How to Use Google Sidebar

Image of a person checking a calendar while working at the computer

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Look on the right side of the screen when you’re working in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, or Google Slides. You’ll find the Google sidebar. The Google sidebar is a quick way to view your schedule, type notes to yourself, and keep track of things you need to do.

You’ll only see the Google sidebar in Google’s web apps. The sidebar does not display in Google apps that run on Android, iPhone, and iPad.

What You’ll Find on the Google Sidebar

The Google sidebar is designed to help you work more efficiently and manage your work without leaving the Google G Suite app you’re using. This makes it easy for you to use two apps side-by-side.

Inside the Google sidebar, you’ll find:

  • Google Calendar: Manage your time by keeping track of your appointments, meetings, and other events.
  • Google Keep: Take notes and makes lists that can be shared with others.
  • Google Tasks: Stay organized by creating lists of the things you need to get done.
  • Add more apps: Get quick access to the G Suite Marketplace where you’ll find additional add-ons that can be used inside the Google sidebar.

Show and Hide the Google Sidebar

The Google sidebar is found in several commonly used Google apps. You’ll find it on the right in a side panel.

Show/hide Google Sidebar button in Gmail

Want to make more room on your screen? Want to hide the sidebar apps? Close the panel. To close the sidebar, select Hide side panel at the bottom of the sidebar.

If you change your mind and want to view the sidebar apps, select Show side panel at the bottom of the screen.

View Your Calendar

You can quickly view your calendar while working in Gmail. This comes in handy when you want to know what your schedule looks like before you make plans. Here’s how:

  1. Select Calendar from the Google sidebar. The Calendar opens to show the current day.

    Forward and backward arrows in Calendar sidebar
  2. Go to the calendar date that you want to see. Here's how to navigate through the calendar:

    • View a different month: Select the drop-down arrow next to the current date and choose either Previous month or Next month. Scroll through the months until you find the month you want.
    • View a different date: Select Previous day or Next day until you find the day you want. The date selected will show at the top of the pane.
  3. Add an event to the calendar: Navigate to the date of the event and select the time for the event. Fill in the information and select Save when you’re finished.

    Title field and Save button in Google Calendar sidebar in Gmail
  4. To view the calendar in the Calendar web app, select Open in new tab.

    Open in new tab button for Gmail sidebar and Google Calendar

Keep Important Notes and Lists

Keep track of your shopping lists, reminders, and other notes that you want to refer to from time to time with Google Keep.

Here’s how to add a new note:

  1. To open Keep, select Keep in the Google Sidebar.

  2. Select Take a note to create a new note.

    Take a note button in Google Notes sidebar via Gmail
  3. Give your note a title and type the text for your note.

    Note section in Google Docs sidebar
  4. Select Done when you’re finished.

    If you want to see your notes in the Keep web app, select Open in new tab.

  5. When you’re finished using Keep in the sidebar, select Close.

Create a To-do List

When you're ready to convert your shopping lists and to-do lists from plain paper to an electronic list, give Google Tasks a try.

To use Tasks:

  1. Select Tasks from the Google sidebar.

  2. Select Get started if this is the first time you’re using tasks.

  3. Select Add a task.

    Add a task button in Google sidebar via Google Docs
  4. Type the text for the task.

    Newly-created task in Sidebar via Google Docs
  5. To add more tasks to the list, select Add a task.

  6. When you’ve completed the task, place a checkmark next to the task.

  7. To organize your tasks by categories, select the down-arrow next to My Tasks and choose Create new list.

    Want to create a reminder? Drag a Gmail message onto the Tasks apps.

  8. When you’re finished using your task list, select Close.

Find Add-ons for the Google Sidebar

The G Suite Marketplace contains many thrid party tools that can be used along with your favorite G Suite apps. Browse the marketplace to find an add-on that will make your work easier.

To add an add-on to the Google sidebar:

  1. Open Gmail or Calendar.

  2. Select Get Add-ons.

    Get Add-Ons button in Sidebar via Gmail

    The add-ons that appear in the list will be different depending on whether you are using Gmail or Calendar.

  3. Search for an app or browse the list.

  4. Select the app you want.

  5. Select Install and follow the instructions to add the add-on to your Google sidebar.