Now that spring is finally here I have found it a challenge to keep track of all the activities my kids are involved in. Whether softball, t-ball, or Boy Scouts, there is usually something going on every couple of days for which I need to pick up, drop off, or attend. Furthermore, scheduling our vacation time is tricky since I have to make sure my organization has sufficient coverage when I’m out of the office.

I set up a new Google Calendar to track these extracurricular activities with my wife so we can both create and edit events. These steps can help you do the same, whether it is family activities or your latest business project. (Note that Google accounts are required to create, share, and access these calendars.)

To get started log into your Google Account and access the Calendar function. (Figure A)

Figure A

Create a New Calendar

Note: if you’d prefer to just share your regular calendar, you can skip this step and jump down to “Share the Calendar.”

At your main calendar screen, click the down arrow to the right of “My Calendars” (see the red pointer in Figure B).

Figure B

A submenu appears with the “Create new calendar” option available. (Figure C)

Figure C

Choose “Create new calendar.” (Figure D)

Figure D

Fill in the Calendar name and description. For example, I’ll call mine “Sports and Vacation Details.” Click “Create Calendar” to proceed.

You will return to the main calendar view. Note the new calendar under “My Calendars.” (Figure E)

Figure E

Share the calendar

To share the calendar, click the down arrow to the right of the name. (Figure F)

Figure F

Choose “Share this calendar.” (Figure G)

Figure G

Enter the recipient email address with whom you want to share the calendar. For instance, I’ve entered an example email address for my wife.

Click Save.

If the recipient is not a Google user, you will receive the notification shown in Figure H.

Figure H

Clicking “Invite” will send them an email encouraging them to sign up for a Google account. (Figure I)

Figure I

They will need to set up the account and then the calendar you have shared with them will be accessible under the “Other Calendars” section.

If the recipient is a Google user, they will receive the email shown in Figure J.

Figure J

The recipient can click the “View Your Calendar” link in the email to access their Calendar page. The calendar you’ve shared with them appears under “Other calendars.” (Figure K)

Figure K

The colored squares next to the calendars signify that they are selected for display in the main calendar window (multiple calendars can be shown at once). If you only want to view one calendar at a time, click the square to de-select the other calendars. (Figure L)

Figure L

Working with the shared calendar

The shared calendar is used just the same as the regular non-shared kind. Both parties can add, change or delete events. Here’s an example (Figure M) of what our calendar might look like for June.

Figure M

I think my car may need a new set of tires after this summer!

Setting up reminders and notifications

A calendar is only useful if you remember to show up for the events it contains. Reminders and notifications can help jog your memory. To configure your default event reminders for this calendar (which will be applied on a per-individual basis, meaning people with whom you share the calendar can set up their own default reminders) click the down arrow to the right of the calendar name. (Figure N)

Figure N

Choose “Reminders and notifications.” (Figure O)

Figure O

You can set your desired options; email or SMS (text message) such as when someone sends you an invitation or an event is canceled.

To use SMS notifications you must click the “Set up your mobile phone to receive notifications” link which will require you to enter your phone number to send a verification code to your phone. You’ll need to type this value into the “Verification code” field as shown in Figure P.

Figure P

You can also set per-event reminders, even if you’re not the owner of the calendar. If I open one of the events, I see the standard options. (Figure Q)

Figure Q

Click “Add a reminder” under the Reminders section. You can use text messages (if you have set up your mobile phone as descried above), pop-up reminders on your computer or receive an email in advance of the event. (Figure R)

Figure R

When my wife views the events on the shared calendar, she has similar reminder options. (Figure S)

Figure S

Unsharing a calendar

To remove calendar sharing, click the down arrow to the right of the calendar. (Figure T)

Figure T

Choose “Share this Calendar.” (Figure U)

Figure U

To remove access from my wife, I can click the trash can under the “Remove” column.

Deleting a calendar

To delete a calendar, click the down arrow to the right of “My calendars.” (Figure V)

Figure V

Go to “Settings.” (Figure W)

Figure W

Click the “Delete” link to the far right of the calendar name, and it will be removed.

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