Shared Google Calendars

Why share calendars?

The biggest question for shared calendars is:  Why share a calendar electronically?  Isn’t that just a pain?  Maybe you are used to “keeping it simple” and just send out some emails or a paper calendar. Flawless approach right?  Actually in practice email and paper calendars become frustrating for the group members and group leaders a like.  Happily, there is a free alternative to that old frustration.  I have been managing large groups calendars since 1983 and using various shared electronic calendars since 1992.  I promise that the process was never easier, cheaper or more relevant than in 2013.  Still, reading this should open calendar possible for your situation

Productive people save time and focus with electronic calendars  

Lets take the average active group with technically challenged leaders. Somebody emails events and then we each individually transfer that to our own preferred calendar.  However, somebody will forget an address, somebody gets the time wrong.  An error yields a flurry of correction emails.  Somebody will surely lose the email or the paper.  If we miss an email we are screwed and when the date comes up we are searching our smartphone at the last minute hoping to find the correct email version with the address or other essential details.  All those things exaust and frustrate members joining groups stuck in inefficient communication systems.
Today a growing number of busy people use smartphone calendars.  Group Google calendars are free and “ical compliant” which means they can be universally viewed live inside the calendar program of any iphone or Droid, blackberry, windows phone, Thunderbird or Outlook calendar.  Meanwhile, many productivity conscious people are dropping off social media and monitoring email only a couple times a week.  We want time to be agenda driven rather than email lead.  The trick for the group is to sync current accurate info into that calendar. Many groups are missing the opportunity to seamlessly reach their members by merging into their pocket calendar.  If you are a group leader not using a shared calendar you are missing the chance to push your events into the pockets of your most productive members.

People who are slow to adapt to electronic calendars continually pay for their resistance.  My wife does electronic most of the time but she still uses our paper wall calendar normally just to schedule family haircuts.  This month she also scheduled parent teacher conferences.  She spent hours scheduling them because the teacher conferences are a bear to schedule.   When she was  finally “done” she emailed me and I politely reminded her that she choose her hair cut night.  The wife was not happy to miss her hair cut and is still struggling to work it out.  On short notice she now gets last choice.  It was a big waste of her time.

With shared electronic calendars many people can always access only the updated calendar so re-scheduling is not a waste of time.  Further, changing information can be replace rather than just re-announced.  It is cleaner, generates less errors, and takes the whole group less time.  Its OK to screw up your own calendar once in awhile, but when a group leader miss-schedules dozens of peoples there is embarrassment and ill will.  On the plus side with a shared group calendar each entry is immediately correctable by other key group members.  Many hands make light work for a calendar  and the peer review makes data more accurate.

What about paper calendar people?  Some people do not have or use a smartphone calendar and or a computer.  Great news! If you are a paper calendar person  we can print our electronic calendar for you.  Choose the format you want.  Weekly, Daily or or easiest to read the “agenda” list of event details.    You could even print our calendar early and then add your other stuff on top of it.  Amazingly we can co exist and paper people saved time too!

How should we handle last minute changes?   When the calendar changes and you want to call this to people’s attention here is what to  announce:  “Due to the sever weather, tonight’s event was rescheduled for tomorrow.  Details are in our Google calendar”.

Send that out by text, twitter and/or email.  Using this method you are leading your group to trust and use its Google calendar.  Once they trust the calendar your work load drops.  Next, get a few members to help manage the calendar and now you just raised productivity in your whole group!  Congratulations!  As members can trust the calendar your emails are fewer and shorter.  I am now much more excited about your more effective group!

Devil in the Details:  One of the problems with the old paper calendars were details missing to fit the limited space.  For example Game time but no field address etc.  How is your child care provider or neighbor to find the field?  Insist that your calendar has who, what when where details.  Include potential ending times and check the address at and see the satellite view matches your expectations.  (Generally that task is just one click).  Add links to relevant websites for rain out info and event registration etc.  If the group has questions your entry is probably incomplete.


How to do it:

Now that we have covered the whys lets get into the details of HOW to work with share group calendars.

Short instructions for those who do not like to read.

How far can you get before you get stuck?

5 examples of public Google Calendar I manage in my smartphone.    Naperville Sunrise Calendar  LTRO Calendar    Galaxy 96-97 boys blue   NNHS Men’s Soccer,  NNFBS

a. Create a Google login.  Assuming you do not already have a google or gmail login the  Create a Gmail address and email the calendar creator to request an invite

b. Login at then look for the 9 little grey dots (3×3).  Choose calendar.  Next add events to the one of your calendars.  (it is not tough)

c. Once you view the calendar in your browser then try your phone or Outlook calendar etc.  (You will want to view all your Google calendars at the same time if practical).

d. Shared calendars means shared responsibility for posting updates. Calendars are truly “garbage in/garbage out.  Let us know about changes and updates because wrong information is worse than no information.

e. Let the calendar owner know of others who can help edit the group calendar.

f.  Sync your personal electronic calendar events into your own personal Google calendar.  Now you can see all events side by side.  See Sync with Microsoft Outlook – Google Calendar Help or App Store – GooCal (Google Calendar™ sync) – Apple etc

g. If you got stuck, skim the information below for additional details you missed or call Jim Ensign


More detailed step by step tutorials for Google calendars: 

1.  Create calendar and invites.  The calendar creator has to invite your email address to a calendar and assign you permissions that match your needs.  permissions can include:  add/edit events, manage sharing,  view only ( I probably did step 1 for you already when I created the calendar.

