Woman using Microsoft Outlook application, close-up
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It’s common to use a third-party calendar such as Google Calendar even if you also use Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar feature. One might use Outlook on your PC and Google Calendar on mobile devices. With two different calendars, you might want to see events from both Google and Outlook on the same calendar to avoid scheduling mistakes. Fortunately, this is possible.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to import Google Calendar files into Microsoft Outlook. In a future article, I’ll show you how to subscribe to Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook.

I’m using Microsoft Outlook desktop and Google Calendar with Edge on a Windows 10 64-bit system. You can use older versions through Outlook 2013. Don’t worry if your steps don’t match the article perfectly. If you encounter a difference, it should be slight.

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What’s the difference between import and subscribe?

When importing a Google calendar file (.ics), you’ll get a one-time static picture of existing events that you can then overlay with your Microsoft Outlook calendars. Keep in mind that Google and Outlook aren’t syncing. Anything you add to Google Calendar after the import will not show up in Microsoft Outlook.

Subscribing to Google Calendar creates a connection between the two calendar apps so adding an event to Google Calendar will show up in your Outlook calendar. It’s important to note that the connection goes only one way — from Google to Outlook. Any events you add to Outlook Calendar will never show up in Google Calendar via this connection, but you can do it.

How to import a Google calendar file

You might be wondering why you would want to import a static display of Google Calendar events. If you’re moving everything from Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook, there won’t be any more events to see, so you won’t need a dynamic connection to your Google Calendar. Should such an occasion arise, you can import a Google calendar into Microsoft Outlook as follows:

  1. Using your favorite browser, open Google Drive and choose Calendar. You can also open your Gmail account using your favorite browser to get to your calendar.
  2. Select My Calendars in the pane to the left and then choose Settings from the gear icon into the top-right (Figure A).
  3. Select Import & Export in the left pane and then click Export in the dropdown. At the top of the resulting pane, you can import. Click Export, as shown in Figure B, which is below the import options.
  4. When prompted by your browser, save the calendar file. Depending on your browser settings, it may automatically save the file to the Downloads folder. If the browser prompts you to do so, select a location to save the exported file. Be sure to note the location so you don’t forget, especially if you’re not going to import it right away. Google will download a file using your email address in the name.
  5. Find the exported file. Right-click and choose Extract All.
  6. Choose a location, as shown in Figure C, and click Extract. Because these are temporary files, there’s no reason to change the default location. To see the extracted files, check the Show Extracted Files When Complete option. If you have multiple Google calendars, you’ll have an .ics file for each. There are two Google Calendar files shown in Figure D.

Figure A

Select My Calendars.

Figure B

Export My Calendars files.

Figure C

Extract the Google calendar files.

Figure D

You may have more than one calendar file.

After exporting the Google Calendar file(s), import one into Microsoft Outlook as follows:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook desktop and go to the Calendar window.
  2. Click the File tab and select Open & Export from the left pane.
  3. Choose Import/Export to launch the Import and Export Wizard.
  4. Choose Import an iCalendar (.ics) or vCalendar file and then click Next.
  5. Browse to the extracted Google files (Figure E).
  6. Select a calendar file and click Open. You can import only one .ics file at a time.
  7. Click OK, then choose Open as New or Import, as shown in Figure F, to import the calendar events. This choice is up to you. If you import it as a new calendar, you can display them together, as shown in Figure G, or overlay them to combine events into a single view.

Figure E

Choose the Google calendar you want to import.

Figure F

Import the calendar.

Figure G

Display the calendars together in Microsoft Outlook.

At this point, you should see all the events stored on your Google Calendar in Microsoft Outlook. Remember, this is a one-time snapshot. If you add or delete events from your Google Calendar after importing, the new events will not show up in Microsoft Outlook.

How to import into Outlook.com

There are accounts of Microsoft Outlook failing to import from Outlook Calendar. It’s usually a server error that you can’t resolve on your own. If this should happen to you, consider using Outlook.com’s calendar as a workaround.

To sync Outlook.com and Google Calendars, do the following:

  1. Open Google Calendars using your browser.
  2. Copy the URL to the Windows Clipboard.
  3. Open Outlook.com and click Add Calendar in the left pane.
  4. Click Upload From File in the left pane.
  5. In the resulting window, click Browse and locate the same file you imported in the section above.
  6. Click Import.

After importing the calendar into Outlook.com, the Google calendar events might appear in Outlook.com’s calendar and in Outlook Desktop under Other Calendars. This technique is unpredictable and may not work. It may show a new calendar, but not show existing events. It’s worth the try.

Stay tuned

Now that you know how to import a Google calendar file into Microsoft Outlook Desktop, you might realize it’s not what you need. If you want to continue to use Google Calendar and see new events in Microsoft Outlook, subscribe to the calendar.

In a future article, I’ll show you how to subscribe to Google Calendar so you can continue to use both calendars and see events from both in Microsoft Outlook.

To learn how to overlay Microsoft Outlook calendars, read How to view multiple calendars at the same time in Outlook.