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10 Google Calendar Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Quick Add Events Through Your Browser: There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first is directly through your Google browser, where you can actually type in an appointment or event you have for a certain day and time. Simply type in either “make an appointment” or “create event”, then specify when it is and when you would like to have it (i.e. “Make an appointment for the vet next Tuesday at 1 pm). The Google browser will then prompt you with a confirmation option after you place your request into the search bar. This will add the appointment or event to your calendar once selected.
  2. Quick Add Events in Calendar: The second way to do this is through your calendar app in Google Drive. Here you can quick-add an event by selecting the down arrow next to the “create” button in the top left, and type in a similarly worded request (i.e. “Dentist appointment at 11 am tomorrow”). If it is formatted properly it will be promptly added to your schedule in Google Calendar.


  3. Use signup appointment slots (only available on Google accounts): This option will allow you set up a block of time within your calendar where people can reserve time slots and set up appointments with you. To do this, start by dragging open a span of time within your day schedule in Calendar. When entering the information for your selected block of time, you will be able to select either ‘Event’ or ‘Appointment Slots’. Ensure ‘Appointment Slots’ is selected. From here you can either set up the block of time as a single appointment or allow people to reserve a set segment of time within the block. These options are available upon selecting and editing the time slot. After setting this up you can invite people from your contacts to attend your event by going into ‘Edit’ and adding in your desired guests/clients. They will then be notified and be able to reserve a segment of time.


  4. Get your agenda emailed every day: If you’d like to receive an email every morning presenting you with your agenda for the day, this feature is easy to enable. Locate the ‘settings’ button within your calendar (top right) and click through the pages as follows: settings > calendars (at top of page) > edit notifications (under notifications) – on this page, scroll to the very bottom and check the unchecked box titled ‘agenda’ under the ‘email’ column. This will enable the daily agenda feature, which will allow Google Calendar to send a daily schedule to your Gmail every morning at 5 am.

  5. Use a Task List: With this feature, you are able to utilize a simple task list that can be displayed alongside your calendar. To enable, select ‘My Calendars’ on the far left of the screen and go down to ‘Tasks’ (this may be titled as ‘Reminders’ but can easily be changed by clicking on the small arrow next to ‘Reminders’ and selecting ‘switch to tasks’ on the following menu). Upon selecting the ‘Tasks’ option, a task column will appear on the far right of your calendar where you can create and edit current tasks. You can specify when they are to be completed by, and check them off once they are finished. Your tasks will also be linked to the day on which you set your deadline.
  6. Enable More features in Labs: To access additional features in your Google Calendar, select your settings button in the top right corner of the screen, then go down to ‘Labs’. Here you’ll find a list of utilities and options that aren’t available within the default layout of Google Calendar. Here you can allow yourself to set a picture as a background image, change the entire look and layout of Calendar, and enable other alterations.
    Once you select something from ‘Labs’, you may need to also enable in under the ‘Settings’ tab. It should be listed next to a checkbox on the Settings page, where you can simply select the checkbox, then save your changes to enable the new feature.
  7. Share Your Calendar With Others (With or Without a Google account): To share a calendar with one or more people who also have Google accounts, go to ‘My Calendars’ and select the down arrow on the calendar you want to share.  On the list of tabs that come up, a ‘Share Calendar’ option will be available. After clicking this option, you will be taken to a page where you can simply type in the Email of the person you wish to share with and alter their permission settings on the same page.

    If you need to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Go to the top of the resulting ‘Share Calendar’ page, and select ‘Calendar Details’. On this next page, go down to where it says ‘Calendar Address’ where you’ll be able to click on one of two buttons for either ‘iCal’ or ‘HTML’ format. You’ll then be given a link that you copy and send to someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Upon using the link, the recipient will be able to view, but not edit your Google Calendar.
  8. Add a Friend’s Calendar or Other Interesting Calendars: In order to add a friend’s or acquaintance’s calendar, go to ‘Other Calendars’ at the far left of the calendar page. Click the down arrow on this feature and you will be presented with various tabs, one of which says ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’. You can then enter your friend’s Email, and a request will be sent to them. Once this is approved, their calendar will be visible within your own.

