05 December 2009

Jump to any date in Google Calendar

It’s difficult to find flawless applications, either native or cloud-based. Despite their popularity, Google products also have their share of missing features, which everyone is asking for. Google Calendar is no exception: from the launch in 2006 it lacked a way to jump to a specific date in the past or future to revise it’s events. I discovered this the hard way, after I added a couple of birthdays some 20 years in the past without making them recurring. I had to click hundreds of times to get to the right month view and edit the events! I was very puzzled by this lack in the web interface, because such options are build-in to most mobile phones, like the Nokia model I used for almost three years. Other calendaring applications like Rainlendar have buttons for jumping to the previous/next year, making the navigation much easier.Google Calendar jump to date tip

Google Calendar date labsThings finally started to improve earlier this year, with the introduction of Google Calendar Labs. ‘Jump to date’ sounded really promising, until I realized it only allowed you to go back to 2005! Fortunately this limit was relaxed and now you can go back to 1980 or forward to 2030 using this add-on. Another very useful lab experiment is ‘Year view’, which doesn’t seem to have restrictions regarding the years you can jump to. This way you can reach the desired date with only a couple of clicks, not matter how far away in the past or future it lies. Unfortunately, enabling Calendar Labs creates a sidebar on the right that steals a lot of screen space from the main area where the events are displayed. It would seem more natural to integrate ‘Year view’ as a standard feature next to the month/week/day views.

But there is also another, more direct solution, and I suspect it was around ever since Google Calendar launched. It was mentioned on the help forums by a top contributor, pointing back to an older Google Groups discussion. Simply go to the browser’s address bar and append ‘?date=yyyymmdd’ to the usual Google Calendar URL, like this: https://www.google.com/calendar/render?date=20201010 to go to Saturday, 10 Oct 2020. If the URL already uses some parameters, replace ‘?’ with an ‘&’, like in the image below. That Google Group thread also mentions a method to display a certain date range, but I didn’t manage to get that one to work. Maybe it was disabled by code changes in Calendar since then. Google Calendar jump to a date with URL

This URL trick doesn’t have the limitations of the ‘Jump to date’ extension and it’s a little surprising it hasn’t been officially integrated in the web interface. The advanced search options can also display virtually any date you need, but it forces you to enter two dates to search, and then switch to another view to see the events in the calendar style, so it’s slower and more complicated to use. It would be nice if someone creates a bookmarklet or an user-script to leverage this method to quickly move around in Google Calendar.

7 comments:

  1. Hi, Thank you for a great post.

    I am trying to figure out how to be able to jump to a date when I send someone a link such as in an email.

    My calendar is:

    https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=2ajb6u7bq209j78c3ub1ps8n6k@group.calendar.google.com&ctz=Europe/Dublin&mode=agenda&showPrint=0&showCalendars=0&wkst=2&hl=en_GB

    No matter what I type in it always goes to the current date.

    Thanks

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  2. Unfortunately this tip doesn't seem to work with embedded calendars. And a link sent by email in the format described above will open the recipients' calendar at that specified date, not the calendar of the sender.

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  3. Thanks gxg.

    To me this seems that it would be a useful feature. I will post a feature request.

    Thanks again gxg

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  4. THANKS!!!
    Jump to date is good but displaces the right side of the calendar, shrinking it. Why the heck did they not use the left side under the existing stuff there, already???

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    Replies
    1. It's very annoying indeed, probably the reason I stopped using any of the labs a long time ago. But I think that labs are only allowed to appear in a separate sidebar on the right, just as it was the case with the Tasks widget. An unfortunate design decision nevertheless...

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  5. On the right in your Google Calendar search box, there's a tiny downward pointing grey triangle. Click that and you'll get a sudden flash of insight.

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    Replies
    1. Those are advanced search options. If you have something to say, please be more explicit.

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