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How to Sync Google Calendar and Outlook

Install Google Calendar Sync to coordinate Outlook and your Google calendar.

One of my clients uses Google Calendar and I've learned to like the calendar app, but I still use Outlook almost exclusively for everything else. Switching between the two calendars was a nuisance. Entering appointments twice was a nuisance. Fortunately, that's all behind me because Google Calendar Sync automatically coordinates both Outlook and Google Calendar:

  • If you enter an appointment in Outlook, it will appear in your Google calendar.
  • If you edit that same appointment in Google Calendar, the sync app will update the same appointment in Outlook.
  • Delete an appointment in either app and Google Calendar Sync deletes it in the other.

…and so on. You get the picture. What you do in one, the tool pushes to the other.

Fortunately, setting things up is almost as easy as running the tool to keep Google Calendar and Outlook coordinated:

  1. On the system that's running Outlook, download and install Google Calendar Sync. Just click the link and then click Save. (I shouldn't have to say this, but do not download anything from the Internet if you aren't running virus protection software.)
  2. Enter the Email address you use with your Google Calendar account.
  3. Enter the password for that account.
  4. For full synchronization, select 2-way in the Sync options. Click the option that best reflects your needs. Later, you can change your settings by double-clicking the Google Calendar Sync system icon in the Windows tray.
  5. Set the interval for automatic synchronization in the Sync every x minutes option. The default is 120 and you might find that adequate—I didn't.
  6. Click Save. It'll take a minute or two to download and install the app. If you have more than one Outlook profile, Outlook will prompt you to choose one.
  7. When the installation is done, click the Close button. (It doesn't stay on top, so it's easy to miss this step.) Google Calendar Sync will run automatically as soon as you install it.

After installing the sync tool, you'll see a new icon in your tray. (This is the icon you double-click to change your settings.) Right-click this icon to sync your calendars manually. Otherwise, the tool will sync your calendars according to the interval setting you entered during the installation process. During this time, the icon displays two opposing arrows that move up and down.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll forget its even running. Speaking only for myself, it runs well and as expected—no surprises. My one complaint is that my Outlook calendar wouldn't display existing items from my Google calendar; it does pick up new items added since installing the tool.

Editor's note: I wanted to mention that the tool, as of June 11, 2010, does not work with Windows 7. I know, because I was asked about it on twitter recently (http://twitter.com/MarkWKaelin). Please Google, update this application.

Do you use a sync tool to reconcile Outlook and another calendar app? If so, which tool? If you're using Google Calendar Sync, is it running as expected for you?

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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