Color-Coding Comes to Google Calendar


Just in time for the end of the semester and the clearing of everyone’s calendars, Google has released color-coded events for Google Calendar.

For a long time now, it’s been possible to color-code events by sub-calendar. So, for example, I have four sub-calendars that feed into my One Calendar to Rule Them All: family, teaching, union, and writing/editing. Because these events are all in different calendars, they show up in different colors–handy for quickly understanding the shape of a day. (And the color-codes for these calendars translate into apps such as CalendarBar, too.) I know that there are Google Calendar ninjas who will scoff at only using four calendars–for example, if, like George, you embed your syllabuses into Google Calendar, you might have many more, and you might well have different calendars for different writing projects or, FSM help us all, different committees–but I try to get by with as lightweight a taxonomical scheme as possible. (Advice extrapolated from Merlin Mann, as usual.)

Sometimes, though, it’s helpful to distinguish events on a particular calendar. For example, my son right now does three things after school (obviously not on the same day!): Little League, soccer, and art. I don’t care enough about the difference between soccer and Little League to have them on two different calendars–but I might care about the difference between weekday practices and games. It’s also nice to be able to include a visual cue that “both parents are needed” for certain events.

The mechanism is simple: When you click on an event, there’s now a color picker right beside the event name. (If you’re in the detailed event editor, there’s just an area to select color. Here’s what the result looks like:

A couple of things:

  • When you color-code events, you can still see which calendar is the source of the event. (Example.)
  • If you have existing recurring events, changing the color of an event just changes the one instance, not the whole series. (Not saying this is good/bad–just something to be aware of!)
  • Because this is a brand-new feature, color-coding of specific events doesn’t yet show up in (m)any 3rd-party apps.

Google says this was a frequently-requested feature, and it is handy–although it’s also the sort of thing that’s subject to endless fiddling.

What about you? How detailed is your calendar, on- or off-line? Let us know in comments!

Photo by Flickr user geekcalendar / Creative Commons licensed

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