Calendar template

How to take meeting notes with Google Calendar and Google Docs

It’s easier than ever to create Google Docs meeting notes linked to a Google Calendar event

Illustration: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

We have been able to attach files from Google Drive to events in Google Calendar for a while. I often create a Google document for meeting notes, attach it to a calendar event, and share it with meeting attendees. The shared Google document provides participants with a recording of the discussion. And the link between Calendar event and document allows users to access notes not only from Google Drive, but also in Google calendar.

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What’s new at TechRepublic

While the process involved several steps, Google streamlined the sequence needed to create, share, and attach meeting notes at the end of 2021. Now, as detailed below, a meeting organizer can create a new Google document for them. meeting notes from the Google Calendar event. details or from a Google document. Either way, Google Docs meeting notes can be connected to your Calendar event and shared with attendees.

(Note: Make sure you’re using a desktop browser and you’re signed in to your Google Account by following the steps below. Additionally, to add new Google Doc meeting notes, you must be the organizer of meeting or have permission to edit calendar event details.)

How to create meeting notes with a Google Calendar event

  1. Create a new Google Calendar event with the https://cal.new link in your browser.
  2. Edit all event details (e.g. title, location, time, etc.) and add guests.
  3. Select the Create meeting notes bullet in the notes area (Figure A).
  4. Figure A

    Screenshot of a new calendar event detail screen, with the Create meeting notes option circled, near the bottom of the page, where the option to add notes or attach files s 'attach.

    Select “Create Meeting Notes” to add a new Google document connected to your calendar event.

  5. Select Save. This logs your event, sends invitations, and shares access to the Google document associated with your event with your attendees.
  6. From your Google Calendar, select the event to view details, including the link to Google Doc meeting notes. Select the attached Google document (for example, the file next to the paperclip icon) to open it (Number B).
  7. Number B

    Screenshot of an example event, with the Google document circled.  It is displayed just before the reminder alarm setting in the event details.

    To access existing notes from Google Calendar, open your event and select the connected Google document.

By default, meeting notes created with this method are titled “Notes” followed by the title of the event.

How to add (or access) meeting notes for an existing event

  1. Open Google calendar in your browser.
  2. Select the event.
  3. Select the “Take meeting notes” link (Figure C) which appears when there is no meeting note associated with an event yet. This creates a new meeting note in Google Docs for the event.

Figure C

Screenshot of an example event with the Take Meeting Notes link circled.  It is displayed above the list of invitees in the displayed event.

If no meeting notes exist yet, select Take Meeting Notes from Event Details. (You will need to be the meeting organizer or have the option to edit event details to do so.)

Otherwise, if meeting notes already exist, select the attached Google document to open it.

As above, meeting notes created with this method are titled “Notes” followed by the title of the event.

How to create meeting notes from a Google document

  1. To create or open a Google document.
  2. Type @ in the document. You should see a list of potential items to insert, including contacts, files, dates, and calendar events.
  3. Number D

    New Google Document with the @ key typed and a list of options including people, models, files, dates, and calendar events.  The Example event is circled (for example, Today - 10:30 am - 11:30 am).

    To turn a Google document into meeting notes, type @ to view the items to insert, then find and select your event from the list.

  4. You can then either select a displayed calendar event (for example, scroll down and select it) or enter a few additional characters to search for. Once the desired calendar event is displayed, select it (Number D).
  5. If there is no meeting note associated with the selected calendar event yet, a small prompt will appear “[tab] to insert meeting notes “to the right of the bullet point inserted with the title of your event (Encrypted). On your keyboard, press the Tab key and your document will automatically add several details and formatting related to the meeting (for example, a link to the event, a list of attendees, as well as notes and action sections) .
  6. Encrypted

    Photo of a Google document with an example event bullet, and the

    After selecting your event, press the Tab key to insert meeting notes. This applies the Meeting Notes template to your document, which adds the event date, title, and attendee list, among other changes.

  7. To the right of the body of the document, where the comments appear, a prompt will appear for either “Share and Join” (for meetings with invitees) or “Join” (for meetings on your calendar without invitees) to the previously chosen event (Figure F). Select the “Share and Attach” (or “Attach”) button to link the document and associate it with the Calendar event. Check and adjust permissions to ensure access to the document, as requested.

Figure F

Screenshot of a new document with the meeting note format applied (with the Notes and Actions sections below the event details lines) and the Share and Attach option circled (to the right of the document, where comments are displayed).

To the right of your meeting notes, select “Share and Attach” (or “Attach”), then review and adjust the permissions to allow access to documents, if prompted.

By default, meeting notes created with this method are untitled, although when you tap or click on the “untitled” document, the document name will automatically fill in with the contents of the first line of your file. If you created it from a blank Google Document, it would be the date (for example, “October 20, 2021”) followed by the title of the event.

Additional Considerations: Naming, Printing, and Exporting

Once you’ve created and linked a meeting notes Google document to a calendar event, feel free to rename the Google document as desired. For example, instead of the user-friendly default date format (eg, “October 20, 2020”), I prefer to have dates in a year-month-day sequence, because I find this format gives me a reliable way to find files with search. I usually put the dates after the title (eg, “TechNotes – 20201020), although if you put the date first it allows for sequential sorts.

You can also choose to export or print your meeting notes. When printed, smart bullets for the date, event title, and each attendee appear as text surrounded by a light gray screen, just like bullets appear on a computer. And if you export your Google Doc meeting notes to a .docx or .pdf file, those file formats turn the smart bullets into text that points to the Google Calendar event (on the web) and the address, respectively. e-mail of each participant.

What is your experience with meeting notes?

Do you regularly add meeting notes when creating a Google Calendar event? Or are you delaying the process and adding meeting notes later, either from the Calendar event or using the @ menu in Google Docs? Let me know if and how this new feature has changed the workflow of your meeting notes in Google Docs and Calendar, either with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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