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Quick Tip: Work with your Google Calendar in Outlook

Google Apps Sync lets you use your Google calendar in Microsoft Outlook. Find out why this can be handy and how to set it up.

A few months back Google changed the way users can synchronize Gmail data with Microsoft Outlook. A utility called "Google Calendar sync" was discontinued in favor of "Google Apps sync" which has a broader scope (but is now only applicable to Google Apps Business or Education users running Windows).

Google Apps sync can exchange calendar data between Outlook and Gmail along with email, contacts, notes and tasks. To clarify, true two-way calendar synchronization between Exchange email and Google Apps isn't available via this method; this process entails setting up a new Outlook profile with a PST file which stores your Google calendar data. If you already have an existing Exchange account you can toggle back and forth between your company and your Google Outlook profile to use each separately.

Using Google Apps sync for the entire array of Outlook services has already been covered here on the Google in the Enterprise blog. However, what if you just want to work with your Google calendar data in Outlook? This could come in handy if you want to periodically export an existing Outlook calendar to Gmail or you are more comfortable working with your schedule via the Outlook interface.

Compatibility

Google Apps sync is compatible with Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit). It is not presently supported on Windows 8 or the Mac.

Applicable Outlook versions include 2003, 2007, and 2010 (with this hotfix installed). Google Apps sync isn't supported in Outlook 2013, but rumor has it that you may be able to get Google Apps sync to work with this version by copying gsync32.dll and unifiedlogin.dll from "c:\program files\google\google apps sync" to "c:\program files\microsoft office\office15."

Limitations and precautions

If you just want to get your Outlook calendar into Gmail and then stop using Outlook, Google recommends using Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook tool instead.

If you are interested in this concept because you want to set up your Google Calendar in Outlook for offline access, you should be aware that Google already allows offline Calendar access in Chrome.

Calendar attachments, rich content, and categories won't sync from Outlook to Gmail.

Configuring your Google Apps settings to permit calendar synchronization with Outlook

At present Google is phasing in a new Google Apps Admin console, so there are now two sets of steps. You can tell whether you have the new console because it won't have the blue tabs the old one uses. (Figure A)

Figure A

Follow these settings per the Google Apps Documentation and Support page. (Figure B)

Figure B

Installing Google Apps sync

Close Outlook if it is running, or you will receive an error upon installation stating "Unable to set up a Google Apps Sync account while Microsoft Outlook is running."

Access the Google Apps sync installer page.

Figure C

Click "Download Google Apps Sync."

The tool should install automatically, but if it does not there is a manual install link provided on the page.

Once the program has been successfully installed you will see the following box. (Figure D)

Figure D

Click Close, and then you will be prompted to sign into your Google Account. (Figure E)

Figure E

Enter your Google credentials. It's safe to leave "Remember me" checked if you are using your own password-protected account on this computer. Do not check this setting if this is a shared or public system - however I'd have to ask why anyone would set this sync utility up on such a device!

Once you click Continue, you'll be prompted to create a Google Apps profile in Outlook and be given the option to import data from an existing profile. (Figure F)

Figure F

If you simply want to bring your Google calendar down into a new Outlook profile and work from there, click "Create profile." Then skip down to "Working with your Google Calendar in Outlook."

If you want to import existing Outlook calendar data to this new Outlook profile check off "Import data from an existing profile" (I know it sounds confusing because you're also EXPORTING the data to Google) and uncheck all options except "Calendars." (Figure G)

Figure G

Click "Create profile." The new Outlook profile will be set up. You will see a status screen similar to the following. (Figure H)

Figure H

You will receive a notification that the migration completed. (Figure I)

Figure I

Click OK, then "Done" at the "Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook" screen. (Figure J)

Figure J

Working with your Google Calendar in Outlook

Click "Start Microsoft Outlook" at the next screen. (Figure K)

Figure K

Outlook will start. You'll be prompted to choose the profile you want to use. (Figure L)

Figure L

In the screenshot above, "MS Exchange" is my local corporate Exchange profile. Use the profile called "(your Google Apps email address)-Google Apps." For instance "user@somewhere.com-Google Apps."

