Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an online calendar that provides us with a single point of reference for scheduling time.


Because Google Calendar is a web application, there’s no installation necessary.


The following calendars are used for internal communication:

  • 18F Events: Team-wide events, start dates, standups, and so on.
  • 18F Classes: New hire and skill-bases training sessions.
  • 18F Interviews: New hire interviews.
  • 18F Out of office: Out-of-office and vacation notices.
  • 18F Working Groups: Meetings and other events pertaining to working groups and guilds.

You can add the above calendars to your Google calendar by clicking on the link to launch the HTML view and then clicking on +Google Calendar on the bottom right of the screen.

In addition to officially requesting time off in ALOHA, please also add an event on the Google calendar “18F Out of Office” and invite yourself, so we all know when you’re gone.


  • To add a video call to your calendar invite: create an event, click Edit event, and under Video call click Add video call. Google gives the call a default name, but you can click Change name to customize it. Then click Save. (Demonstration.)
  • To automatically find a time when everyone is available: create an event, add everyone who needs to attend as a guest, and click Suggested times. (Demonstration.)
  • People occasionally use Doodle to send out meeting-time surveys. If you’re flexible on when you want your meeting to start, it’s a great idea to send out a Doodle and poll attendees on what times work for them.
  • Remember to copy out of office (OOO) calendar items to your own calendar so that meeting planning tools pick them up.
  • You can’t share calendars with anyone outside GSA. You can share individual invites, just not whole calendars.

Customize it

Google Calendar has some handy features hiding under its ⚙ button (at top right), both under Settings and Labs. If you have some time, look around. Here are a few examples.

Specify your working hours

Specifying your working hours will mark you as busy during non-working hours. Your colleagues will get a warning if they try to schedule you outside those times.

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings. Setting Menu
  2. Under General > Working hours, select Show a warning to other people when they invite me to an event outside my working hours.
  3. Specify the days and times you prefer to work.
  4. Click Save.

Hide morning and evening hours

To change the default calendar view so you only see your working hours:

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings.
  2. Under Labs > Hide morning and night, click Enable.
  3. Click Save.

Automatically decline meetings when you’re busy

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings.
  2. Under Labs > Automatically declining events, click Enable.
  3. Click Save.

Change the default event duration

Google Calendar’s default event duration is 30 minutes. If you want to change it:

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings.
  2. Under General > Default event duration, choose 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.
  3. For even shorter meetings, select Speedy meetings. 30 minute meetings become 25 minutes; 60 become 50, 90 become 80, and 120 become 110.
  4. Click Save.

Show an additional time zone

This is helpful if you have to schedule meetings with people on the other side of the country. Google Calendar is limited to one additional time zone, though.

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings.
  2. Under General > Your current time zone, click Show an additional time zone.
  3. Choose your desired time zone.
  4. Click Save.

See what time it is around the world

This feature doesn’t integrate as well with calendar, but it does show the current time in multiple time zones.

  1. In the Settings menu, click Settings.
  2. Under Labs > World clock, click Enable.
  3. Click Save.

Sync Google Calendar with your iPhone

You can sync your schedule to an iOS device with Google Calendar. Use your Gmail account to sign in.

Sync Google Calendar with your Mac

You can sync your schedule to Apple’s Calendar program on a macOS computer. Use your Gmail account to sign in.