Google pulled the plug on its Outlook calendar sync utility years ago, so what's the alternative? We explain how to sync Google and Outlook calendars, and workarounds so you don't have to.
If you're primarily a Google user, check out 11 ways to use Google Calendar like a pro.
First things first: do you really need to sync Google and Outlook calendars? You might think you do, but there are several alternative approaches which might solve your problem.
For example, if you have an iPhone, Android phone or just about any other smartphone, you should be able to add multiple accounts (and therefore multiple calendars) and have Google and Outlook calendars appear together in the same app. This isn't syncing, but it does mean you can see two or more calendars in the same app and same view.
If you don't have a phone, or your problem is on your PC and you're still using the Outlook application in Windows, it could be time to ditch it and move to the online version, Outlook.com, which supports multiple calendars.
There are several other advantages of using an online email / calendar service: you can log on from any computer with an internet connection, and you don't have any syncing issues as everything is stored online.
Pick just one
Using two calendars services from two different companies can lead to problems and it's worth considering using only one, if at all possible. We understand that it's useful to use multiple email providers, but when it comes to your calendar, why not just pick one and use just that?
It simplifies scheduling appointments and events and solves the sync problem instantly. Both Google and Microsoft support multiple calendars, such as work and private, and offer single calendar or combined views. (This applies whether you're using a mobile device or a PC or laptop, by the way.)
When adding a new event, you can choose which calendar to add it to. This is the only complication, as it's all too easy to add an event to the wrong calendar. But at least you'll have no problems with syncing.
Export a Google calendar
To use Google or Outlook, just export one and import it into the other. To export Google Calendar click the drop-down menu next to the relevant calendar in the My Calendars section on the left and choose Calendar Settings. Then scroll down and click Export this calendar. It downloads as a zip, so copy the .ics file out.
To import this into Outlook, go to File, Open and export, Import and export. Select the option to import an iCalendar (.ics) file.
Export an Outlook calendar
To export your Outlook calendar, go to File, Open and export, Import and export. Select Export to a file and save it to a .csv file. To import it into Google Calendar, click the down arrow next to Other calendars and select Import calendar.
If you use Outlook.com Calendar, just click Import in the menu and select the Google Calendar .ics file to import it. To export to Google Calendar is more difficult. Click the Share menu, then Get a link. Select the ICS URL with the mouse and press Ctrl+C. Go to Google Calendar, click the down arrow next to Other Calendars and select Add by URL. Press Ctrl+V to paste in the URL you copied, but replace webcals:// at the start with http://.
How to view both calendars
On an Android phone or tablet, install the free Microsoft Outlook app from the Google Play Store. (You can't simply add a Microsoft or Outlook account in the Android 'add account' setting, unfortunately. You can try adding an Exchange account, but it doesn't work with all Microsoft accounts.)
The Outlook app includes your Outlook.com calendar and merges it with the one on the device. This means that no matter which calendar an appointment or event is added to, it appears in the Android Calendar app. However, this works only if you use an Exchange account and not an Outlook.com account (which includes Hotmail and MSNmail.)
This method does not sync calendars and make them identical, it just looks that way and the Android app can read Outlook.com Calendar, but not write to it.
iPhone & iPad
The Calendar app on an iPhone and iPad can display a combined Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar too. Go to Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap Add Account.
Use the options to add Google and Outlook.com accounts. Accept the offer to sync calendars and that’s it. Events added to Google Calendar, Outlook.com Calendar or Outlook if it’s synced with Outlook.com, automatically appear in the iOS Calendar app.
One way to make an appointment appear in both Google and Outlook calendars simultaneously is to simply invite yourself by entering your email address when creating a new event. You basically create a meeting with yourself, so in Google Calendar you would invite yourself by adding your Outlook or Outlook.com email address.
Outlook adds a calendar invitation from Google as an unconfirmed event. You can leave it like this or click the Accept button in the email to confirm it. Outlook.com does not automatically add invitations to the calendar and you have to click Accept in the email.
You can manually accept emailed invitations sent from Outlook/Outlook.com to Google Calendar in Gmail, but there is a better way. Click the gear button in Google Calendar and selecting Settings. On the General tab is an option to automatically add invitations to your calendar.
Third-party apps and services
If you don’t want to use any of our workarounds, there are apps and services that sync Google and Outlook calendars. Here are a few of them you might like to try, some of which are free.
SyncGene can sync contacts, calendars and tasks automatically across iPhone, Android, Outlook, Gmail and apps. There is a free version which is limited to two data sources and does not offer automatic syncing, but a paid-for subscription works out at $4.95 per month.
Sync2 (image below) syncs Outlook with Google Calendar and does a lot more besides for £29.95. It can sync on a schedule or whenever a change in Outlook is detected.
OggSync does a similar job and v8.1 fixes sync problems introduced by changes at Google, but costs $29.95 a year.
gSyncit v4 is a $19.99 Outlook add-in that enables one and two-way syncing between Outlook and Google calendar, but doesn't appear to have been updated for over a year.
Yet another option is Scand Outlook4Gmail which syncs your Outlook calendar with your Google calendar. It can also sync contacts and a single licence costs $28.98.
Calendar Sync appears to be the perfect replacement for the old Google sync tool for Outlook users. It’s a free app that is very easy to use and does exactly what you want. Enter your Google username and password and click Save Settings. Click Sign in to Google at the bottom to authorise it.
Now you can select the Google calendar to sync, if there is more than one, and whether Google or Outlook is the master calendar. A two-way sync by last modified date is possible and you can choose to delete duplicates in Outlook or Google. The Auto Sync tab enables you to sync automatically, but don’t sync too often because Google imposes limits.
Some people like Calendar Sync, while others says it causes problems.
Another option is Outlook Google Calendar Sync, which is in beta and was last updated in September 2016. It is supported, and can sync events including attendees and reminders. It doesn't have to be installed and works behind web proxies.