How to share Google Calendars with family or co-workers

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We all know life can be hectic at times. Keeping track of your family’s dentist appointments, movie nights, organizing dinners, parties, etc. can be tiresome, especially if you don’t have an efficient and easy way of keeping track of it all. If you aren’t already aware of this simple solution, allow me to introduce you to Google Calendar.

Google’s calendar web/mobile application is a free time-management tool, and may even be the best available on the market. Users are obviously required to have a Google account to get started, but something tells me that shouldn’t be an issue for any of you. The UI on Google Calendar for everyday use should be relatively self-explanatory, however there are some features on Google Calendar that are a bit unclear to most users, including how to share calendars with others (including family members) and create entirely new calendars for separate use. Please note that the following instructions refer to the desktop browser version of Google Calendar.

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To get started with sharing a calendar with another user, find the “My calendars” feature on the bottom left side of your screen while in Google Calendar (seen above). Click on the down-arrow next to the calendar you wish to share and a menu should appear that looks like the one above. This menu gives you the option to “Share this Calendar.” Click on that option and you will be brought to a “sharing dashboard” where you can see all of your sharing settings for Google Calendar. Here, you can enter specific people’s email addresses to share your calendar with remove people from sharing lists, and even assign permissions allowing users to edit your own calendar if you wish. Another feature lets you make your calendar public for all to see. (We don’t recommend using this feature unless your calendar is meant to be seen by anyone on the internet that wants to.)

Share_CalendarIf you wish to request permission to view a friend’s calendar instead of waiting for them to share it with you, you can do this as well. Simply click on the down-arrow next to “Other calendars” on the bottom left-hand side of your screen, and click “Add a friend’s calendar.” From here, a screen like the one seen above should come up, allowing you to manually enter any user’s Gmail account so that you can request access into their Google Calendar. Pretty neat, right?

All of these different settings and options will show up right on your Android’s Google Calendar application as well. When you press on “month” view, you’ll be able to see an entire overview of everyone’s scheduled events for the entire month. Swiping up and down allows you to view into the future or into the past. However, you cannot change sharing settings on the application. The only option you have is to add other Google accounts that you own, which will in turn add those calendars to your overview.

Let’s say that for example, your job requires you to have a separate calendar, and you want to keep it separate from your personal calendar, but you want to manage it from the same Google account. Fortunately, you can do that with Google Calendar! Click on the down-arrow on “My calendars” once again and select “Create new calendar.” This should bring you to a new screen where you can set up your entirely new calendar, with options to name the calendar, add a description, set a location, time zone, and set up sharing settings. There’s definitely enough functionality included in Google Calendar so that it’s pretty much useful to everyone— especially since it’s absolutely free!

If you find that you are getting mixed up between who’s calendars are who’s, because multiple people are sharing calendars with you, you can simply change the colors of other users’ calendar posts. This way, you’ll be able to tell the difference right away. To do this, find a user’s calendar under “Other calendars,” hover your mouse over the calendar name, and a drop-down arrow should appear to the right of the name. Click on it, and from there you will be able to select any color from the default palette, or even set up a custom color.

There are obviously many other alternatives out there to Google Calendar, but from my experience, Google Calendar has offered me the best options, especially because it’s synced right up to my Google account. It’s just so convenient to get alerts straight to my phone and have everything connected and working seamlessly. If Google Calendar isn’t for you though, here are a few other options:

Alternatives to Google Calendar: 1Calendar, Zoho Calendar, Cozi, CalendarFly, Scheduly, and Tungle.

Happy scheduling, folks!

» See more articles by Harrison Kaminsky


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