Can your calendar keep up with your busy schedule? These Google Calendar tips will help you and your team stay organized.
Even if you’re not a daily devotee of Google Calendar, you’ve undoubtedly used the productivity tool at some point to organize your personal and professional life. And with good reason: It’s really useful.
But as useful as Calendar has become to our digital lives, it can sometimes feel like the unloved stepchild in Google’s family of web tools. After all, it’s the search engine that gets all the elaborate Easter eggs, not Calendar.
In fact, Calendar is so underutilized that it has a bunch of tricks you probably didn’t even know about. Check them out below.
Drag and Drop Events on Google Calendar
Need to quickly move a meeting to another day? You can manually edit it, or just drag and drop to the desired day. Similarly, if you click to add a new event, and the date is incorrect, drag and drop it to the right day.
Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts
Stop using your mouse to move around the screen. Instead, use keyboard shortcuts and make things go a lot smoother. Google Calendar has a bunch of them, but here are some good ones to know:
scroll to previous date range:k or p scroll to next date range:j or n jump to today:t create event: c delete event:Backspace or Delete search: / views (day):1 or d, (week):2 or w, (month):3 or m; (4 days):4 or x, (agenda):5 or a
Get a Daily Agenda Email
Everyone could use a personal assistant. That’s not going to happen, but Google Calendar’s daily agenda will email you every morning at 5 a.m. with an overview of your day’s events.
To set this up, click the gear in the top-right corner () and select Settings. On the left-hand menu, click the name of the calendar you want emails about. Under General Notifications is an option for Daily Agenda. In the drop-down, select Email.
Enable and Use Tasks
Need help organizing your events? Calendar includes a useful Tasks function, but it’s not easy to find. On the right-hand side, look for the small blue Tasks icon. Click it and the Tasks menu will slide in from the right. Create a new reminder by clicking “Add a task” and filling out the details. Click the pencil icon to add a description, date, and subtasks. Mark tasks complete as you complete them.
Add a Calendar
Need to keep track of what your friends or coworkers are up to? If they also use Google Calendar, you can add their calendars to yours. On the left-hand side, click the hamburger menu () and look for “Add Calendar.” Enter the email address of someone you know. If you don’t already have access, a pop-up menu will appear; click “Request access” and that person will receive a message asking for permission to see their calendar. Once you get the okay, their events will appear as a layer underneath your “Other calendars” section.
Create a New Calendar
If your main calendar is getting a little crowded, create separate calendars for certain types of events (work, personal, specific projects, etc.) and organize them into shareable sub-calendars nested under My calendars.
To create a new calendar, click the three-dot icon () next to the Add a calendar field and select New calendar from the drop-down menu (also accessible via the Settings menu). Name your calendar, add a description, and set a calendar time zone. Once the calendar has been created, you will be able to edit its settings, manage notifications, and share with others.
Share Your Calendar
If you want to share an existing calendar, navigate to Settings and click your calendar. Scroll down to the Access Permissions section and click “Get shareable link,” which will produce a URL you can copy and share with others.
To share a calendar with someone through email, scroll down to the “Share with specific people” section. Click Add people and enter an email address.
Embed Your Calendar
Google also lets you embed your calendar on a website or blog. Go to the Settings page, click the calendar you want to embed, and select Integrate Calendar. Copy the embed code on the right. To edit the look of the calendar (size, colors, etc.), click the Customize link.
Find a Time That Works for Everyone
Finding a time when everyone is free can be a frustrating experience. Rather than sending an invite and hoping for the best, though, peek at your co-workers’ calendars first.
Click the “+Create” button and select More options. On the next page, select the Find a Time tab. On the right, type in the names of the people you want to invite in the “Add guests” box; Google Calendar supports up to 20 people. Their calendars will appear, each person in a different color. If they have something scheduled, it will say “Busy” for that block of time. Find a time that works for everyone.
Block Off Appointments
If you want to block off some time to allow others to schedule meetings with you, Google Calendar allows you to create Appointment slots.
Create a new event for a time when you’ll be free, then click “Appointment slots” on the right. The icon on your event will change to that of a box. Click through to the event’s page, and there will be a link for “This calendar’s appointment page.” Click it and you will see a shareable web version of your calendar. This is where others can make claims on your time. Either share the URL with others or allow them to click through on Google Calendar.
Add Google Hangout to an Event
If some of your meeting attendees are joining you remotely, patch them in with a Google Hangouts Meet video conference. Create an event and click More options. Under Add conferencing, select Add Hangouts Meet. This will generate a video call URL that appears inside the invite.
If you prefer a different VOIP service, Google Calendar is also compatible with RingCentral, Vonage, Webex, and a host of others. Add them from the Add-ons menu.
Add Holidays and Other Helpful Info
Do you want to know every major and minor holiday, national holidays in other countries, when your favorite sports team plays next, or the phases of the Moon? Calendar supplies a number of stock overlays filled with just this type of helpful information.
To add these details to your calendar, click the gear icon () and select Settings. Under General on the left-hand side, select Add Calendars > Browse calendars of interest and click the calendars you want to import (click the eye icon for a preview). Once subscribed, you’ll find it nested in the Other calendars section.