Calendars and scheduling are an unfortunate part of modern life. Thankfully, Google has made the complex much more simple with its online calendar tool. You can keep your own personal schedule and add an infinite number of other “calendars” that you can then color code to keep track of a busy life.

Sharing is much easier with Google Calendar too, both giving and receiving. I’ve got calendars shared with other individuals, my entire family, and with groups like my summer kickball team. Chances are, these days, people use Google for at least email; if they’ve got that, sharing a calendar with them is a breeze.

If you have a Google account, you have access to Google Calendar. You just need to go to calendar.google.com or open the Calendar app on your Android phone in order to use it. 

The Google Calendar Web Interface

Google Calendar’s interface is everything you’d expect from Google. It is simple, with Google’s characteristic pastel blues and yellows, but it hides a lot of powerful features.

Quickly jump to different sections of your calendar by clicking on a date. On the upper right corner, there are tabs to switch between day, week, month, the next four days, and agenda views. The main area shows the current view.

The top of the screen has links to other Google services you’ve registered for, so you could schedule an event and check the related spreadsheet in Google Drive or fire off a quick email from Gmail.

The left side of the screen lets you manage shared calendars and contacts, and the top of the screen offers a Google search of your calendars, so you can quickly find events by keyword search. 

Adding Events

 

To add an event, you just need to click on a day in month view or an hour in day or week views.

A dialog box points to the day or time and lets you quickly schedule the event. Or you can click on the more details link and add more details. You can also add events from text links on the left.

You can also import a whole calendar full of events at once from your Outlook, iCal, or Yahoo! calendar.

Google Calendar doesn’t sync directly with software like Outlook or iCal, so you’ll have to keep importing events if you use both.

 

Multiple Calendars

Rather than making categories for events, you can make multiple calendars. Each calendar is accessible within the common interface, but each one can have different management settings. This way you could make a calendar for work, a calendar for home and a calendar for your local bridge club without these worlds colliding.

Events from all your visible calendars will show in the main calendar view, use colour codes to avoid confusion.

 

Sharing Calendars 

 

This is where Google Calendar really shines. Google Calendar allows you to invite other Google users to share a calendar with you.  If you are collaborating with a team of people, this tool is invaluable.  This way, all members of a team know when each member is busy.  You can also input the location of a meeting so that everyone knows where to go.

Google Calendar also allows you to set permission levels on each individual calendar to control the amount of power you grant to other people.  You can allow them to have full access to create and change event details on that specific calendar or set it up so they can only view an event but not edit it.

You can make calendars completely public. This would work well for organizations or education institutions. Anyone can add a public calendar to their calendar and view all the dates on it.

You can share calendars with specific individuals, such as friends, family, or coworkers. This is easiest if you use Gmail because Gmail auto-completes the email address of contacts as you type it.

You can choose to share only times when you’re busy, share read-only access to event details, share the ability to edit events on your calendar or share the ability to manage your calendar and invite others.

This means your boss may get to see your work calendar, but not your personal calendar. Or perhaps the cycling club members could see and edit cycling dates, and they could tell when you were busy on your personal calendar without seeing any details.

 

 

Reminders

Google Calendar can send you reminders of events. When you schedule events, you can send an email to the attendees to invite them to attend. The email contains the event in .ics format, so they can import the details into iCal, Outlook, or other calendar tools.

Integration With Other Services

Gmail messages detect events in messages and offer to schedule those events on Google Calendar.

You can publish public calendars to your Web site, so that even people without Google Calendar can read your events. Google Calendar is also available as part of GSuite.

 

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