For busy people (and aren't we all?), work and personal calendars dictate the day, from meetings to appointments, from project deadlines and the kids' soccer games. Without the proper tools, managing a calendar--and the workweek--can be a headache.
Google Calendar has a number of basic features that help you make it through the week: calendar integration, mobile accessibility and sharing, for example. But if you're looking to learn a bit more about what Google Calendar can offer you, we have you covered.
Here are five advanced Google Calendar tips and tricks that will help you view important events easier, schedule events quicker, view your calendar offline and more.
1. How to Hide Morning and Night
If you generally don't have anything scheduled at 3 a.m. (except for sleep, hopefully), this Google Calendar Lab could be useful. The "Hide morning and night" Lab lets you customize your calendar so you see only events within the time range of your choice, for example between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. instead of the 24-hour view.
To enable this lab, click the gear icon in your Calendar view, then select "Labs." Find the "Hide morning and night" lab, click "Enable" next to it, then "Save." On your main Calendar view, you'll notice a gray bar that appears in the column with the hours of the day.
To adjust the time range, click and drag the bar at the top to the desired start time, and move the bar at the bottom to the desired end time. You can change the range or see the default calendar grid by expanding the collapsed time range. Do this by clicking on the light gray box at the top or bottom of your calendar grid.
2. How to Access Google Calendar Offline
If you're traveling and don't have access to an Internet connection, you can still access your calendar. "Offline Calendar for Chrome 10+" (beta) uses HTML5 and synch capabilities so you can view your calendars and RSVP to existing event invitations while you're offline. Chrome stores your data on your profile while you're offline, then syncs it when you're back online.
To enable Offline, you must download and use the Google Chrome browser. In your browser, click the gear icon and choose "Offline" from the drop-down menu. You'll be prompted to install the Google Calendar web application from the Chrome Web Store. Click "Install from Web Store."
Once the installation is complete, a new Chrome tab will open and the Google Calendar web app icon will appear. Click it to go to Google Calendar. Then, again, click the gear icon. Next to "Offline," you should see a green icon with a checkmark. This indicates that your calendar is synched and ready to use offline. If your calendar is still syncing, you'll see a green spinning icon until it's completed.
3. How to Find a Time That Works for Everyone
Scheduling meetings can be tedious when everyone is as busy as you. One Google Calendar feature does all the work for you, though. The "Suggested Times" feature automatically recommends an event time that's convenient for all of your guests.
After you add attendees to a meeting, a "Suggested times" link will appear under the guests list.
Click the link to open a pop-up that displays the times when guests are available. Then, find a time that works and click to select it. The calendar event page will automatically update to reflect your chosen time.
If there isn't a time when all of your guests are available, the popup will display the error message, "No free times for all participants were found through [day and time range you selected]. Choose a different start time to search again".
Also, if you don't have permission to view someone's calendar, the "Suggested times" feature will only show your calendar availability. It won't show you the other person's availability.
4. How to Dim Insignificant Events
If you schedule everything--from your morning jog to blocking off time to catch up on the day's news--one Google Calendar can help make the important stuff pop.
The "Event dimming" feature lets you do just that: Dim events that have already passed and dim future recurring events. Here's how to enable it:
Click the gear icon and choose "Settings." Under the "General" tab, scroll down to the "Event dimming" section, then select the options you'd like to apply, or deselect ones you don't want.
5. How to Receive a Daily Agenda
Want to see your day at a glance before it starts? Google Calendar gives you the option to receive an emailed daily agenda detailing all your appointments and meetings. Generally, the email is sent to you around 5 a.m. local time.
To receive a daily agenda, click the drop-down menu next to the appropriate calendar and select "Notifications." Select the Email check box next to "Daily agenda" in the section called "Choose how you would like to be notified." Then, click "Save."
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org