How to Sync Outlook and Google Calendars in 2024

Google calendar logo sync symbol outlook calendar logo

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!

Introduction

Read this article to learn:

  • The problem that arises from having multiple calendars which are not synced. (It is pretty confusing so it helps to lay it out explicitly.)
  • Some things that DON’T work for syncing Google and Outlook calendars (even though many Bing and Google searches suggest they do!)
  • A way that you can sync one Google calendar to one Outlook calendar for free, without any third-party tools
  • How to use CalendarBridge to automatically, two-way sync Outlook and Google calendars.

In This Article

The problem with having both Google and Outlook calendars

Consider Adele. At work she has a Microsoft 365 account associated with her work email address adele@contoso.com. But she also has a Google calendar associated with adele@acme.com. The problem is

  • when her Contoso coworkers check her availability in Outlook, it doesn’t consider her Google calendar.
  • when her Acme coworkers check her availability in Google Calendar, it doesn’t consider her Outlook calendar.
Adele's Google Calendar
Adele's Google calendar
Adele's unsynced outlook calendar
Adele's Outlook calendar
Availability in Outlook does not consider Google calendar
Availability in Outlook does not consider Google calendar
Availability in Google does not consider Outlook calendar
Availability in Google does not consider Outlook calendar

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.

Outlook does not know availability of external users
Outlook does not know availability of external users
Google cannot show availability of external users
Google cannot show availability of external users

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.

Subscribe, Upload, Add from URL, and Import do not solve the problem of having multiple calendars

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):

The "subscribe" and "import" features of Outlook and Google Calendar do not sync availability, and are generally too slow to be reliable

Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar settings

Google and Outlook share calendar features do not solve the problem of having multiple calendars

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:

  • To share a between Google and Outlook, the calendar  needs to be made public.
  • Making a calendar public and sharing it has the same limitations as the “subscribe from web” and “add from Internet/URL” options discussed above — events are added as a separate calendar and may take 24 hours or more to update.
  • Most companies block the ability to share your calendar with people outside your organization.

Sync Google calendar to Outlook calendar for free with no third-party tools

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:

  • have 1 Google calendar and 1 Microsoft 365 Outlook calendar (does not work for personal Outlook calendars); and
  • need to sync from Google calendar to Outlook calendar, but not the other direction.

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

  • need to sync from Outlook calendar to Google calendar;
  • need to sync in both directions between Google calendar and Outlook calendar
  • need to sync more than 2 calendars
  • need to sync to a personal Microsoft calendar (an @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com address)

Then skip to the next section.

1. Log into Outlook on the Web (outlook.office.com)

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.

2. Go to the calendar tab and click "Add calendar"

Outlook on the Web Calendar tab
Click "Add calendar" in Outlook on the Web

3. Select "Add personal calendars" and then "Google"

Outlook on the web Add personal calendars interface
Select "Add personal calendars" then "Google"

3. Sign in to your Google Account

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.

Google sign in - select account
Select the Google account to log in to.

4. Confirm you want to connect your Google account to your Microsoft account

Click “Continue.”

Confirm connecting Google account to Microsoft
Confirm connecting your Google account to Microsoft

5. Grant Microsoft the requested permissions.

Click “allow.”
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).

Permissions requested by Microsoft
Confirm you want to grant Microsoft these permissions.

6. Verify you now see your Google calendar in outlook.

Refresh the page and you should now see your Google calendar as a separate calendar in Outlook

Outlook with Google calendar connected.
Google calendar now shown in Outlook on the Web.

Now your coworkers see your combined availability 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.

Availability in Outlook now reflects her Google calendar
Availability in Outlook now reflects 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.

How to two-way sync Outlook and Google calendars using CalendarBridge

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: 

  • sync to and from Google calendars
  • sync to and from personal Microsoft calendars (@outlook.com, @hotmail.com. @live.com, and @msn.com addresses)
  • two-way sync between Google and Outlook calendars (i.e., sync Google availability to Outlook and outlook Availability to Google)
  • sync up to 6 calendars in both directions or up to 36 calendars in one direction.

Create a CalendarBridge account (7-day free trial)

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.

Connect your Google and Outlook accounts

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.

Configure which calendar events to sync and how to sync them

Each sync connection defines:

  • a source calendar from which to copy events/availability 
  • a destination calendar to which to copy the events/availability
  • privacy settings to control which specific fields/information you want to sync. You can sync all details, no details (just create “busy” slots on the destination calendar), or somewhere in between. 
  • filters to exclude certain events from syncing. 

View your synced calendars

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!

Why sync your Outlook and Google Calendars with CalendarBridge?

  1. Calendar updates sync in seconds. Unlike the import, upload from file, subscribe from web, and add from URL features built into Google Calendar and Outlook, CalendarBridge provides automatic, real-time calendar syncing so you and your colleagues always see your up-to-the-minute availability.

  2. Privacy controls. With CalendarBridge you can sync as little or as much detail between calendars as you want. If you want to be able to see all the details of your events in both calendars, you can do that.  If you want to make sure even I.T. administrators can’t see the details of your synced events, you can do that too.

  3. Simple setup. Setting up CalendarBridge to sync your Outlook and Google Calendars takes just a few minutes. There is nothing to configure or install on any of your devices.

Reduce Stress

Stop the multi-calendar chaos

Spend less time managing your calendars and more time getting things done.