google calendar sync-1.jpgAt work I use Outlook to manage my email and calendar, but I was looking for a way to sync my calendar with Google. It wasn’t that long ago that Google decided to release an Outlook syncing tool so that you’re able to do exactly what I wanted. Well, almost what I wanted.

The only problem I was having was that it wanted to sync with the default calendar on my account. I use the default calendar for personal stuff, and I didn’t really want the two intermingled. Similarly I wanted to leave my personal calendar as the default since that is what I add the most events to.

So how could I get around this problem? I was casually talking with a friend and I brought up how unbelievable it is that Google wouldn’t give you the option to pick which calendar you want to sync with. This kind of thing seems like a no-brainer to me, but it’s ultimately their product and they’re the ones calling the shots. He ran into the same issue, and his workaround was rather clever.

What he does is use two Google accounts: one is his primary account and the other is a secondary account dedicated solely for work events and appointments. He syncs Outlook with the secondary account, and then shares that calendar (both read and write access) with his primary account. Pretty clever. Here’s a breakdown for those of you that like pretty numbered lists:

  1. Create an extra Google Calendar account, or you can just reuse one of the many you probably have already.
  2. Share the default calendar from the secondary account (a.k.a. the work account) with your primary account. This can be done in the Google Calendar settings, and you’ll want to be sure to give the user both read and write access to the calendar.
  3. Download the Google Sync tool, and get it installed on your machine. Configure it to use the secondary account that you just created.

That’s all there is to it. Once you’ve completed those steps you will be proudly syncing your Outlook Calendar to the non-default Google Calendar located on your primary account. It might sound like more work than it’s worth, but I guess it all depends how badly you want this kind of setup. Really though, it only takes a few minutes to get it going.

There Are 15 Comments

  1. Great solution! I ran into the same problem and wanted to sync multiple Google calendars with multiple Outlook calendars though. I wish I could sync my work calendar with Google, but my company doesn’t allow it (there could be sensitive information in there, which is not allowed to reside on third party servers).

    • Our company isn’t too strict about stuff like this. After all, they don’t even block email forwarding which means you could forward all of your emails to some other third-party account.

  2. I use Sunbird with Google Calendar. But it’s cool that Google released that plugin, very helpful.

    • I use Sunbird at home on my Windows machine, but at work we pretty much have to use Outlook. Otherwise it would be difficult to manage appointment invites and what not.

  3. Damn good solution. Works flawlessly!


  4. Your friend is a genius!

  5. Thank you! I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t do this using a built in solution, but this is so simple, its beautiful.

  6. It’s a good solution if you use Google as your primary tool for planning and email, but if you use Outlook, you will still only have ONE calendar in sync! :(

    • I am with Tilt here.

      I use outlook as my main calendar and have two calendars (within outlook) running at the same time (let’s call them my primary outlook calendar and secondary outlook calendar).

      I would like to have the ability to sync these two outlook calendars (primary and secondary) with one (or even perhaps two google calendar accounts). My ultimate goal is to see both outlook calendar events on my iPhone in either a combined or overlayed structure using whatever iPhone application that will help me achieve this.

      Any help would be greatly appreciated as currently google calendar sync will only sync with outlook’s primary calendar.

  7. Brilliant! I was downloading third-party crappy options all day and then this came up. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  8. Great stuff, massively helpful. Wish Google had thought of it in the first place…

  9. haha, what a neat work-around. thank you!

  10. My problem is the exact opposite.
    I have multiple calendars in my Outlook (one for each family member) and I want to sync those calendars from Outlook (which are not Default since we all use the same computer) to my Google Calendar.
    So my Outlook Calendar Folder is sync’ed with my Google Calendar
    My Wifes Outlook Calendar Folder is sync’ed with her Google Calendar
    This solution (as far as I can see) does not address this poblem?

    • Jakob – agreed – we want to sync one company non-primary shared Outlook calendar (“On-Call”) with one secondary google calendar in case of infrastructure problems where we can’t see the Outlook shared On-Call calendar. Not sure which tool accomplishes this task, but it does not appear to be this one, or this use of it – any ideas?

  11. Thank you sir! I was thinking about this and was equally confused as to what google was thinking. I already had a backup email account I use for bulk email account so this was a very fast solution for my troubles. Thank your friend; I owe both of you a coffee.

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