Having both a Google calendar and an Outlook calendar is a problem when your coworkers depend your availability being accurate in Outlook or Google Calendar. This article is going to show you how to sync Outlook and Google calendars so your colleagues see your accurate availability across both calendars. No more living in fear of getting double booked!
Read this article to learn:
Consider Adele. At work she has a Microsoft 365 account associated with her work email address email@example.com. But she also has a Google calendar associated with firstname.lastname@example.org. The problem is
Even if coworkers know she has multiple calendars and they try to invite her other email addresses, it still will not work because Outlook and Google cannot show availability for users outside your organization.
So if you have been getting double booked by coworkers who can’t see all your calendars, or if your boss or coworkers are just annoyed at always having to email you to check your availability, the rest of this article shows you a couple ways to sync your Outlook and Google calendars so that coworkers see your correct availability.
If you run a Bing or Google search for “How to sync Google and Outlook calendars,” many of the top search results will recommend using “Subscribe from web” or “Upload from file” in Google, or using “Add calendar from URL” or “Import” in Outlook. None of these features will keep your calendars in sync. Here is a short summary of what those features do and their intended use.
Google Calendar “Add calendar from URL”
When you add calendar from URL in Google Calendar, Google will add it as a secondary calendar in your account. Because it is a separate calendar from your primary Google calendar, availability on the subscribed calendar will not affect your availability that coworkers see in Google Calendar. Also, because “it might take up to 24 hours for changes to show in your Google Calendar.” it is not useful for viewing a calendar that changes regularly. Rather, Add calendar from URL is really intended for calendars that don’t change much, such as holidays, sports team schedules, etc.
Google Calendar “Import” calendar
The “import” function in Google Calendar is a one-time copy of events to your Google calendar. There is no ongoing connection to the imported calendar. Thus, “import” differs from “Add calendar from URL” in two ways: (1) Google will not periodically check the imported calendar for updates; (2) you can import events into your primary calendar whereas “Add calendar from URL” adds a secondary calendar to your Google Calendar.
Outlook “Subscribe from web” or “Add from Internet”
This feature, which is named differently in different versions of Outlook, is the same as Google’s “Add calendar from URL.” When you add calendar from URL in Outlook, Outlook will add it as a secondary calendar, and “updates can take more than 24 hours.” Because it is a separate calendar from your primary Outlook calendar, availability on the subscribed calendar will not affect your availability that coworkers see in Outlook. Also, because it is only updated every 24 to 48 hours, it is not useful for viewing a calendar that changes regularly. Rather, subscribe from web is really intended for calendars that don’t change much, such as holidays, sports team schedules, etc.
Outlook “Import” or “Upload from file”
The “Upload from file” function in Outlook is a one-time copy of events to your Outlook calendar. There is no ongoing connection to the imported calendar. Thus, “import” differs from “Subscribe from web” in two ways: (1) Outlook will not periodically check the imported calendar for updates; (2) you can import events into your primary calendar whereas “Subscribe from web” adds a secondary calendar to Outlook .
Because there is so much bad advice out there about this, it bears repeating (louder this time):
Google Calendar and Outlook both have the ability to “share” your calendar with others. The various sharing options are a pretty complicated, but for our purposes here it is enough to point out these limitations of “sharing” your Google or Outlook calendar:
If you run a Bing or Google search for “How to sync Google and Outlook calendars,” many of the top search results will recommend “importing” your calendar, or subscribing to your calendar by adding your calendar “from Internet” or “from URL.” Unless the calendar you are trying to add changes very infrequently — think holidays, sports schedules, etc. — then importing your calendar or subscribing to your calendar is not going to work.
Because there is so much bad advice out there about this, let me say it louder:
This first method I will show you works for the limited scenario where you:
If this fits your criteria, then this section will show you how to do it in Outlook on the Web.
If you have more complex calendar syncing needs, such as
Then skip to the next section.
As of March 2024, Syncing your Google Calendar to your Outlook Calendar for free, without any third-party tools, can only be done from Outlook on the Web — not from any other versions of Outlook. Please note, outlook.office.com is not the same as outlook.com, which hosts personal Microsoft calendars. This technique is not available on outlook.com.
Either pick the account you want to use from the list, or type in your Google username and password. Note that you are signing directly into Google — Microsoft will not see your Google password.
Note that you will have to grant Microsoft access to your Google mail, drive, contacts, and calendar (Don’t want to grant all those permissions, check out CalendarBridge instead).
Refresh the page and you should now see your Google calendar as a separate calendar in Outlook
Now when in Adele’s organization goes to schedule a meeting with her in Outlook, it correctly shows she is busy when she is busy on her Google calendar.
Unfortunately, using this free calendar syncing method built into Outlook on the Web, Adele’s outlook availability does not sync to Google calendars. If Adele needs availability in her Google to reflect her Outlook calendar, she will need to use the method in the next section.
If your calendar syncing needs go beyond syncing one Google calendar to one Office 365 Outlook calendar, CalendarBridge is the best calendar syncing service to do it.
Some example use cases of CalendarBridge:
Follow these instructions on How to Create a CalendarBridge Account to create a free 7-day trial of CalendarBridge. No credit card is required for the free trial.
Follow these instructions on Connecting your Google and Outlook calendars to CalendarBridge. CalendarBridge connects via OAuth (“login with Google” and “login with Microsoft”) so that we never see your Microsoft or Google credentials and you can revoke our access at anytime from your Google or Microsoft account settings.
Each sync connection defines:
CalendarBridge does not store your calendars anywhere. We simply copy events directly between your Outlook and Google calendars. This means that you continue to view your calendars in whichever calendar app you already use — Google calendar, Outlook, the iPhone calendar app . . . wherever!
Spend less time managing your calendars and more time getting things done.