We’ve been able to attach files from Google Drive to Google Calendar events for a while. I often create a Google Doc for meeting notes, attach it to a Calendar event and share it with the meeting participants. The shared Google Doc provides participants a record of the discussion. And the link from the Calendar event to the Doc helps people access the notes not only from Google Drive, but also within Google Calendar.
SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
While the process used to take several steps, Google streamlined the sequence needed to create, share and attach meeting notes in late 2021. Now, as detailed below, a meeting organizer may create a new Google Doc for meeting notes either from within Google Calendar event details or from within a Google Doc. Either way, the Google Docs meeting notes can be connected to your Calendar event and shared with participants.
(Note: Make sure to use a desktop-class browser and be signed in to your Google account as you follow the steps below. Additionally, to add a new meeting notes Google Doc, you’ll need to either be the meeting organizer or have permission to modify the Calendar event details.)
How to create meeting notes with a Google Calendar event
- Create a new Google Calendar event with the https://cal.new link in your browser.
- Edit all event details (e.g., title, location, time, etc.) and add guests.
- Select the Create meeting notes chip in the notes area (Figure A).
- Select Save. This saves your event, sends invitations and shares access to the Google Doc attached to your event with your guests.
- From your Google Calendar, select the event to display details including the link to the meeting notes Google Doc. Select the attached Google Doc (e.g., the file next to the paperclip icon) to open it (Figure B).
By default, meeting notes created with this method are titled “Notes” followed by the event title.
How to add (or access) meeting notes for an existing event
- Open Google Calendar in your browser.
- Select the event.
- Select the “Take meeting notes” link (Figure C) that displays when no meeting notes are yet associated with an event. This creates a new meeting note in Google Docs for the event.
Otherwise, if meeting notes already exist, select the attached Google Doc to open it.
As above, meeting notes created with this method are titled “Notes” followed by the event title.
How to create meeting notes from a Google Doc
- Create or open a Google Doc.
- Type @ in the document. A list of potential items to insert should display, including contacts, files, dates and calendar events.
- You may then either select a displayed calendar event (e.g., scroll down and select it) or type a few more characters to search. Once your desired calendar event displays, select it (Figure D).
- If no meeting notes are yet associated with the selected Calendar event, a small prompt will display “[tab] to insert meeting notes” to the right of the inserted smart chip with your event title (Figure E). On your keyboard, press the tab key and your Doc will automatically add several meeting related details and formatting (e.g., a link to the event, a list of attendees, along with notes and action item sections).
- To the right of the body of the document—where comments display—a prompt will display either to “Share & Attach” (for meetings with guests) or “Attach” (for meetings on your calendar without guests) to the previously chosen event (Figure F). Select the “Share & Attach” (or “Attach”) button to link the document and associate it with the Calendar event. Review and adjust permissions to ensure document access, as 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 auto-fill with the contents of the first line of your file. If you created it from a blank Google Doc, this would be the date (e.g., “Oct. 20, 2021”) followed by the title of the event.
Additional considerations: Naming, printing and exporting
Once you have created and linked a Google Doc of meeting notes to a Calendar event, feel free to rename the Google Doc as desired. For example, instead of the reader-friendly date format default (e.g., “Oct. 20, 2020”), I prefer to have dates in a year-month-day sequence, since I find this format gives me a reliable way to find files with search. I typically put the dates after the title (e.g., “TechNotes – 20201020), although if you put the date first that enables sequential sorts.
You also may choose to export or print your meeting notes. When printed, the smart chips for the date, event title and each attendee display as text surrounded by a light gray screen, much as the chips appear on a computer. And if you export your Google Doc meeting notes to a .docx or .pdf format file, these file formats turn the smart chips into text that links to the Google Calendar event (on the web) and each participant’s email address, respectively.
What’s your experience with meeting notes?
Do you consistently add meeting notes when you create a Google Calendar event? Or do you delay the process and add meeting notes later, either from the Calendar event or with the help of the @ menu in Google Docs? Let me know if and how this new functionality has changed your meeting note workflow in Google Docs and Calendar, either with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber).