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By Susan Metz | Friday, June 15, 2012

Three things you didn’t know about Google Calendar

If you have a Gmail account or a Google Apps account you can use Google Calendar to schedule meetings and tasks, and to share your calendar with friends or coworkers. While calendar may seem like one of the more straightforward applications in the Google Apps suite, Google has developed some new features for Calendar in the past year that you may have missed.

1. Appointment slots You can now block off certain times on your calendar called appointments. When you block off an appointment slot, Google Calendar will generate a special URL that can be shared with friend and colleagues.  Those individuals can then view your open timeslots and book a meeting with you. This is great for teachers, managers, and service providers.

If you’re a lynda.com member, check out the Creating appointment slots video in chapter three of my Google Calendar Essential Trainingcourse.

2. Publishing your Google Calendar on your web site If you run your business or organization with Google Calendar you may want to post a public calendar for your customers or the community to view. Using the Google Calendar publishing feature you can generate html code so that you can publish your calendar on your business or organization’s web site. Then, whenever you make changes to the events in Google Calendar, the events will automatically update on the site where you published your calendar. This is a great tool if you want to publish an events calendar, an open-house schedule, a class schedule, or your office hours.

If you’re a lynda.com member, check out the Publishing a calendar video in chapter 11 of my Google Calendar Essential Trainingcourse to learn more about publishing a calendar to a web site.

3. Booking shared resources with Google Calendar

Do you have shared resources like digital cameras, laptops, or cars within your organization? If you use Google Apps you can schedule these resources from within Google Calendar by using the Google Apps Administrator to enter a listing of your shared assets into the control panel of your Google Calendar. Then, when you want to book a resource, you can just select the Rooms tab from within the Event Details screen and you will see a listing of all the available shared resources. If the resource is available you will see a green sqaure, if it’s unavailable you will see a red square. Once you book the resource, it will be unavailable to others during that time. If you’re a lynda.com member, check out the Booking a resource or room video in chapter five of my Google Calendar Essential Trainingcourse to learn more about inputting and  booking shared resources.

Although we just finished completely rerecording our Google Calendar course to incorporate the latest 2012 updates, keep an eye out as we will continue to update it frequently as changes and updates emerge.

Interested in more? • The full 2012 Google Calendar Essential Trainingcourse on lynda.com • All business courses on lynda.com

By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three tips for managing your Gmail inbox

Between personal e-mails, work e-mails, mailing lists, offers, and Facebook system alerts, you are probably getting hundreds of e-mails per week. Opening a crowded inbox can an intimidating and stressful experience.

If you use Gmail, you can employ labels, filters, and inbox styles to efficiently manage your messages. Below, lynda.com author and Gmail maven Susan Cline shares a few tips to help get you started.

Tip 1: Create filters to archive and label mailing list e-mails.

Reading the content of weekly newsletters, special offers, and digest e-mails is helpful, but it can be distracting every time a message from Zappos or Corn Dog Lovers pops into the top of your inbox. Use the Filter feature to create a filter that automatically archives the messages (that is, skips the inbox) and labels them. You can see the number of unread messages in each label by looking at the bold number in parenthesis. During your lunch break or down time you can peruse your mailing list e-mails.

In Gmail Essential Training, Susan demonstrates how to create Gmail archive filters.

Tip 2: Memorize a few keyboard shortcuts.

Clearing out your inbox can be time consuming when you are using the mouse. You select the message, then find the appropriate button on the toolbar to delete, archive, or label the message. Gmail has dozens of keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly navigate, delete, star, and label your messages.

Shortcuts to memorize include:

R – reply

A- reply to all

F – forward

R – archive

L – apply label

# – delete message

You can view all the keyboard shortcuts by holding down Shift+Forward Slash (/) when you are in your Gmail inbox.

In her new course, Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to employ Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts to quickly move through your inbox.

Tip 3: Send canned responses for common replies.

Do you find yourself writing the same response over and over? Perhaps you are managing a job hunt and sending e-mail confirmations for resumes that you receive. Perhaps you send your clients your rate sheets and terms via e-mail. Stop wasting time typing, and start using Canned Responses. The Canned Responses lab allows you to create and save default reply messages. Then when you want to respond to a message with a canned response, you just select the message from the Canned Responses drop-down menu.

In Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to create and send Canned Responses.

If you want more e-mail managements strategies and you’re a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library®, Susan devotes a whole chapter to managing your Gmail inbox in Gmail for Power Users. Happy organizing!

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