Many Google users rely on Google Calendar for everyday scheduling, but haven’t unlocked its full potential. As is the case with most Google productivity tools, your experience is only limited by your settings and the right research. Familiarize yourself with these 10 Google Calendar tricks and insights — most of which require little effort — and you’ll have a streamlined calendaring experience in minutes.
- Add to-dos to your events using Reminders. For some of us, having something to do and needing a reminder to actually do it go hand in hand. Android and iOS users can now attach Reminders to the corresponding date and time. (Note: Reminders have not yet made it to the web.) Reminders also sync across all apps and automatically pull relevant information, like a contact’s phone number or the location of your next meeting.
Bonus: Reminders won’t disappear from view (as events do) unless they’ve been checked off. Instead, they’ll appear at the top of your calendar the next day (until marked as complete).
- Customize the time range shown. There are a lot of incredible things available to you once you turn on Labs in Google Calendar — a customizable time range being one of them. “Hide morning and night” allows you to set the time range you’d like to see on your calendar (7am to 7pm, for instance), so you don’t have to see blank middle-of-the-night hours if you don’t want to.
- GoToMeeting Chrome extension. With the GoToMeeting for Google Hangouts Chrome extension, you can schedule GoToMeeting sessions from your Google Calendar. All you have to do is install the extension, fill out an invite as usual, and click “Add” above the meeting description.
- Get a daily agenda emailed to you… at 5am. This isn’t the most sophisticated personal assistant in the world, but it gets the job done. In your Calendar settings, simply click the “Calendars” tab, and then “Edit notifications.” There, you’ll see the option to get a daily agenda emailed to you. Check the box and you’ll begin receiving an email with the day’s events every morning at 5am. (No, you can’t adjust the time.)
- View your Calendar offline. There are times when you want to see a rundown of your schedule but don’t have internet access. Fortunately for Chrome users, you can turn on offline access (while you’re online) and view your calendar without having to be connected. (Note: Chrome only, not for Android or iOS.)
- “Find a time” to meet that works for everyone. Rather than guessing when your coworker may be available for a one-on-one or wasting time checking multiple calendars for everyone’s availability to meet, you can use the “Find a time” tab when creating an invite (it’s the dimmer tab beside the default “Event details” tab) to seamlessly find a meeting time that works for everyone. (Note: This only works on the web, and your invitees must have already shared their calendars with you.)
- Automatically RSVP no when you’re on PTO. Even if you’re not on PTO (say you’ve got a daylong meeting), a feature in Labs enables you to automatically decline event invitations during a time when you’re busy.
- Share your personal and work Google Calendars so you can see everything. You can share your calendar with anyone you choose to, so long as they have an email address. That includes yourself; sharing your personal calendar with your work calendar allows you to see your entire schedule at a glance without toggling between Google accounts.
- View “Interesting Calendars.” It’s nice to know when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall each year, but “Interesting Calendars” within Google Calendar can also help you determine when international colleagues have holidays and may be out of the office. Another cool thing: you can display major sports teams’ schedules on your calendar — everything from cricket to rugby and beyond.
- Create an event… without even being in Calendar. While this isn’t technically a Google Calendar trick, it’s a timesaver worth mentioning. Google the phrase “make an appointment to” followed by the details and time of your would-be event (e.g., “Make an appointment to buy cake this afternoon at 5pm,” or even more specifically, “Make an appointment to buy cake for an hour at 5pm tonight”) and voilà — Google will prompt you to add the event to your Google Calendar.
Learn more about the wonders of Google for Work and Education — and how Google Apps can lead to a more mobile, collaborative, and engaged workforce — from our ebook, Appirio’s Guide to Going Google.