Staying busy is good for business, but it makes scheduling an outright chore. Calendly aims to fix the problem, helping you spend less time locking down dates and more time preparing for the meetings.
So what is Calendly? In this tutorial, we'll walk you through how to use Calendly with a step-by-step tutorial.
What Is Calendly?
Calendly is an app for scheduling appointments, meetings, and events. Its goal is to eliminate the problematic back-and-forth when trying to nail down times. Rather than email chains and phone tag, you can send your availability with a Calendly link (even if the people booking time with you don't use Calendly).
Invitees will see all the available openings in your schedule and can select the one that suits them best. That ensures the ideal time slot for both parties, eliminates time zone confusion, and avoids the strings of conversations about who's available when.
Calendly Pricing: Free for the basic version, which includes unlimited events but only one type of event. Free users can also integrate with other calendars. The Premium plan ($8/user/month) gives you more customization options, allows you to schedule all types of events, removes Calendly branding from your display, and more. The Pro Plan ($12/user/month) adds SMS notifications and invitee redirections, plus more native integrations.
How to Use Calendly
How to Set Up Your Calendly Account
Click Sign Up from the Calendly home page, and Calendly will walk you through the whole process. If you use a Gmail account, you can log in with that, and you'll have the option to integrate with Google Calendar right away.
You can skip any part of the sign-up process, but filling in the information now lets you make the most of the entire app right away.
The first step is completing your Calendly URL and selecting your time zone. Bear in mind that your Calendly URL will be part of the link you send to your all event invitees, so make sure it's something descriptive and professional.
Next, you'll have the option to integrate your Calendly account with your other calendars before you get started. Click the relevant box, and the login window for that account will pop up. Linking accounts automatically populates your Calendly schedule with any events entered into other calendars—even pre-existing ones—to prevent overbooking.
Then, you can set your general availability. You can change it at any time—for example, if you go on vacation or your daily schedule changes—so it's okay to be vague for now.
Calendly also asks about your work duties to personalize your customer support if you need it. And finally, Calendly ends the onboarding by urging you to create your first event.
How to Create an Event or Meeting Slot in Calendly
When using Calendly, think of Events as time slots. You define how those time slots are used and who sees them—and that's the real value of Calendly.
Say you're a manager, and you want to set aside every Tuesday for one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. You can fill your Tuesday calendar with time slots for one-on-one meetings (for whatever duration you want), and then only share those time slots with your direct reports.
Then you want to create an optional weekly video conference for your whole team. You can create a custom event type for a group meeting at a certain time every week, and send the link to your team. Anyone who wants to attend can sign up.
Of course, you can still set up traditional, one-time meetings with Calendly. If you create a few different event types (i.e., time slots) for when you're available, your invitee can choose the one they like best. If you're scheduling a lot of one-time meetings, like interviewing for a new position, you can set up your Calendly schedule with all your open time slots and let the invitees pick themselves—first come, first serve. All you have to do is show up when your calendar tells you to.
How to customize event types/time slots in Calendly
Customizing your event types is easier than it sounds. Even if you skipped this step in the onboarding, you can set up a new event anytime from your Calendly dashboard. From your Calendly dashboard (your Account page), click the tab for Event Types if you're not there already.
To start, you can choose one of the default one-on-one events for 15, 30, or 60 minutes. But you can also create a new event. To do so, click (+) New Event Type.
Choose between a one-on-one event or a group event. (Keep in mind that if you're using the Basic account, you can only choose one-on-one after your 14-day trial expires.) Click the Create button next to your corresponding choice.
This first window of the event editor asks for basic information: the name of the event, location, and description. It also gives you the opportunity to customize the event URL and color-coding. For group events, you also specify the maximum number of attendees.
In the next window, you'll set the duration of the event itself, as well as how long people can sign up for the event.
Below that, you can customize your availability for the event if it's different than your default.
Clicking on an individual date in the calendar opens up a new set of options. Here, you can enter a specific time range for that date only or for that day every week (e.g., every Monday).
Choosing Or apply to multiple… at the bottom opens further options, such as applying a new range to select days only. And clicking the Advanced tab on the top of the calendar brings up even more detailed customization options. Here you adjust the frequency of events, establish a maximum number of events per day, input a cut-off time for last-minute scheduling, and set a built-in buffer time before and after events.