    To add other interesting calendars to your own, such as specific holidays, phases of the moon, sports schedules, etc., select ‘Browse Other Interesting Calendars’ instead of ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’ on the list of tabs provided from ‘Other Calendars’. This will bring you to an extensive list of other specific calendars which you can incorporate into your own.
  9. Create All-Day Events: If you’d prefer to have an all-day event instead of selecting a given block of time on a certain day, you can do it by clicking on the space directly below the listed day of the week. After doing so you can title the event and treat it like any other created event in Calendar without it being time-specific.

    If you’d like to have a multiple-day event which isn’t time-specific, simply drag a row across those same top boxes of all the days which you want to have your event.
  10. Compare Calendars to Add Events: This feature goes along with the one that allows you to add a friend’s calendar to your own calendar. If you’re hoping to coordinate an event with someone you know, and want to make sure that they’ll be available during that time, you can access their calendar while adding an event to your schedule. Additionally, this will add the same event to their schedule so they’ll know when to attend.

    To set this up, you’ll first need to have added a friend’s calendar to your own (this process is explained in a previous tip). Then, when creating an event, go to ‘Edit’. On the ‘Edit’ page, the first screen you’ll see will be the ‘Event Details’ tab which will be titled at the top of the screen. You’ll want to select the tab next to it which will be titled ‘Find a Time’. Here you can add guests who have shared their personal calendars with you, and you can compare schedules side-by-side. Then, you can simply select a time block in which you’re both available and create a new event.

 

 

The New Google Forms – Detailed Tutorial

Google Forms is an online form builder that lets you create versatile questionnaires, quizzes, and forms quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a custom Google Form from scratch
  • How to preview and test your forms
  • How to add images or videos to your forms
  • How to view and use the responses to your forms

Opening a new form

First, go into your Google Drive and click on the red “New” button at the top-left of the window, then click “More”, and then click on “Google Forms”. This will open a window with a new Google Form labeled “Untitled Form” at the top.

Click New in the top left corner, then More, then Google Forms

There’s another way you can open a new Google Form that may feel more comfortable or convenient. Go to your Google Drive Window, then click on the square icon in the top right corner that is made out of small black squares. Clicking on this icon will open a list of Google apps.

Click square icon at the top left side of the Drive screen to pull up the Apps menu, or click more to find Forms

You should see a purple icon named “Forms.” If the icon doesn’t show up at first, scroll down and click on “More” at the bottom of the apps list.

When you find the purple “Forms” icon, click on it and you will get a message that says “Do you want to add this as a shortcut?” Select “Yes” to add the Forms icon on your main apps window, so it will be easy to find next time. You can also click, hold, and drag to arrange each icon in the shortcuts menu and place them in the order you like.

When you enter Google Forms from the app shortcut panel, it will take you to the “Template” section of Forms and you should see a template named “Blank” on the right side of the Template window. Click on the “Blank” template, and you will now have a new form just like the one you got in the first example where you clicked “New”, then “More”, then “Google Forms”.

When you click the purple Forms icon it will open the Forms Template window, select Blank form

Give your form a name by clicking “Untitled Form” in the top left corner and adding your title. I always do this right away to help keep track of it.

Click on the top left of the form to write a new name for the form, then hit Enter to save

Customizing Your Form

If you don’t like the default colors on your form’s header bar and background, go up to the top-right of your screen and click on the palette icon. This lets you change the color scheme of your Form. You can also click on the icon in the bottom right corner of the color options and select from a list of photos and designs, including some animated options. These look nicer than plain colors and work great if you’re using Forms to make a birthday party invitation or a brunch menu.

Click the palette icon at top of page to open a color selector or click bottom right of color selector to open a menu of images

You can also upload your own photos to make each form a unique work of art. Click on the “Upload Photo” at the bottom of the images menu, then follow the instructions for uploading. Your photo needs to be at least 800 pixels wide to fit into the header bar on the form, and after you load the image you’ll see a crop window to choose what part of the image you want to show.

Click Upload Photo and follow prompts to add your own images

Creating Questions

The form starts with a default multiple choice question that you can easily delete or edit. Click on the trash can icon at the bottom of the question to get rid of it.

The title of your form will be the same as the file title you entered in the top-left corner earlier, but you can change it and add a description to explain what your form is about.

