Pro tip: Subscribe, Share, and Copy events to Google Calendars

Andy Wolber shows you how to Subscribe, Share and Embed Calendars -- even outside your organization.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar makes it easy to maintain and view several calendars simultaneously. Your primary calendar typically contains your personal schedule. If you use Google Apps, you likely share calendars with close colleagues or access a shared group calendar that many people view and/or edit. You can show or hide calendars as you like.

Google Calendars also allow you to view schedules of external events or share a set of calendars publicly.

Subscribe to Google Calendars

Google provides calendars for many cultural holidays and sporting events. For example, to add a calendar with the Detroit Tigers' game schedule, select the menu to the right of Other Calendars, choose Browse Interesting Calendars, then Sports | Major League Baseball | then select Subscribe to the right of Detroit Tigers (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Subscribe to any public Google calendar or colleague's calendars.

You can subscribe to any publicly available Google Calendar on the web. Just click the +Google Calendar button in the lower right corner of Calendars on the web. This will add the calendar to your list of Other Calendars. As people add or change events, subscribed calendars update automatically.

This ability to subscribe to several calendars lets you to create a view of upcoming events combined from a wide range of sources. A set of subscribed Google Calendars might help people promote events -- or even prevent schedule conflicts.

Share a Google calendar

You might create and share your own Google Calendar publicly. Select the menu to the right of My Calendars, then choose Create new calendar. Once the calendar is created, select the down arrow button to the right of the calendar in the list, choose Share this calendar, and then click Make this calendar public.

You may also embed a Google calendar -- or multiple calendars -- on a web page. To get the embed codes and customize the display, use the Google Embeddable Calendar Helper. Finding it can be a bit tricky. Select the down arrow button to the right of the My Calendars list, then choose Settings. You'll see a list of your calendars. Click the name of a Calendar to view the Calendar's details. Look for Embed this Calendar, then select the Customize the color, size, and other options link. Adjust your options to suit your needs, select Update HTML, and then copy the HTML to your web page (Figure B). The Helper creates the embed code needed to display multiple Google Calendars, if selected.

Figure B

Figure B
Use Google's Embeddable Calendar Helper to customize the embedded calendars display.

Copy Events

For a bit of additional Google Calendar magic, look to Zapier or IFTTT. The tools automate actions between two web services, and both connect to Google Calendar and many other apps. With each, you configure a trigger and resulting action.

Zapier, for example, can be configured to search MeetUp, then you can add new events that meet your search criteria to a Google Calendar. Similarly, an IFTTT "recipe" can take events from one of your secondary calendars and add them to your primary calendar (recipe by IFTTT user afcuttin). Both services offer a variety of ways to add calendar events based on other actions.

Your practices?

Sharing -- and subscribing -- to Google Calendars can be a great way to keep public events for your organization in sync. How do you use shared calendars? Let us know in the discussion thread below.