It’s no secret that Google Calendar is a popular choice for today’s busy professionals. It’s flexible and intuitive, and Google regularly rolls out new features and functions to help make the day-to-day working world more manageable. Fortunately, Google recently rolled out a new appointment schedules feature, which makes scheduling meetings (internal and external) and appointments more effortless than ever before.
Whether you’re part of a large organization and looking for an easy way for teammates to schedule time with you or an entrepreneur opening up your schedule to prospective clients, you’ll love this guide for using Google Calendar appointment features.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The difference between Google Calendar appointment schedules and appointment slots
- How to enable the appointment schedules or appointment slots feature
- How to create an appointment schedule in Google Calendar
- A reminder on how to set up appointment slots
- Our tips for taking your Google Calendar meeting management even further
Phew! Now, let’s take a look at the difference between schedules and slots (yes, the semantics matter!)
Google Calendar appointment schedules vs. appointment slots
Let’s get into the different types of appointment features you can find in Google Calendar. Regarding naming conventions, the names of these features sound similar—appointment schedules and appointment slots. While there are some similarities, the feature sets are pretty different.
Before we look at both features, it’s important to note that the appointment schedules feature will eventually replace appointment slots. However, in the meantime, both are still available (depending on the type of Google account you have). At present, you can turn appointment schedules on or off if you want to continue using appointment slots.
First up, let’s review appointment schedules in Google Calendar. You can access the appointment schedules feature if you have a work or school account. You can also use appointment schedules on your personal Gmail accounts if you have Google Workspace Individual. Key features (and improvements over appointment slots) include the following:
- Your own professional booking page with different types of appointments you offer that allows anyone to book an appointment with you (as long as they have an email address)
- Booking confirmation and update emails, plus automatic email reminders sent to anyone who books an appointment with you
- The ability to choose how you meet (in person, on the phone, or using a Google Meet link)
- Customized appointment availability limiting the number of appointments per day, appointment windows, buffer in between, and more
In your Google Calendar Settings, under “General,” scroll down to the “Appointment schedules” option and check the box next to “Create appointment schedules instead of appointment slots” if you want to use the scheduling feature like this:
In comparison, Google Calendar appointment slots are only available with a work or school account. Appointment slots work well when you want to make yourself available but aren’t sure who needs to meet with you (think open office hours sessions, for example). Key features include the following:
- The ability to add additional team members so that Google Calendar automatically adds them to any booked appointments
- Secondary, team, or coworker calendar management capabilities so you can set up appointments on more than just your calendar
- The ability to pre-reserve a conference or meeting room for your appointment (you can add rooms to booked appointments when using the appointment scheduling feature after the fact, but you cannot pre-reserve a room)
In your Google Calendar Settings, under “General,” scroll down to the “Appointment schedules” option and uncheck the box next to “Create appointment schedules instead of appointment slots” if you want to use the appointment slots feature like this:
Now that you know when to use appointment schedules over appointment slots and vice versa, I’ll walk you through how to use both Google Calendar features.
How to use Google Calendar appointment scheduling
Appointment schedules allow others to meet with you or book your services via appointment. As a reminder, appointment schedules are a premium feature only available to Google Workspace Individual subscribers or those with a work or school Google Calendar account. If you have a work or school Google Calendar account, you can use appointment scheduling or the previous version known as appointment slots.
To create an appointment schedule, you’ll need to use a computer. Once you’re on the computer, follow these steps:
1. Open your Google Workspace Individual, work, or school Google Calendar.
2. In the top left, click the “Create” button and select “Appointment schedule.”
3. Add a title for your schedule. Keep in mind the title is visible to anyone who can access your booking page and will appear on your calendar for bookings.
4. Set the duration of your appointments. All appointments must be at least 15 minutes long, but they can be longer. You can even set a custom duration.
5. Set the date and time or a recurring appointment schedule.
6. Choose the scheduling window to set how far in advance people can book appointments with you. The default for this setting is from 12 hours to 60 days in advance.
