Share and synchronize your Outlook and Google calendars

Keep all your appointments in single place, and make them accessible to you and anyone else in your browser.

Since I started synchronizing my e-mail inboxes a few months ago, I rarely even open my Outlook mail client. I much prefer seeing the messages sent to my ISP's POP account and those sent to my Gmail account together in my Gmail inbox. But I still have to open Outlook to view my calendar, which I've been using for years, even though I now put many of my nonwork appointments in Google Calendar, which I can access from my iPhone or any Internet-connected PC.

I thought I found a free program that would let me synchronize the two calendars automatically. Synchronization Technologies' SyncMyCal claims to let you sync multiple Outlook calendars with your Google Calendar. I gave the program a try, but I while it let me transfer the entries on my Google Calendar to my Outlook equivalent, I couldn't get all my Outlook appointments to register on Google Calendar.

I'll keep troubleshooting the problem, though I hope I don't have to upgrade to the $25 SyncMyCal Pro version, which automates the calendar syncs, and lets you work with appointments in time chunks longer than the free version's limit of 7 days. Until then I'll stick with the manual approach to Outlook/Google Calendar integration.

Send your Google Calendar entries to Outlook 2003 and 2007
Start by logging into your Google account and opening your calendar. Click the Manage calendars link at the bottom of the left pane, and then click the name of the calendar to open the Calendar Details dialog box. Scroll to Private Address near the bottom of the window, and click ICAL.

Google Calendar's Calendar Details window, showing the Private Address options.
Click ICAL next to Private Address in Google Calendar's Calendar Details dialog to generate the URL you'll use to import the calendar to Outlook.

Unfortunately, Outlook 2003 doesn't support the iCalendar format. I was able to add Google Calendar entries to my Outlook 2003 calendar one at a time by clicking the link in the popup window to download the entry, opening the file in Outlook, and clicking Save and Close. But this approach isn't any faster than adding the entries manually.

At least Outlook 2007 lets you import an iCalendar file directly: Copy the long URL in the Google Calendar's Private Address popup window, open your Outlook calendar, and click File>Import and Export. Choose Import an iCalendar (.ics) or vCalendar file (.vcs), and click Next. Paste the URL you copied from the popup into the File name field at the bottom of the Browse dialog box, and click Open. Click Import, and your Google Calendar entries are added to your Outlook calendar.

Outlook 2007's iCalendar-import dialog box
Import your Google Calendar as an iCalendar file (.ics) to add its entries to your Outlook 2007 calendar.

Transfer your Outlook calendar to Google Calendar
To move your Outlook schedule to your Google Calendar, Open Outlook 2003 or 2007 and click File>Import and Export>Export to a file>Next. Choose Comma Separated Values (Windows) and click Next again. Navigate to and select your Calendar folder (it should be highlighted by default), and click Next yet again. In Outlook 2003, verify the location of the saved .csv file (change it if you want to place it elsewhere), and click Next once more. In Outlook 2007, select a location for the file, give it a name, and click OK and then Next. Click Finish, set the date range for the calendar entries to be exported, and click OK.

Now open your Google Calendar, click the small down arrow next to Add in the left pane, and choose Import Calendar. Select the Browse button, navigate to and select the .csv file you just created, and click Open. Choose the calendar you want to import it to (it will likely be selected by default), and click Import.

Google Calendar's file-import settings.
Select the .csv file you exported from Outlook to import it to your Google Calendar.

Tomorrow: What to do when Windows craps out.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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