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Five hidden tools and tricks for Google Calendar

Kristin Burnham, CIO | April 19, 2011
Learn more about this free calendar's powers--from helpful keyboard shortcuts to updating events via SMS--with these tips.

Many of us would be lost without our calendars—they're where we schedule meetings, pencil in appointments and set project deadlines. And without the proper tools, managing a calendar can become a headache.


While Google's Calendar app has a number of known features that ease the pain of planning—integration with other calendars, mobile accessibility and schedule sharing, for example—there are a handful of other useful tools and tricks you may not know about. Read on to find out how these features can help you cut down on planning time and increase your productivity.


1. Learn keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can be a great time-saver if you know the right moves. Much like Gmail's keyboard shortcuts, Google Calendar has its own set designed to help you fly through scheduling appointments, viewing your meetings and managing your events.

To view the full list of keyboard shortcuts, open your Google Calendar and press Command-/ or check Google's Website. Below are six you're likely to use the most:

  • Create an event: press C
  • Move to view today's schedule: Press T
  • Display your calendar in the Day view: Press 1 or D
  • Display your calendar in the Week view: Press 2 or W
  • Display your calendar in the Month view: Press 3 or M
  • View calendar settings: Press S
Google Calendar shortcuts
Press Command-/ to see a list of shortcuts you can use in Google Calendar.

2. Auto-decline appointments

If you'll be away on vacation or know you have a prior commitment, you'll appreciate the Automatically Declining Events tool in Google Calendar Labs. To turn on this feature, click the gear icon at the top right of your screen and select Labs. Find Automatically Declining Events in the list and click Enable next to it. Then click Save at the bottom of the page.

This feature lets you block off times in your calendar when you know you'll be unavailable. When someone sends you an invite for an event during this time period, Google Calendar will automatically decline it.


3. Easily reschedule events

Scheduling a meeting or event at a time that works for everyone can be a nuisance. One handy feature in Google Calendar labs that aims to make this process easier is the Smart Rescheduler, a tool that helps you reschedule an event by analyzing everyone's schedule, evaluating conflicts, obtaining conference rooms, and proposing the best meeting times.

To use this feature, click the gear icon at the top right of your screen and select Labs. Click Enable next to Smart Recheduler, and then click Save at the bottom of the page. Once Smart Rescheduler is activated, select an event that you want to reschedule, and then click Find a new time. You'll then see a ranked list of possible times for your meeting and a replacement conference room nearby.


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