Thank you for your suggestion Tgara, but this is not the issue. I don't want to add a default alert to every new event (the preference in "Add a default alert to all new timed events and invitations", as you suggest). Rather, I want to change the default values of the "alert" option in the "Info" window associated to the events -- the values that you are proposed by default when you want to add an alert to a single event.
I can't figure out how to change this either, and it is very annoying to have 2 or 3 alerts defaulted to on for every calendar event I make... I don't think iCal has the functionality to change this, but I completely support any enahancement requests you might make to add such basic functionality!
The settings for alarms default to 15 mins before for timed events and at 8AM on the day for all day events.
If you set another trigger time for one of the alarms the additional default alarm is stored in the User's com.apple.iCal.plist file under the key PersistentMenu-lastUsedAlarms
If you want to remove all the customised alarm times you have created then quit iCal, open Terminal paste the single line below into the front terminal window and press Return.
defaults delete com.apple.ical PersistentMenu-lastUsedAlarms
Alternatively if you are you are happy manually editing the plist you'll find it there. Possibly not for the faint of heart.
John: Thank you, this is exactly what I wanted. I was indeed inspecting the plist with bbedit, but what I did not realize is that the file has some parts which are binary, so I could not see the PersistentMenu-lastUsedAlarms part by using a text editor. I opened it with Xcode and I did find what you were saying, and erased all the junk that was in there. In fact, the issue I had was also described here:
For some reason, it looks like after some upgrade the program adds were some positive values in the plist and I was stuck with default alarms that were set *after* the events I wanted to set an alarm for.
I did what you suggested, then added by hand new values to the PersistentMenu part of the plist, and I am now happy.
For everybody's information, to know what I did, it is enough to know to add Dictionary items to the PersistentMenu-lastUsedAlarms, with 3 fields:
-- AlarmTypeKey (this determines if you want a sound, or else an email, or else the other default alarm type keys. For example, sending an email is a Number, value 4; having a message with sound is a Number, value 3)
-- AlarmDurationKey: This is a Number, in seconds, that determines when you want your alarm to trigger. E.g: -172800 will be two days before. Must be negative for "before", of course)
-- AlarmParameterKey: This is a String, where you store the value that you want the alarm to have. For example, if you want an email to be sent, the AlarmTypeKey will be 4, as explained above, and this field will contain your email address. Instead, if you want the alarm to be a sound, the AlarmTypeKey will be 3 and this field will have the name of the sound you want (e.g., Basso).
That's it. Thanks a lot for the solution!
Are you running Mountain Lion? I understand that the iCal plist file no longer exists or, if it does, it's in another location.
When I ran the "defaults delete" on my MBP running Lion, it worked just fine and solved one of my problems to boot.
If not on Mountain Lion, substitute "read" for "delete" and see if you get something other than an error message. However, I don't think that "read" will work given the error message you saw.
Search the iCal forum for "iCal plist" or similar.
How to remove alarms in iCal which are automatically set upon creating an event in the default calendar? The annoyance is that these are not the defaults you would choose.
My experience was with OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
These alarms are automatically included in a "New Event" in the default calendar. The "Default Calendar" is set in iCal preferences under the General menu.
Select the "Alarms" tab in the iCal preferences. If you wish no automatic alarms, select "None" for all three options. The other options are self explanatory.
The only difficulty in solving the "default alarms" problem is finding and understanding this window. The Default Calendar should be displayed on the "Alarms" tab to avoid confusion. Avoid plists!