Type a preferred title or name at the top of the form

Now it’s time to add some questions. On the right side of your form you’ll see a vertical toolbar. At the top of the toolbar is a “+” inside a circle. Click on it and a new question will appear on your form. This question will automatically be multiple choice, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown titled “Multiple Choice” and choosing a different style of question.

Click on the plus sign to add a question to your Google Form and click “Multiple choice” to open a menu of answer format options

I usually start a quiz or questionnaire with getting a student’s name, so I’ll choose “Short Answer” as the first question format. This lets people type words or symbols instead of just clicking a checkbox. Type in your question in the “Question” blank, and choose required at the bottom right of the question if you want to force someone to answer that question to complete the form.

Click Required to make filling out a question or line mandatory in google forms

You can add the next question by clicking on the “+” icon on the right again. Type your question, choose the type of question, and set it as “Required” if you want to make an answer mandatory.

You can add several different kinds of questions to your form. To add a multiple choice question, click on the “+” again leave it as a multiple choice question. In this example I’ve asked “What is the largest planet?” and I can add the answer choices by first filling in “Option 1” and then clicking “Add option” below that and filling it in. You can choose “Add other” if you want to allow the option for someone to write in their own answer.

Click Option 1 to type in an answer, Add option to add another option

Previewing a Form

You can preview your form any time by clicking the little eye icon at the top of the screen. That will open a new window that shows you how the form will look, complete with the color scheme and question formatting that you chose.

Click Preview icon at top of page to view the form as you edit

The Preview page works exactly like the form will work when you send it out, so if you just click “Submit” at the bottom you’ll see that any of the questions you marked as “Required” will show an error in red. I usually don’t set questions as required until the last step of making my form, because I like to test how the answers will look in Preview mode as I’m building the form.

Required sections are highlighted in red if the answer is not filled out before submitting

Adding a Section

Now let’s say you have a list of 20 or 30 questions but you don’t want to force people to scroll and scroll forever to get to the end, because not only can that be annoying but it can look somewhat unprofessional in some situations. To fix this, you can add a Section by clicking on the bottom icon in your vertical toolbar. This will bring up a new Section titled “Section 2 of 2”, and now your survey, test, or invitation is broken up into smaller sections or pages that are easier to handle and appear more organized to the reader.

Click the bottom icon in the vertical toolbar to add a new section

Now you can give the new section a name, we’re choosing “Earth” in the video example, and then continue adding and writing questions. Preview your form again and you’ll see that the form now has a “Next” button at the bottom, which indicates that there’s another section coming up, but since you marked some of the lines as “Required”, people will still need to fill out all of the information before they can move on to the next page.

If you want to turn off the “Required” setting all you need to do is go back to your form, click on the question or line, and click on the little dot next to “Required” to switch it off. Now you will have an easier time previewing all of your pages or sections as you work.

If you decide that you want people to fill in an email first on the form instead of their name, you don’t have to delete the lines and start over, just move your mouse to the top of the question area until you see it turn into a little “Move” icon. Then you can click and drag each question into whatever order you like.

Click and hold at the top of each question to reposition question on the form

Also, If you decide to delete a section entirely you can click on the tiny row of dots in the top corner of that section, and that will show you a small menu of options. Click “Delete” and it’s gone.

To delete a question, click row of dots at top right of screen to open tools menu, then click Delete

Now let’s try another type of answer formatting. Click on the plus sign to add another question, then click on “Multiple choice” to open the answer options menu, and choose “Checkboxes.”

This option might be handy if you’re creating a survey, or maybe planning a party and asking friends about menu preferences or specific days that work for their schedules.

You can also create “Dropdown” questions that open a dropdown menu with the answer options you enter.

Select the Dropdown answer option and Preview to see dropdown menu next to the question

Other answer format options include:

  • Linear Scale: this gives people a scale where they can choose from one to five, or from one to ten, which can be handy if you need people to rate a service or to tell you how much they enjoy a particular flavor of beverage.
  • Multiple Choice grid: this option allows you to build rows and columns with multiple answer choices.
  • Paragraph: this option creates lines where people can type or write their answers out. You might want an essay-style answer, or you could possibly use this option at the end of your form if you plan to ask people if they have additional thoughts, opinions, or answers they’d like to share.

other format options

Adding Images and Videos

First, you can add a new title to your form by clicking on the “TT” icon in your vertical toolbar. This doesn’t create a new section, it merely lets you add a new title in case you want to add more information as people progress through the form, or use it to introduce an image or a video that’s coming up next.

add a title to your form

To insert an image into your form, click the center icon on your vertical toolbar. It looks like a small landscape image. This will open a window where you can use keywords to find specific subjects. You can also upload your own images from your personal albums or your Drive, or enter a URL to insert an image from a website or page. Once you select the image you want you’ll see it appear on your form. If the image is too large, you can resize it by clicking and dragging the corner.

