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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Google Calendar integration with iCal, Outlook

by Ken Newquist / October 2, 2008

One of my goals this fall has been to get my calendars under control, and to do a better job of keeping track of what I'm doing (and where I'm supposed to be doing it). Somedays that works better than others (Monday, in which I forgot my wife had yoga, would be one of the bad days) but all in all I'm making progress. A big reason for this is that I'm syncing my home and work calenders in iCal via Google Calendar. My calendars "live" on Google, but I'm able to add and edit events via iCal thanks to Google CalDAV support. This article explains how to get it working:

The beauty of this is that since it's all on Google, my wife can log in using her Google account, add events to the home calendar, and see what I'm up to at work. When I have a chance, I want to take things a step further, and get calendar syncing working on her Windows computer via Outlook, which will allow her to do the same thing I'm doing with iCal. Instructions for syncing Google Calendar and Outlook can be found here:

The one problem I had with this (which was my undoing on Monday) was that I can't set alarms via Google itself; I have to do that in iCal. Now that I know this, I've gone in and set an audio reminder in iCal for Sue's yoga sessions, so with any luck every device I own should now buzz/beep/vibrate to remind me that hey, I should really be heading home.

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I've been using Google Calendar Sync (for Outlook) for about 6 months now, and it's awesome. It's great to be able to access my work calendar anywhere via the web. We seem to get busier every year, and scheduling family events, doctor appts, etc. around our work schedules is really difficult otherwise. Before, it always seemed like we couldn't make any plans from at home, because I couldn't check my work appointments.

A couple months ago, we also got Blackberrys at work, so since they sync with our Exchange server, I literally have my calendar anywhere I go. Very useful!

Syncing to handhelds is also a godsend; I've got my Mac syncing to my iPod (useful) and the development iPod Touch I have for work (way, way more useful). The nice thing about the Touch is that the interface is much easier to read than on the regular iPod, and I can add new events (which is handy if I'm in a meeting).

I imagine any handheld offers the same advantages, but where this all really comes together -- as you pointed out -- is when it syncs back to Google and then WHAMMO you have your calendar anywhere you have internet access. Which, at least for most geeks, is everywhere.

It doesn't negate the need to sit down and talk about family schedules, but it sure does make keeping track of it all a lot easier.

I use both Outlook (at work) & Google Calendar (home). One utility i find very useful for merging the two is WinCalendar. It alows me to import both into a fully formatted Excel or Word based calendar. There is a free version at available at This comes in very handy if you need to further customize & then print out the calendar to use as flyers to promote events.

Sam A

Right! I get in trouble for that part all the time.

Me: "So you're going to your sister's this afternoon and I have the kids, right?"

Awesome Wife: "No, moron, we're going to my sisters this morning and you have to drop off the kids at daycare!"

Me: (hanging head in shame).

PDA's are great, but it's the auto sync that I need and love, which allows me to function something like a normal human being.

WebDAV in gcal is new isn't it? I heard from a friend who relied on the web interface too much that he couldn't sync reliably with his ical. Have to go nudge him to look it up again.

What I really need is an auxillary brain. Or better yet, one of those BrainPal's from John Scalzi's Old Man's War. For now, Google Calendar will have to do. :)

With regards to WebDAV support in Google, it's a relatively new thing; I think they rolled it out sometime in the last six months but we didn't get to playing around with it at work until the summer.