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Google has worked really hard at making their Google Apps for Business to be something great that all businesses can use. They say that over five million companies are using Google Apps for their business and the company I work at is one of them. In order for Google to compete with the powerhouse that is Microsoft Office Suite they need to have some pretty great things, and they do. I've already done a post about Hangouts which works well as a chat client and awesome for video conferencing. Today I'm going to show off Google Calendar and how to use it to its fullest in a business setting as well as a few tips for making Google Calendar your personal online calendar of choice. A lot of basic features you can find with any calendar program are already present including multiple calendar support, calendar sharing, and permissions. Let's quickly run through how to create a new calendar and share it with your company.
Create a New Calendar
- From the main calendar view, on the left side of the screen it says My calendars, click the arrow to the right of that.
- Click Create new calendar
- Fill in the calendar name
- Fill in a description
- Set time zone and location (This isn't necessary but we have offices all over the world and it helps to distinguish where these meetings pertain to)
- Set sharing to your organization
- Add specific people to be able to make changes and add to the calendar
- Click Create Calendar
Create an Event
- Click Create at the top left of the calendar view.
- Title your event.
- Set the start date and time and end date and time.
- Setting the time zone will ensure that the time is converted to whatever timezone the guests are using. For example, when our China office sets up a meeting they can set the timezone to China and invite me. On my calendar I see it in my local timezone. This helps with not having to do the timezone conversion on your own. Use this!
- Select if this event is all day and if it repeats, if it doesn't just move on.
- Fill in where the event is happening, if you use an address Google Maps can give the guests directions, if you are just doing something that everyone invited knows you can use a common name like Conference Room A.
- If this is going to be a video call click add video call. This creates a link to a Google Hangout that everyone invited can quickly jump into when the meeting begins. The link is both on the calendar event and in any event emails. This takes all of the confusion about joining a conference call out of the equation and just requires guests to click the link and join.
- Select the calendar you want this to be displayed on. A note on this, if you set it to a shared calendar and invite people to the event it will show up on their calendar twice. Once for the group calendar and once for their personal calendar because they were invited to the event. For most meetings I leave this to my personal calendar and invite guests. That way it shows up once on my calendar and on their calendar. This obviously makes the meeting a bit more private. If it is necessary that others should see that the meeting is happening change this to a shared calendar that others can see even if they aren't invited.
- Add an attachment if one is needed.
- Set a color, if you'd like.
- Set reminders, these are for you.
- Set your status, again for you and others to see if you are free or busy.
- At the right side of the event creation you can see an Add Guests | Rooms, etc. Make sure Guests is highlighted
- Type in the email address of the guest you'd like to add.
- Either click their name or hit Add
- The guest list will grow longer below.
- If a guest is just optional you can click on the black portrait next to their name. This will change it to white which indicates they are optional.
- Click Rooms, etc.
- Choose what rooms or equipment you need. By default it only displays what is available at the time you have selected already. If you need the full list then uncheck Show only available and select what you need. This will help you find an available time if you really need the equipment or room.