You also have the ability to hide the event from your public schedule (for when you share your entire calendar with someone), a feature known as Secret Event. To activate it, click on the button (the default is No, but it changes to Yes when clicked).
When you're ready, click Save & Close in the bottom-right to save your data and close the window. Note: Your event is still not finished. To make the event public (or active, if you're using a Secret Event), you have to turn it on by clicking the button in the upper-right corner of the event editor.
You'll know your event is active when OFF changes to ON and the gray box turns green.
How to Invite People to Events and Share Your Calendly Link
Once you've personalized all your Event Types and created your ideal schedule, you can invite people to join or book them. All you have to do is send them the right link so that they can see their options and select the best time for them.
Go to your Account dashboard, then click the Event Types tab. Find the event type you want to share, and click Copy Link. This automatically copies the link, so you can paste it into your invitation.
Clicking the down arrow next to Copy Link opens up the additional options of generating a single-use link for a one-time booking or copying a timetable directly into the email.
How to share your entire calendar
You can also leave it up to the recipient to choose the event type—for example, they choose whether to schedule a half-hour or full-hour meeting. To give that choice to the invitee, send them the link to your public Calendly page. You can find this link in your Account dashboard and then copy and paste it manually.
Alternatively, you can have it copied automatically by clicking the gear icon in the upper-right and choosing Copy Link.
Whichever link you choose, you can paste it directly into an email, social media post, blog post, SMS message, or any other form of communication. Note that best practices recommend embedding the link in descriptive anchor text to improve the flow of your message.
What do invitees see in Calendly?
How do your recipients experience Calendly? For starters, remember that they can schedule meetings with you even if they don't have a Calendly account.
When your invitee clicks the link, they'll see the details of your event and a calendar.
Depending on the availability you outlined in the event type, only days open for booking are clickable and displayed in blue. The invitee clicks the day they prefer, and then they'll see specific time slots available.
These times automatically adjust for the time zones. For example, you may set the earliest time slot for 9 a.m. ET when creating the event type, but when the recipient sets their time to Pacific, the earliest time slot will be 6 a.m. PT.
Selecting a time slot changes its color and reveals a confirmation button.
For one-time-only events, invitees see your calendar just as they would for recurring events. The big difference for one-time-only events is that only one day and one time slot are available. Invitees still have to click both to book the event. (The Calendly team is aware this is a UX problem, but they haven't yet found a solution.)
When the invitee clicks Confirm, a new window opens that requests their name and email address. Clicking Schedule Event finalizes the booking. They are taken to the confirmation window with details, and emails are sent to both parties. That time slot will also become unavailable if a new recipient comes to schedule a meeting.
How to Integrate Calendly with Other Calendars
If you didn't integrate your other calendars during the initial onboarding process, or if you just started using a new calendar and want to include it, you can add new calendars to your Calendly account at any time. Click your account icon in the upper-right corner, and in the dropdown menu, select Calendar Connection.
Select the calendar you want to integrate, and click the corresponding Connect button. (Note: Even with the Basic plan, you can still integrate all these calendars.)
You'll be prompted to sign in to the account in an external window. Once your login is complete, that calendar and its data will be added to your Calendly data and automatically synced in the future.
You can edit your settings for this calendar at any time. Return to that calendar's account following the same pathway as before (Accounts > Calendar Connection). Here, you can fine-tune its implementation restrictions or remove the calendar by clicking Disconnect.
Automate Calendly with Zapier
Connecting your calendar to other apps can streamline your entire workflow. To use Calendly's native integrations, click Integrations in the top navigation menu of your dashboard. Or use Zapier's Calendly integration to connect Calendly to 1,500+ other apps.
Here are a few ways you might automate your Calendly workflow using Zapier:
Automatically create a video conference whenever someone books your time on Calendly so you don't waste time creating and sharing the meeting link.
Connect Calendly to your CRM, email marketing tool, or contact management app to automatically add people to your contacts list when they book you on Calendly.
Automatically create a task in your to-do list or task management app whenever someone schedules a meeting, so you have a space to prepare for the meeting.
Visit Zapier's Calendly integrations page for more ideas and to connect Calendly to thousands of apps.