Creating an Appointment System with Google Spreadsheets

I often have my workshop participants wanting to discuss stuff with me.

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I want to show them my free slots and get them to book the slot convinient to them . I have tried various web2.0 appointment tools but I find the user interface too cumbersome. I wanted something simple that students can use without creating accounts. Doodle is probably the best. Google Calendar now has an appointment feature built in but it requires the students to have a Google calendar account.

I finally settled on hacking this system via a Google Spreadsheet. The idea is simple. I create a Google spreadsheet with my free time slots and my location. Then I share that spreadsheet with my students and make it editable. They can come and fill in the slot they want to take.

To create a Google spreadsheet, you need a Gmail or a Google account

1. Go to https://docs.google.com . Create a new Spreadsheet from the menu on the left.

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2. Below is a screenshot of the google spreadsheet that I created. You could create something similar to this.

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3. Next we will share these spreadsheet with our students. Select File -> Share

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4. In the Sharing settings, click on the “Changeā€¦” link

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5. On the next page you will see more Sharing settings. Click on “Anyone with the link”. In the “Edit access” area tick the “Allow anyone to edit” option and Save.

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6. On the next page, you will see the public link to the document. Copy this link

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7. This link is too long. Usually I go to URL shortening service such as bit.ly or tiny.cc to shorten this link. Below I pasted the link on bit.ly and bit.ly creates a short URL for me.

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On bit.ly you can customize the short URL if you have an account otherwise it will give you some random URL. In this example you can try our my spreadsheet. It is at http://bit.ly/meetpreetam

That’s it, you can pass the URL to your students and they can edit it to select the meeting slot they prefer.

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2 thoughts on “Creating an Appointment System with Google Spreadsheets

  1. What if someone with the link decides to play mischief by altering the contents on the spreadsheet? You can track their account(s) through “recent changes”, but it’s often best to give access to specific accounts only. :-)

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