Google Calendar: Introduction and Overview

Objectives and Overview

This lesson introduces Google Calendar and provides a walkthrough of the interface.

Lesson Objectives

  • Access your Google Calendar
  • Identify key pieces of the calendar interface
  • Identify how to navigate and toggle the calendar views

What is Google Calendar?

Google Calendar is a productivity and scheduling tool included in the Google Suite. You can use it for free if you have a Google account. You’re able to schedule events for yourself and as well as others. Much like the other Google Suite tools, this is very powerful and it becomes more useful as you practice with it. Many jobs require you to have a familiarity with calendars, and Google Calendar is one of the most popular tools. You’ll be using it throughout this program to manage your time and events.

Uses for Google Calendar

There are many ways to use Google Calendar. The most common is for scheduling and managing events. Events are any chunk of time that you schedule. For example, a class and a meeting are both events. The tool doesn’t distinguish between these types of events. This makes Google Calendar a flexible and effective productivity tool. Managing your time is one of the most important ways to become more productive.

Let’s look at some examples.

You can use Google Calendar to manage personal events that only you attend. This is an effective way to manage a class or work schedule.

You can use Google Calendar to schedule meetings with coworkers. This is one of the most common uses.

Since you can share your calendar with other folks you can use Google Calendar to block out chunks where you need to focus. This can just be something like a “work session” so that people know you’re busy.

Calendar Interface

To access your calendar, open your browser and go to You won’t need to log in if you recently logged into your Google account. If you aren’t logged in, you’ll need to enter your Google email and password:

Google Calendar sign in window with an arrow pointing to the "Next" button.

Once you log in (or if you’re already logged in) you’ll see the main calendar view. It’ll be completely blank until you start adding events.

Google Calendar main calendar view.

The main view is the actual calendar. Right now, it’s set to show one week. This image shows one week of days and events:

Box drawn around the Google Calendar main view.

You may not always want to display a week. You’re able to toggle this by clicking on the dropdown in the upper right corner. You’re then able to select how you want to view the calendar. This is a personal preference.

Box drawn around the "display" menu.

Clicking on each of the options in the dropdown changes the main view:

Clicking on the different display options: "Day," "Week," "Month," and "Year."

Another useful item is the month view on the left sidebar. This provides a clickable overview of the current month. The current day is highlighted. Clicking on any day takes you directly to that day in your calendar.

Google Calendar page with a box drawn around the month view in the left sidebar.

Navigating Your Calendar

There are a few different ways to navigate your calendar. There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do this. Much of it is personal preference. As you become more comfortable, there are keyboard shortcuts that you can start using, but for now let’s focus on clicking on the interface buttons.

The first group of navigation buttons is above the calendar. Clicking the Today button jumps to the current day from wherever you are. For example, if you navigate to a month in the future, clicking this button brings you back. The < and > buttons move the view forward and back based on the display setting. For example, if you’re displaying by the week, these buttons move forward and back by a week.

Google Calendar main view with a box drawn around the navigation toolbar.

Here’s an example showing how these navigation buttons work together:

There are navigation buttons in the month view in the sidebar. The < and > buttons here move the sidebar calendar forward and back by a month:

Navigating by month using the "month view" in the left sidebar.

Now that you have an idea of the general interface, it’s time to start adding events. The next lesson covers how to create and manage events. Move on once you’re ready!