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Calendars with context.

When we’re presented with a problem in work or life, we look for a solution cobbled together from available tools. We stumbled upon a Google Sheet in the wild that had been turned into a calendar with:
A tab for each month
Cells organized into squares
Cells merged to create a notes field

cal.png
While this solves the problem of sharing event information with folks who don’t share a Google Calendar, it does miss some opportunities to increase the value. Al and I worked together to create a calendar solution in a recent event. Check out the full replay here:

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The first step in this translation is gathering your information into a table. In this case, we created a table with all the events. The table had:
Date
Event name
And a select list for the type of event

We then added some conditional formatting for easy visual scanning:

cal2.png

Now that we had the raw data, we could transform it into a calendar by creating a calendar view:
cal3.png

One of the big benefits here is that you can get all the contextual information about the event. For example, maybe we wanted to know the meeting leader, the location, and any notes to read ahead of time. No problem, we simply add columns to our master table and then any time we hover over an event, we see the details. Or, if we want a more detailed view, we can expand the entire event:

cal4.gif

But, everyone who looks at this calendar will be interested in different things so we added a control that lets the viewer filter to the type of events they’re investigating:
cal5.gif

And we went one step further by creating a calendar view filtered by the user. This means the calendar will automatically shift to show only your events — a handy way to help folks stay focused and engaged without a ton of sections:

cal6.png

If you want to get started yourself, remember you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Start with your event details and then add on features as you need them. Some of our favorite superchargers are:

Connecting with Google Calendar using the Google Calendar Pack
Setting up an automation to email weekly events to the group
Setting up an automation to notify people when new events are added
Allowing people to RSVP by adding their name to a column

Now it’s your turn!
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