7. Once you finish adding all the details for your appointment schedule, click “Save,” and you are all set!
Google provides some tips and things you need to know about appointment scheduling in the Google Calendar Help article. Here’s a recap:
- Google Calendar works to avoid scheduling conflicts for you when using this feature. If you respond “Yes” or “Maybe” to a calendar invite during your appointment scheduling window, that block of time will not appear as free on your booking page.
- You can edit your appointment booking page and change how your photo and name appear.
- You can customize the appointment booking form by adding fields for attendees to fill out, such as phone numbers.
- If you share your Google Calendar with others, they will not be able to view your appointment schedule.
How to create Google Calendar appointment slots
Creating appointment slots in Google Calendar is simple. Before we dive in, there is an important nuance to note about this feature.
As a reminder, appointment slots are only available with a work or school Google Calendar account. If you don’t see this feature when following the steps outlined below, ensure you are not logged into a personal Gmail account.
Now, follow these steps to create appointment time slots:
1. Open your work or school Google Calendar and choose the “Week” or “Day” view in the upper right-hand corner.
2. Click the block on your calendar in which you want to offer appointments. When the event box pops up, click the “Appointment slots” below the title box.
3. Add a title for your block of appointments and any additional details, such as the location or description, by clicking “More options.”
4. Save the calendar event, and you’re all set!
Here are a few best practices and tips to make the most of your appointment slots block according to Google:
- You can add a guest to the appointment block, and they will get added to every time slot in the block
- You can set up an appointment block to repeat, but you should do so before you invite others to start reserving slots to avoid double bookings
- Once you create an appointment block, you can ask people to book an appointment slot with a link to your appointment page
How to use Google Calendar for meeting scheduling
While we love these appointment features for Google Calendar, the secret ingredient to help you schedule meetings more seamlessly in Google Calendar is Clockwise. Clockwise can take your appointment and meeting management even further.
First, if you want to reduce the amount of time spent creating appointment schedules and slots, we recommend our Clockwise Links feature. With Clockwise Links, you can share your availability in one click and schedule meetings without hassle, eliminating the back-and-forth coordination and manual appointment management.
And as much as we love meetings, we believe in setting aside uninterrupted time, too, so you can focus on what matters. Clockwise optimizes your schedule to free up blocks of work time, so you don’t have to worry about trying to squeeze your to-dos in between meetings. You tell Clockwise how much Focus Time you need each week, and it will consider that when offering availability through your link.
And the best part? Clockwise Links uses AI to suggest meeting times that optimize your productivity, not hurt it. With your preferences in mind (like the number of Focus Time hours you need each week to do deep work), Clockwise Links protects them and offers availability that works best for you. We consider over ten factors when suggesting the best meeting times, including:
- Focus Time
- Preferred meeting hours
- No meeting days
- Consecutive meetings
- Lunch time
- Travel time
If you need to schedule a meeting with an internal group and an external source, Clockwise can help you do that too. The Clockwise Links feature supports many-to-one scheduling, which means it aggregates team members’ availability and only shows the external source times when the entire group is available. (Talk about a smooth process for scheduling client demos and customer support calls!)
And we understand the pain of navigating too many tabs and struggling to track down meeting information when you need it. That’s why we made it easy for you to access your links in just a few clicks. You can access your Clockwise Links via the Clockwise extension toolbar. Simply look for our logo, click it, and quickly copy and paste meeting links where you need them.
Here’s to making appointment scheduling easy
Make Google Calendar work for you with the features of appointment schedules or appointment slots. Appointment schedules will eventually replace appointment slots. The feature works to avoid scheduling conflicts, offers customization for your booking page, and allows you to customize your booking form so you can gather information about your meeting attendees. Appointment slots work well for quick office hours sessions, and you can set it up to repeat or have guests automatically added to every session.
Try Clockwise if you want to take your meeting management in Google Calendar even further. Clockwise uses AI to optimize your schedule, and with Clockwise Links, you can eliminate the manual work tied to scheduling appointments and meetings with others. Try Clockwise for free and watch the magic happen.