Create a New Event in Calendar

Using natural language eliminates some of the above steps.

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To make a new event, Apple offers three easy ways. First, the user can use the New Event menu item in the File menu. Then type the event information in natural language.

Calendar Events

Second, the user can click on the plus icon in the toolbar of the Calendar app. A box will pop up ready to receive the natural language appointment.

The simplest way to do this is to double click in the Calendar app the day the event should get scheduled. Double click a day in the month or an hour in the Week or Day view. Type the natural language event information and it populates the new event automatically.

Entering Using Voice

Use the built-in voice recognition in Mountain Lion for a nice additional trick.

settings-dictation

Open the Settings app in OS X and click on the Dictation & Speech item. Click on the Dictation tab at the top. Select the right audio input hardware and be sure to turn Dictation on. Then choose the keyboard shortcut to start dictation. OS X defaults to the Fn key.

dictation settings

Now, instead of typing the natural language event, press the Fn key twice (or whatever the shortcut is set to above) and start speaking.

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