26 tricks to help you tame Google calendar

Google's free online calendar makes it easy to track your schedule from anywhere, but many of its best features lurk beneath the surface. Here's how to handle Gcal like a pro.

Desktop calendar applications are great if you're always at your desk or if you're diligent about syncing with your PDA or phone. But if you like to travel light, it may be time for you to switch to a calendar that you can access from any Internet terminal. Google's free Google Calendar is one of the most robust online calendars available. And I have the goods on how to get the most from Gcal's advanced features.

Getting started with Google Calendar is easy. If you already have a Google account (for Gmail, say), you don't even need to sign up. Just click Calendar at the top of the Gmail screen, or surf to google.com/calendar and log in. If you don't have an account yet, click Sign up for Gmail on the home page, enter your name, create a log-in name, and choose a password and security question.

Choose Your Views

Agenda view: Once you're logged into Google Calendar, you can quickly switch between day, week, month, and other views by clicking the tabs along the top of the calendar. The Agenda view conveniently displays your appointments in chronological order, starting with the present date, without the screen clutter of a day, week, or month view.

Custom view: The tab marked 'Next 4 Days' may seem arbitrary, but it's a gem of a feature. You can customise the tab to display your preferred time period, from two days to four weeks. Click Settings in the upper right corner of the screen (or press s), and then scroll down to 'Custom view' on the General tab. Choose an option from the drop-down list and click Save.

145844-gcal01

Quick selection: A cool way to display a relevant stretch of days is to click and swipe over the minicalendar on the left, selecting just the days you want; the main display reflects your selection.

Hotkey navigation: It's easy to use the keyboard to navigate through your calendar. Just press d, w, m, x, or a to jump to day, week, month, custom, or agenda views, respectively. Press n (for "next") or p (for "previous") to go forward or backward, respectively. (Or press the j and k keys to accomplish the same things.) Press t to jump to today's date.

Make Dates With Destiny

Quick additions: Google Calendar provides a couple of easy ways to add items: One way is to click Quick Add in the upper left area of the calendar page (or press q) and start typing. Like a real person, Google Calendar assumes that words such as "Monday" and "Wednesday" refer to days of the current week; and in keeping with this understanding it adds the item to the appropriate day.

Click and go: A second approach is to click a day or time (depending on your view) in the main calendar and to start typing in the box that opens. Google Calendar recognises most expressions of time (7:00 PM, 7p, and so on), and it schedules the associated calendar events accordingly.

Drag and drop: Need to reschedule? You can easily change dates and times by dragging and dropping an appointment. If a whole month is visible, dragging changes only the day. But if a day or week schedule is displayed, you can drop on any time to change the time, too.

145844-gcal02

View and edit: Double-click any event to see all of its associated details. You can change some details on this page; but for major modifications, you must click the event and choose edit event details.

Easy erase: Need to cancel an event? Click an item once and click Delete to zap it. Then click Delete (or press the spacebar) to confirm the deletion.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?