Most people use spreadsheet software to collect data or present information using charts and graphs. However, when thinking outside the box, there are several uses for Google Sheets. One of the handiest alternative uses is creating a schedule.
And, you don’t even have to start from scratch. The template library has a premade sheet ready to go. Read on as we detail how you can create and format a schedule correctly and why you should consider using sheets for your scheduling.
How to Create a Schedule in Google Sheets
Although you can create a schedule from scratch in Google Sheets, we recommend using a template, especially if you’re in a hurry and don’t need much customization.
You can use the template gallery in Google Sheets to find a prebuilt sheet. To start, you must head to Google Sheets and create an account. If you already have a Google account, you can use it to sign in. Here are the steps you need to follow to create a schedule using the template gallery in Google Sheets:
- Navigate to the main Google Sheets page.
- Click on Template gallery under the search bar. This will open a new page containing several templates for you to choose from.
- We will use the Schedule template for this tutorial, so click on that one. This will open a new spreadsheet with the template already applied.
The Google Sheets template already has the rows and columns set up so that there are hourly divisions throughout the day. You can set the starting day of the week in cell C2. The date is specified in the 3rd row automatically depending on the input in cell C2. The 4th row contains a formula that automatically turns the date into the day of the week.
At the bottom of the schedule is a notes section where you can leave messages for the team. There is also a to-do section on the right side where you can assign specific tasks to your team.
Using Conditional Formatting in Your Schedule
You can use conditional formatting in the spreadsheet to check for a specific word in the spreadsheet. A specified action will be taken if that condition is met.
For demonstration, let’s add conditional formatting to check if the word “meeting” exists in the cell. If it does, the cell should turn red. Here are the steps you need to follow to do this:
- Select the area in your spreadsheet where you want to apply conditional formatting.
- Click on Format in the main toolbar of the screen.
- There, click on Conditional formatting. This will open a sidebar on the right side of the screen.
- The range will automatically be added if you select it in the first step. If you didn’t, write the range in the Apply to range textbox.
- In the Format cells if section, you can select the formatting rules. We chose the Text contains option and added the keyword “meeting”.
- Now choose the effects to be applied to the contents in the cell. In this case, we chose the color red to be applied to the cell.
- Click on Done to save the changes.
As you can see, the effect is added to any cell that contains the specified keyword. This can be particularly useful when you want to color code upcoming tasks like meetings and deadlines. You can also add multiple rules, which means you can have a fully color-coded schedule.
Doing this means you won’t have to manually color code each cell whenever a change is made to your schedule.
Pros and Cons of Creating a Schedule in Sheets
Although there are several benefits to creating a productive work schedule with Google Sheets, it’s far from perfect. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of creating a schedule with Google Sheets:
Pro: Free to Use
Although there are several schedule creation software in the market, most of these are paid. On the other hand, Google Sheets can be beneficial when creating a schedule, as it is free for individuals and small businesses. It’s a simple way to back up your schedule for free without making manual saves.
Pro: Easy to Share
The best part about using Google Sheets over other spreadsheet programs is that it allows you to share your spreadsheet with just a few clicks. You can also specify the permissions so that only a select few people can make edits to the spreadsheet, while the others can only view it. This can be a great help if you make a remote work schedule to share with your collaborators.
Con: No Notifications for Users Without Edit Access
Google Sheets has the advantage of real-time sharing, which means that the changes made to the file can be seen in real-time by the viewers. However, if you only have view permissions, Sheets won’t notify you of any changes made to the spreadsheet.
Only people with edit access can enable email notifications. You can use add-ons that send push notifications to help eliminate the problem, but it is far from ideal.
Con: Lack of Automation
Using dedicated software to create your schedule won’t require you to enter every detail manually. Other parts are automatically updated if you change one part of the schedule.
Advanced software will also notify you if you’re going overboard with the shifts or making a potential error. If you’re an expert, you can do automation in Sheets. However, most people don’t have the time or the advanced technical knowledge to pull this off.
Con: Takes More Time
When you use a spreadsheet, you have to enter most things manually or build drop-down lists. Advanced software saves you a lot of manual editing as they feature drag and drop schedule builders. They can also send out automatic emails whenever schedule changes occur.
Con: Does Not Have Modern Features
Google Sheets lacks features like GPS tracking, shift swapping, and PTO management. These features aren’t needed, but can help make your life much easier in certain situations.
Schedule Your Life Effectively
Google Sheets is just one of the many ways to schedule your life and work. While there are a few drawbacks, the fact that it’s free and simple to use makes it a viable option, especially when you combine it with other Google Suite apps like Google Calendar.