Customizable calendar

How to Use Google Calendar Appointments

Create one (or more) bookable meeting calendar pages to allow anyone with an email address to choose a time to meet you, and schedule breaks and limit the number of meetings each day.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Google Calendar’s appointment scheduling feature lets you create a bookable appointment scheduling page that allows anyone with an email address to select a time to meet you. You define your available dates and times. It is important to note that you can also limit the number of appointments scheduled each day, as well as set buffer times in order to have a break between sessions.

SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side analysis with checklist (TechRepublic Premium)

Appointment calendars are useful when you want people to choose from a limited number of times to meet with you. For example, you can set times to meet people throughout the day at a conference or when you’re in a specific community or area. You can also allow people to schedule an online meeting with you on specific days and times.

Eventually, appointment schedules are intended to replace appointment slots. Appointment slots limit registrations to people in your organization, while appointment calendars allow public access. The sections below cover important details about appointment times, as well as a few reasons why you might need to revert to appointment slots.

How to Create Appointment Calendars in Google Calendar

Open Google Calendar on the web and sign in with a supported Google Workspace account.

Note: Appointment calendars are available in most Google Workspace Business, Enterprise, Education, and Nonprofit editions. However, the feature is not available in Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Frontline, or G Suite Basic and Business editions.

  1. Select the +Create button (top left) and choose Appointment Calendar from the options displayed.

Figure A

Screenshot of the bookable appointment calendar, with April 26 set for 30-minute sessions available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The first set of bookable appointment scheduling options lets you set session length, availability, scheduling window, buffer times, and maximum number of bookings per day.
  1. Enter a title for your bookable appointment schedule. (Figure A displays the available settings for steps 2 through 7.)
  1. Select an appointment duration. Options include: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or Custom.
  1. Set availability. The default is Recurring weekly time segments, but you can change it to Non-repeating and then specify time segments over one or more days.
  1. Optional: Adjust the schedule window. The default allows appointments to be booked up to 60 days in advance, as long as an appointment is booked at least 12 hours in advance. You can adjust either of these time slots to avoid appointments being scheduled too far in advance or closer to the session time than you want.
  1. Optional: Adjust settings for the booked appointment. To ensure you have time for a brief break between booked appointments, select Time Buffer, then set the number of minutes (or hours) added around appointments. Additionally, you can select the maximum number of reservations per day and choose the number of reserved appointments allowed per day.
  1. Select Next to proceed to the second page of options. (Figure B displays the available settings for steps 8 through 13.)

Figure B

Screenshot of the second page of the bookable appointment program settings, with the fields not yet selected or filled in.
Additionally, you can configure location and conference options, add a description, adjust required data when booking, and customize session email reminder schedule.
  1. By default, the booking page photo and name displays prints from your Google Account photo and name. You can update them, if you wish.
  1. Set session options. Choose from:
  • Google Meet video conferencing (recommended for online sessions),
  • Meeting in person (fix a place),
  • Phone call (to ask the person requesting a time to add a phone number), or
  • None / to be specified later.
  1. Optional: Add a description of the scheduled session to display on the appointments page and in confirmation emails.
  1. Optional: Adjust the booking form fields. By default, the form requires the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address fields (as shown in Figure D). You can also request a phone number with another custom named field.
  1. Review and select the booking confirmation and reminder schedule. By default, the system will send an email reminder 1 day before a scheduled session. You can select Add reminder and add one or more reminders, for periods such as 1 week before, as well as 10 minutes before the session.
  1. Select Save to create your bookable appointment calendar page.

Scheduled times appear on your calendar as shown in Figure C. Reserved events adjust your availability, based on your selected settings, as people select available sessions.

Figure C

Screenshot of a block of bookable appointments on April 26 from 9am-5pm, with item selected and details shown: Session title, 30 min appointment, Open booking page button, a link
Once set up, the dates and times reserved for bookable date sessions appear on your Google Calendar. Select the event to access the booking page link or edit the details.

In your Google calendar, click (or tap) on the bookable appointment calendar, then select Open booking page to view the page because an appointment scheduler could access it. The page URL is what you can share with potential appointment schedulers. As of April 2022, you will need to share the appointment booking page as a link, as it is not yet available to embed on a website, such as a Google site page.

Figure D

Screenshot of a featured time on April 26 at 1 p.m., with a form asking for first name, last name, and email address, along with a Book and Cancel button.
When a person selects an available session time, they will be prompted to fill in the information on the booking form.

Google Calendar appointment schedules will replace appointment ranges

Previously, Google Calendar included the ability to offer appointment slots, which allowed people to make blocks of time available, but only to other people within an organization. For example, I used appointment slots when teaching at a university to allow students to schedule a time during my proposed office hours. It worked because we all had university-managed Google accounts. The new appointment calendars feature allows anyone with an email address to register for a session, instead of just people with an account in your organization.

Google has indicated that appointment schedules will replace appointment slots. However, you can still use appointment slots when you need to add additional people automatically when someone selects an appointment slot, when you need to add a selected session to a secondary or delegate calendar, or when you want book a conference room. automatically when a session is selected. These features are not yet available with appointment calendars.

Figure E

Screenshot of calendar settings, with the Appointment schedule box selected next to Create appointment schedules instead of appointment ranges.  (Only deselect this option if you are sure you need the old meeting slots instead of the meeting times.)
As of April 2022, if you need some of the features that are not yet available in Appointment Calendars, you can choose to use Legacy Appointment Slots instead, by deselecting the box in Calendar | Settings | General | Appointment times.

As of April 2022, if you need any of the three features listed in the previous paragraph, you can turn appointment times off and go back to appointment slots. To do this, go to Google Calendar on the web, select the Settings menu (cog in the upper right corner) | Settings, then Appointment Calendars (under the General tab, on the left), as shown in Figure E. Uncheck the box to return to appointment slots.

How do you use Google Calendar appointment calendars?

I often find it helpful to offer scheduled registrations for a limited period of time. For example, I sometimes organize short technical advice sessions within the framework of a conference. Other times, when I am in a community for a day, I will have time available for client meetings. I will definitely use the ability to create bookable meeting times for these types of events and then share the link with people who want to meet.

Have you tried Google Calendar’s appointment calendars? Do you find these appointment calendar pages useful? What types of events do you use these appointment pages to schedule? Let me know what you think of the appointment calendar feature and how you use it, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).