How to: Sync Multiple Calendars in Google Calendar

If you have multiple Microsoft and/or Google email accounts, getting all those calendars synced up is a crucial step to avoiding missed meetings and double bookings. For many people, the ideal situation would be to sync all their Google and Microsoft calendars in Google Calendar. If you are one of those people, you are in the right place. This article will walk you through how to sync multiple calendars in Google Calendar — even if those calendars exist across multiple Google and Microsoft accounts.

We’ll start with the simpler, but still-confusing (when not using CalendarBridge!) task of getting calendars from one Google account to another Google account. Then move on to getting Microsoft calendars into Google Calendar. (If you are wondering how to sync multiple calendars in Outlook, see here)

TL;DR

  • Google does provide ways of sharing calendars between Google accounts, but setup is a bit confusing. More importantly, when your coworkers use the “find a time” feature in Google Calendar to book time with you, the availability they see will not reflect any of those shared calendars.
  • Microsoft and Google do not play nice with each other. CalendarBridge, on the other hand, can get your Microsoft calendars synced to Google Calendar with just a 5 minute setup. Try it now for free.

Sharing Calendars Between Google Calendar Accounts

Google provides 3 ways to share a calendar from one Google account to another Google account:

1. “Share with specific people” — this workflow is initiated by the sharer (the account that owns the calendar), and is most useful for sharing with a limited number of people whose email addresses you know.

2. “Get a shareable Link” — this workflow is initiated by the sharer, and is convenient for sharing with many people and/or people whose email address you do not know.

3. Request access via “Subscribe to calendar” — this workflow is initiated by the recipient (the account that is being granted access to the calendar).

Using any of these 3 workflows will enable the recipient to see updates to the calendar in real time.

Note: There is a fourth option in which the sharer publishes an internet calender (“ICAL” or “ICS”), and the recipient adds that internet calendar “From URL.” Internet calendars, however, are not updated in real-time — changes can take 12 or more hours to propagate. Therefore, Internet calendars are only suitable for calendars that do not change much, such as holiday calendars.

“Share with specific people”

Instructions for Calendar Sharer
  1. Log into the Google Calendar account that owns the calendar to be shared.

2. Find the calendar to be shared in the left sidebar, click the three dots next to it, then click “Settings and Sharing.”

Google calendar settings and sharing menu
Google calendar settings and sharing menu

3. Scroll down to “Share with specific people” and click the “Add people” button.

Google Calendar "share with specific people"
Google Calendar “share with specific people”

4. Type in the recipient email address and select the permission level to grant the recipient.

NOTE: If the sharer is on a paid Gsuite account, then the default setting is that external users can only see free/busy regardless of which permissions are selected here. Granting the higher levels of permission requires an administrator to change that setting in the Gsuite admin panel.

“Get a shareable link”

Instructions for Calendar Sharer:

1. Log into Google Calendar in her browser.

2. Find the calendar you want to share in the left sidebar, clicks the three dots next to it, then clicks “Settings and Sharing.”

Google calendar settings and sharing menu
Google calendar settings and sharing menu

3. Scroll down to “Access Permissions” and click “Get shareable link.”

Google Calendar "Get a shareable link"
Google Calendar “Get a shareable link”

4. Click “Copy link” to copy the link to your clipboard. Provide to link the recipients in any way you want.

Instructions for Calendar Recipient

1. Paste the link into you broswer address bar (Note: if the you are both sharer and recipient: before pasting the link into your browser, either log out of the sharer account or paste the link into a new incognito/private tab).

2. Log in to your account.

3. Click “Add” on the “Add calendar” popup window that appears.

Google Calendar add shared calendar popup

4. The calendar should show up in the left side panel (try refreshing the page if it does not).

“Subscribe to calendar”

Note, this workflow only works for sharing the sharer’s primary/default calendar. If you would like access to one of the sharer’s non-default calenders, you will have to use one of the “Get a shareable link” and “Share with a specific person” workflows discussed above.

Instructions for Recipient

1. log into Google Calendar in browser.

