Syncing your calendars

I have a desktop computer, a laptop, and a iPhone.  I frequently add meetings to my Outlook calender on my desktop computer, but sometimes enter them on my laptop.  And I frequently use my iPhone to alert me about upcoming meetings.  These leads to a major problem in keeping all three in sync.  Well, the best solution I have found to keep them synced is by using Google Calendar Sync (download).  Install this on both your desktop and your laptop (making sure to choose the 2-way sync), and then follow the steps from Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device.  From then on, the calendars in Outlook on your desktop, Outlook on your laptop, your iPhone, and Gmail will all be in sync.  So no matter which one you use to enter a meeting, all the others will be updated in seconds.  Of course, this requires you to have a Gmail account, but they are free and you can continue to use your current email account and just use the Gmail account for your calendar.  NOTE: Google Calendar Sync has been discontinued.  Two alternates are Google Apps for Business or CompanionLink for Google.  I use CompanionLink (14-day trial and then $50) and it has worked great.

Some other notes about this solution:

  • You can always go to your Google calendar if your desktop and laptop are not available
  • A cool thing about Google Calendar is it will add a map link to addresses that you have listed in appointments
  • Note that this is syncing my personal Outlook calendar.  My business Outlook calendars are already synced because they use Microsoft Exchange and therefore each have their own calendar that is available under “My Calendars”
  • There is a bug where appointments don’t get synced if they were created before you installed the Google Calendar Sync (you must delete and recreate them)
  • Go to your contacts on Gmail and enter birthdates so they show up on the calendar
  • On Google Calendar, add the US Holidays calendar (see How to Add Public Holidays To Google Calendar).  Also add the “Contacts’ birthdays and events” calendar
  • To add holidays to Outlook, see Add National Holidays in Outlook Calendar
  • Contact’s birthdays or US holidays don’t get copied from Google calendar to your Outlook calendar unless while in Google calendar you choose “copy to my calendar” for each item and set to repeat yearly (a pain!)

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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2 Responses to Syncing your calendars

  1. Splash says:

    Sounds like you need to fork out for an Office 365 account and a Windows Phone. Seamless integration of calendars and files across all devices, particularly when used in conjunction with the Skydrive app. Seriously good stuff.

    p.s. I am not an MS employee hehe !

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