Add an image to the form and click on the corner of the image to resize

You can also center or align the image by clicking the alignment icons below the image, and add a title at the top of the image if you like. Remember that you can click on the “Preview” icon at the top of the screen as many times as you want to make sure you like how the form looks.

To add a video to your form, click the “Video” arrow icon on your vertical toolbar and it’ll bring up a window where you can search YouTube using keywords, or enter a URL if you have a specific website or page in mind. You can resize videos just like images, and add a title at the top if you like.

Click Video icon in vertical toolbar to open a YouTube search window

 

Settings

At the top of your forms widow you’ll see a small gear icon. This takes you to “Settings” and gives you even more options for customizing your form. For example, the “Shuffle questions order” option will show each person a different version of the form with the questions in a different order on each copy of the form. This could be really helpful if you want to make it harder for students to share answers during tests. However, if you have images or videos that are related to a specific question then this option will mess up the order, so use your best judgement when using the “Shuffle” option.

Click gear icon in top right corner to open the Settings menu

Other tools in the Settings menu include a progress bar that you can activate to let people see how far along in the test or survey they are, and an option to limit who can access and fill out the form. You may want to make it available only to students at your school, or only close friends and family. You also have an additional Actions menu in the top right corner of your screen.

This menu has options for copying and printing your form, or you can let other people help create and edit the form by clicking “Add collaborators” to make it a group project. You can also choose “Add-ons” from the Actions menu, which opens a new window where you can select from a wide range of apps and extras to enhance your forms.

Click row of dots in top right corner of the screen to open Actions menu

 

Additional question modifications

If you click on one of your questions and then click the row of dots in the bottom right corner you’ll see two more options for customizing your questions: “Hint text”, which lets people ask for a hint to the answer or can provide some extra clarification to the question, and “Data Validation”, which makes people answer questions the way you want them to. For example, if you ask people to enter their name and instead they try to enter an email address, they will get a notification that their answer is not correct.

Click dots in bottom corner of question field to see additional options

 

Responses

Once you’ve got your questions and answers formatted and you think your form is ready to go, click Preview one more time and then try filling out all of the lines and questions you just created, as if you were someone taking a test or survey. Once you get to the end, click “Submit” on the Preview form. Now go back to your working form that you’ve been editing. At the top of the form you will now see a number next to “Responses”. This tells you that someone has successfully filled out your form. If you click on “Responses” you’ll get a new window where you can see all of the answers that have been submitted and choose to see either individual responses from each person, or a summary of all of the submitted answers in the form of a pie chart.

Fill out form in Preview view, then click Responses on working copy to see the response data

If you need or want to have the response data on a spreadsheet you can click on the small green icon at the top of the Responses window. This will allow you to either create a new spreadsheet or import the data to an existing spreadsheet.

click green icon to open a spreadsheet creation menu

You can also open a menu in the top right corner of the Responses window that gives you more options such as “Download responses,” “Delete responses,” or “Get email notifications” so you can see when new responses are submitted. Now you can see how easy it is to get instant data and evaluate the responses, whether your form is a school test, a product survey, or an opinion poll on the best day to throw a surprise party!

click three dots in responses to see more options for your Google Form

If you want to start a new form, but perhaps aren’t quite done editing the first one, you can click the back arrow at the top left of your Forms screen and that will take you back to the Forms Templates page, and your current form will already be saved under “Recent forms.”

Click back arrow at top left of Form screen to return to Templates menu

Thank for reading! You’re now ready to create a brand new test, survey, menu, invitation, or any number of other kinds of forms, and if you ever run into trouble you can open the Actions menu on your Forms page and click on “Help Center” to get assistance.

Now check out the Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms plus Google Classroom to get the ultimate automated quiz setup for your class!