When Outlook opens you can view and administer the calendar the same as you would in an Exchange account. (Figure M)

Figure M

Any additional Google calendars you may have (for instance, Sports and Vacation in the screenshot above) will appear in Outlook. Any changes you make in Outlook will be replicated with Gmail using Google Apps Sync; note the icon in the system tray. (Figure N)

Figure N

You can check Sync Status any time by right-clicking the Google Apps Sync icon and choosing "View Sync Status." (Figure O)

Figure O

(You'll also see this box every time you open your Google Apps profile in Outlook).

Reconfiguring Calendar Sync

You can adjust the calendars you want to synchronize between Google and Outlook, just right-click the Google Apps Sync icon. (Figure P)

Figure P

Choose "Select calendars to sync." (Figure Q)

Figure Q

In the above example I opted not to synchronize my Google contacts' birthdays and events or the US Holidays calendar, but I did choose to bring my "Sports and Vacation" calendar into Outlook.

Additional considerations

If you want to rerun the setup process to update your Google calendar with the contents of an Outlook calendar (to reflect company schedule changes for instance) you can do this, but it will create a separate Outlook profile every time. I recommend deleting the Google Apps profile first and then rerunning the procedure from the beginning.

It's also worth pointing out that Google has a page urging you to manage your calendars via Google Calendar, explaining the benefits as well as limitations.

Also read:

About

Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.

6 comments
mathieujv
mathieujv

Tried Google Apps Sync (I have a paid account)... it completely messed up my Outlook settings, replaced my POP configuration with some sort of imap... complete nightmare. I unchecked "email sync" and it still synced my emails, with utter disregard to my choices. I disinstalled this disastrous app in panic and it, thankfully, sort of reverted to my original config, although it changed view settings in every folder I use (and I use a lot). I'm sure there's a way to handle that but it sure isn't obvious when you're short of time and are just looking for a simple solution to do something that Google Calendar Sync used to do in one clic. I can see why Google would want to develop a more complete app. Why they would discontinue an app that worked perfectly for so many people just baffles me.

andy.lin
andy.lin

If you don't have a google app account but only with the free gmail account, you can not use this tool to sync google calendar.


however you can use evo collaborator for outlook 

http://www.evomailserver.com/download.php


it will sync your outlook with free gmail account's contacts and calendar using carddav and caldav protocols.

tachect
tachect

There is a problem with this solution: if you don't have have Administrator rights (which I believe is often true for corporate computers) you can not install it. The solution I use is combining the "Publish Calendar" and "Internet Subscription" Outlook features with a WebDAV based syncing service (e.g. Synqya http://synqya.appspot.com)

michaelkrisa
michaelkrisa

Great article and exactly what I needed to get my calendars synced! Any tips on working my Samsung s3 into this mix of syncing it with outlook contacts?

JRinPDX
JRinPDX

It seems like most of the responses I've read have to do with workarounds allowing you to view/manage your Google Calendar via Outlook. I suspect most people want the opposite. We work for companies that use Outlook, enterprise-wide. But we want the calendar to synch to our phones' Google Calendars so we can see our schedule while on the go. I can see how Google would prefer to try to 'force' us to migrate to their product, but we're up against corporate IT departments here.. it ain't gonna happen. Meanwhile, I suspect millions of people are now left stranded.. having to open their laptops and check Outlook all the time (or be at desktop) vs. simply looking at their phones. It's a HUGE take-away. The only work-arounds I'm aware of are to either sign up for a paid Google Apps account (and go through the convoluted setup) or use the Apps Migration tool (which runs for hours). Or am I missing something simple here?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

It seems like Google is always cancelling the one thing I use most often. Did you use Google Calendar sync? Have you replaced it with Google Apps sync?