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How to compress unused hours in Google Calendar

When was the last time you had a 3 a.m. appointment? Google recently released a tool that lets users compress blocks of time they rarely or never use so they don't clutter their layout.

It might not be the worst problem we face in the 21st century, but inveterate Google Calendar users have to stare at large, unused blocks of time (say, 1-4 a.m. or more) in their daily and weekly views. Google just released a Lab that lets us compress those blocks so they stay out of the way until we need them. Here's how to use it: 

  1. Load up Google Calendar (and sign in, if need be). 
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right to bring up the Settings page, then click the Labs tab under Calendar Settings.
  3. Click Enable next to "Hide morning and night," then click Save. 
    Step 3: Enable Hide morning and night.
    Step 3: Enable Hide morning and night.
  4. Head back to your calendar in Daily or Weekly view. Over on the left, just barely visible, you should see a thin gray bar just before 8 a.m. and another just before 5 p.m. Mouse over either to get the pop-up message "Drag to hide this time range." 
    Step 4: Locate drag tool.
    Step 4: Locate drag tool.
  5. Drag away! I found it easier to start with the evening hours, as once you've dragged either slider, both get locked in. 
    Step 5: Compress time blocks.
    Step 5: Compress time blocks.
  6. If you want to open up the time range, it's easy: just click on the compressed row to bring it all back. 

I expect Google will keep working on this, as it's not as flexible as it could be. Still, for those of us who can't stand seeing wasted space, it's a good start.