Most people find this feature extremely useful, but for some reason it continues to languish in the cold dark corners of Gmail’s “labs”. The Calendar Gadget will add the ability to switch between the “chat” gadget and a very compact version of your calendar. Without enabling the calendar gadget, you’re stuck with chat-only.

Compact instructions (screenshots below):

  1. Click on the ‘gear wheel’ icon in your gmail screen.
  2. Click ‘settings’
  3. In the settings window, click ‘labs’
  4. Scroll down until you find the Calendar Gadget.  Enable it.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom and click ‘Save Changes’ (while you’re scrolling, there are a lot of other gems in here!  See my posts on other useful labs)
  6. In your inbox, below the chat gadget (lower left), there should now be a small button with three black squares.  Click that button and your calendar should appear!
  7. The “quick add” feature is probably the thing I use most often.

Screen shot guide: