Tips for Using Google Calendar

It has been a full academic year since we have opted-in to Google Apps for Education! Although we are all now pretty familiar with our Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive, and have all probably synced these apps with our mail clients, tablets and mobile devices, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that will make scheduling and planning using Google Calendar all that more comfortable!

  1. Using one-liners to enter events
    To save time and effort, you can now just enter all the event information into that single line when you click to create an event (the event bubble). Google will understand common terms and translate them into your calendar.  All you will need to specify is where the event is, what the event is and add any guest’s email. You can even create recurring events using this method!


    • Everyday eating soup at my desk
    • Every 2nd Friday meeting SpongeBob for lunch at the Crabby Patty
    • Every Monday meeting with at the LTO

    Example of using one-liners to enter events

    1. Entering the event into the event bubble
    2. This is what the event looks like in the event form (after it is created)
    3. How the event appears in my calendar

  2. Using Labs
    Labs are like little features that appear in your Google Calendar. To access them, click the Gears on the top left of the page and select Labs. From there you can browse through enabling and disabling the labs as you please then click Save to have them appear in Google Calendar. Here are some that I think can come in handy:

    • Event attachments – Adding an attachment such as a meeting agenda to your event requests
    • Jump to date – Quickly viewing a date in the past or future, as noted by the maker of the lab, it will not actually transport you to that date in space and time—just in Google Calendar ☹
    • World Clock – Keeping track of multiple time zones

      You can also view different time zones through the Setting Menu, under the Time Zone Category. It will display the times along the left side of the calendar in week or day view. However, the lab provides you with a much more compressed view.

      Calendar setting page, adding more time zone views.

      Calendar setting page, adding more time zone views (not using the lab).

    • Free or Busy – Are my colleagues free right now? This lab answers that!

      You can also view colleagues availability through the Other Calendars section (right under My Calendars). Add your coworker’s calendar by email and see their free/busy schedule. When done you can hide the calendar.  However, the lab allows you to check your coworker’s availability right at the moment.

  3. Customize calendar navigation
    So you may think that Google only allows you to display your calendar by Day, Week, Month, 5 days or Agenda, but that is not true; you can view it anyway you like!
    For a quick view of your desired time frame, click on the mini calendar to the left and highlight that time frame.
    For a more permanent (default) view, click on the Gears and select Settings. On the Settings page, scroll down to the Default View and the Custom View categories. Change the Default View to Custom View and in the Custom View pick the time frame you want. (see image below if that made no sense!)

    Calendar Setting page, changing the default time frame view.

    Calendar Setting page, changing the default time frame view.

  4. Appointment Slots
    It was really touch-and-go with Appointment slots, first Google killed the feature and then it brought it back only for Google Apps for Business, Education and Government users. It’s pretty great that they decided on keeping it, it is perfect for something like scheduling office hours!
    Creating appointment slots is as easy as creating an event! Click on the time that you want your appointments to be, and at the top of that event bubble click Appointment Slots. These appointment slots can be recurring and you can even invite guests to these times.
    In the events form page (after you click Edit Details in the event bubble), you will find a URL for the appointment page. This will be what your students use to access your appointment slots. As the appointments are filled up, you will receive an email with the details. Appointments can even be cancelled and they will automatically become available to future visitors to your appointment page.

    Appointment Slots instructions

    1. Creating the appointment slot using the event bubble.
    2. Editing the appointment slot and where you can find the appointment slot page URL.
    3. What the appointment slot page will look like when you send it out.

    You will find more detailed instructions here:

  5. Google Tasks
    This is not really a Google Calendar tip, but I often use Tasks in combination with the calendar. You can assign tasks due dates and check them off as you go. (It will appear as a to-do list on the right side of you Google Calendar and can be synced with mobile devices or email clients). In addition, you can also print your task list!

For tutorials on how to use Google Calendar, please click here

For a FAQ on Google Calendar put together by CCS, please click here

And lastly for hands on training, please click here

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One Response to Tips for Using Google Calendar

  1. Gaurav Gupta says:

    Here’s another tip – ClipPod for Google Calendar. We’ve been using it to chat and share files inside our calendars and it’s worked out quite well so far.

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