2. Your Google Login:  You may already have a Google login or a Gmail address.  If you do then this step is already done. Skip to step 3.    However most people have neither a Google login nor a Gmail account.  The trick is to tie the email address that your group already knows for you to a Google account.   It used to be that you could  create a Google login for any email address.  (Those were the days!)   Unfortunately, since the advent of Google+ plus they have gotten very aggressive in encouraging Gmail accounts.  In Mid 2013 Google began forcing new users to tie all Google accounts to a Gmail address.  So here is the work around for tying your regular Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL mail, the email address your Internet provider gave you, or even your corporate email address to your Google account.

a. If you do not have a Google or Gmail login just  Create a Gmail address.   Remember to add you cell phone number and your other email address when creating your Google profile.

b.  Next add your other email address as Alternate Gmail address. See: add an alternate email address and/or Connect other email accounts to your Google Account

3.  Login and find the calendar. At or in your browser just click login.  Once logged in, Choose calendar.  Everybody with a Google account starts with one empty calendar.  People who have been invited to a shared calendar get a second calendar and so on.  Generally events in different calendars display in the same view but use different colors for different calendars.  Cubs are blue, Bears are orange, Blackhawks Red etc.

4.  See all your calendars, add events.  On the left margin you will see My calendars and 1 or more calendars listed.  You should see: NNHSMS or LisleGOP etc or Expand the triangle to see it.  Click the box and the box changed s color.  When the box is colored events will show in that view.  Clear the box to hide the events from that calendar.  Check the boxes to overlay a view of each calendar in the main portion of the screen.  So far I only entered an event on October 3rd.  If you are reading this you are probably authorized to add events to the calendar. Remember you have multiple calendars.  So when you create your events please choose the “your calendar calendar not your own calendar.

5.  Pass the word:.  OK so we now have a calendar with events.  We can email that out,  share it with family and fans

Send out details by saying:      Event name has been added to our group calendar for July 28.   Lead the group to find and rely on the calendar.

6.  View in any browser:  This calendar has been shared publicly so you can view it read only in any browser without logging in:

7. Embed calendar in your web page.  If you administer a web page you can embed the calendar in that page.  (Viewers are read only.  See examples at  LTRO Calendar,  NNHS Soccer    or Naperville Sunrise Calendar)

8. View your favorite shared calendar in your other calendar software.  Apple calendar, Outlook, and thunderbird users can view (not edit) any ics calendar inside their calendar program.  It requires a little knowledge on your program and the ics link to your favorite calendar below.  See also:  View a Google Calendar within Outlook 2007’s calendar – How-To Geek

ICS links for use in calendar software on a desktop or laptop

Need more?

WOW, still reading?  You are either stuck on something or a glutton for punishment. Call Jim or find help  below:
 Shared Calendar, Related information and Support:

Sync Google Calendar with your iPhone or Android phone for access to your schedule wherever you are.

You can find more useful information in Google’s Help Center.

Get Started with CalDAV – Google Calendar Help

Companies can move to Google Calendar to make sharing easier.  Learn how

Customize your calendar with the new Labs settings page

see also:

Sync Outlook, Calendar and Contacts (trustedCTO post)


How to sync multiple Google Calendars on BlackBerry 10

Blackberry Sync Multiple Google Calendars or Sub Calendars on BB Playbook

Multiple Google Calendars without ‘Calendar Sync’ app SOLVED …

BlackBerry World – Google Calendar Launcher

Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Lotus Notes 

How can I sync Google Calendar with Lotus Notes 8.5?

Can I sync Google Calendar with Lotus Notes or Blackberry


View a Google Calendar within Outlook 2007’s calendar – How-To Geek

 Sorry:  Google Calendar Sync for Outlook expired Aug 2014.  You should uninstall Google calendar Sync and just use Google Chrome on your pc to access your calendars.     How to sync Google Calendar with Outlook 2010 and 2013

Troubleshoot GoogleCalendarSync issues:

           GO Contact Sync Mod


Some have been able to add at Google calendar to their iPhone by clicking + Google Calendar  button on the lower right corner of their browser.  (There may be a syncing delay of 30 minutes to a few hours.

OS X Lion: Import Google Calendars to iCloud

Sync Google Calendar with your iOS device

Sync Outlook, Calendar and Contacts (TrustedCTO)

Can iCloud sync with Google calendar…: Apple Support Communities

How To Sync Your Shared Google Calendars with Your iPhone

Google Calendar not showing up on iPhone – Google Product Forums

How do I sync multiple calendars to my iPhone calendar? – Google 

How to sync multiple Google Calendars to your iPhone or iPad

Sync shared Google Calendars to your iOS device : Google Apps Tips

As an alternative you might also see also check the iPhone app store for  CalenMob Pro – Google Calendar Client for iPhone

Syncing multiple Google calendars to iPhone | Macworld


seeing shared calendars on android …

Google Calendars Not appearing on Android phone

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