2. Scroll down to “Other calendars” in the left sidepanel and click the “+” and then click “Subscribe to calendar.”

Google Calendar Subscribe to Calendar
Google Calendar Subscribe to Calendar

3. In the Add calendar box, type the sharee’s email address and press enter.

Google Calendar Subscribe to Calendar
Google Calendar Subscribe to Calendar

If the sharer has already granted the recipient access, their default calendar will be added to the recipient’s list of calendars.

If the sharer has not yet granted the recipient access, the recipient will see a popup to request access. The recipient can enter a message to the sharer, if desired, and click “Request access.”

Google Calendar Subscribe to Calendar request access
Google Calendar subscribe to calendar – request access

This will send an email to the sharer. Once the sharer approves the request, the sharer’s primary/default calendar will be added to the recipient’s “Other calendars”

Shortcomings of Google’s Calendar Sharing Features

As seen above, Google’s built in calendar sharing functionality is cumbersome. Worse, even if you manage to share all your Google calendars between all your accounts, your colleagues still can’t see your true availability because the Google “find a time” feature only takes into account your primary calendar.

To illustrate, consider the example of a user with a Gsuite account and a Gmail account. Through Google’s built-in sharing functions, she has shared her Gmail calendar (“secondary calendar”) with her Gsuite account (“primary calendar”).

Here is what her calendars look like when she is logged in to her Gsuite account:

Secondary calendar comes from another account via Google's built-in sharing features
Secondary calendar comes from another account via Google’s built-in sharing features

And here is what her calendar looks like to her colleagues in the Google “Find a time” feature:

Google's "Find a time" feature does not take the secondary calendar into account
Google’s “Find a time” feature does not take the secondary calendar into account

As you can see, Google’s “find a time” ignores the secondary calendar. According to Murphy’s law, a colleague will inevitably try to jump on that 2:00 – 3:00 timeslot. Ugh. So annoying! After years of struggling with how to sync multiple calendars to google calendar, we decided we had to build an easy way that actually works.

Sync Multiple Calendars to Google Calendar with CalendarBridge

Using CalendarBridge instead of (or alongside) Google’s sharing features helps avoid the aboe hassles. Specifically, CalendarBridge is: (1) simpler to setup than Google’s sharing features; (2) allows the “find a time” feature to show your true availability; and (3) enables syncing Outlook calendars to your Google calendar.

To sync her calendars in CalendarBridge she simply connects her accounts using the familiar “sign in with Google” and “sign in with Microsoft” used all over the Web (the login is hosted by Google/Microsoft — CalendarBridge never sees users’ Google or Microsoft credentials).

Here is her CalendarBridge dashboard after she has added her two Google accounts and an Office 365 account:

CalendarBridge Accounts Dashboard
CalendarBridge Accounts Dashboard

Then she walks through a simple 4-step process to configure how she wants her calendars synced to one another. Here she has configured three bidirectional syncs among the three accounts:

CalendarBridge Sync Connections Dashboard
CalendarBridge Sync Connections Dashboard

Within a few minutes, events from her secondary calendar (on her Gmail account) are synced to her primary calendar (on her Gsuite account):

Gmail calendar synced to Gsuite calendar via CalendarBridge
Gmail calendar synced to Gsuite calendar via CalendarBridge

The result is that the Google “find a time” feature now reflects her correct availability:

CalendarBridge sync results in accurate availability in Google "find a time"
CalendarBridge sync results in accurate availability in Google “find a time”

The same is true for events synced from her Outlook calendar:

Outlook calendar synced to Gsuite calendar via CalendarBridge
Outlook calendar synced to Gsuite calendar via CalendarBridge

The Google “find a time” feature reflects her true availability across all three calendars:

CalendarBridge sync results in accurate availability in Google "find a time"
CalendarBridge sync results in accurate availability in Google “find a time”

Thus, after a single, 5-minute setup on CalendarBridge.com, she and her colleagues can see her up-to-the-minute availability across all of her Google and Outlook calendars. It’s pretty sweet. Try it now for free.