Use Google Calendar to Manage Appointment Slots

Last Updated Jun 7, 2011 2:37 PM EDT

Google Calendar has long been the go-to choice for sharing and managing your own calendar, but it never really worked as an online appointment scheduler.

That's all changed with the arrival of a new Google Calendar feature: appointment slots. With it you can do more than just show clients (and employees) your availability; you can let them book an open time. That's a major time-saver for both parties, and perhaps even a way to attract more customers.

Here's how to set up an appointment slot:

  1. Sign into Google Calendar.
  2. Click an open spot in the calendar grid. In the event window that pops up, click Appointment slots.
  3. Enter all the details for the appointment slot: what it is, which of your calendars it should appear on, and whether it should be a single slot or multiples.
  4. From there you can finish by clicking Create slots, or click Edit details to modify more settings: location, description, repeating slots, etc. If you want to invite others to attend, use the Add Guests field.
  5. When you're done, click Save.
The beauty of appointment slots is that it generates a custom Google Calendar URL you can share with your clients or employees. When they use that link, they see not only your available slots, but also their own calendar -- which makes it easy for them to choose a time that works.

Pretty sweet, right? If you've been relying on old-fangled ways of booking appointments -- namely, a phone line and manual calendar entries -- I definitely recommend giving this a try. It's one of the best new Google Calendar features in years.

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