Sync, damn you, sync!
Syncing multiple calendars is never fun. It’s even less fun across various services, like Gmail to Outlook.com for instance, which is the focus of this tutorial.
We recently had to solve this problem for ourselves because although like you we primarily use our Hotmail/Live Mail/Outlook.com calendar for all events, we sometimes need to have our external Google calendar sync to our phone too.
There are a few ways to go about this but we’re going to show you the more unified approach that we prefer. It’s a bit tricky and nearly caused us to punch our wall a few times to figure it out. But for you, it will be dead simple and should literally take you no more than 5 minutes.
Before we start, we’ll just get this out the way: no, we don’t much care for Google Calendar either, but certain members of the Mobile Nations editorial staff (who shall rename nameless) insist upon using for our staff planning. That means we have to use it too.
Probably the easiest and most direct way to do this is simply create and sync a Google account to your phone. You can do this my navigating to Settings, Email + Accounts and choosing Google. Once you do that, you can tap on that account and under ‘Content to Sync’ you can select Email, Contacts and Calendar.
And that’s really it. But what if you don’t want to sync Google to your phone? Maybe you don’t even use their email or contacts (gasp!). Why create yet-another-account and waste the bandwidth? Or better yet, what if you have some odd situation where you have multiple calendars to sync with?
Yes, the whole process can become very messy. But there is a way to create a 1-way sync relationship from your Google Calendar to Outlook.com that will happen server-side, meaning your phone only syncs from one-calendar source.
We like minimalist approaches, so that’s what we chose. Here’s how you do it:
1. Log into your Google Calendar and navigate down the left hand side until you see ‘My Calendars’
2. To the right of the calendar you want to sync, you will see an arrow with a drop-down menu; select ‘Share this calendar’
3. Navigate to the top of the page and select the first-tab, called ‘Calendar Details’
4. Near the bottom, where it says ‘Private Address’ choose ICAL; copy this address
Now you will want to load up Outlook.com and head to the Calendar section. Don't worry, we'll wait.
1. Choose ‘Subscribe’ from the top menu
2. Paste the URL from Google into the ‘Calendar URL’ box; give the Calendar any name you like and choose a color
3. Select ‘Subscribe’ near the bottom and that’s it. In theory, you can do this with multiple calendars.
Now what should happen is over the next few hours (!) your Google Calendar should sync to your Hotmail/Live Mail/Outlook.com calendar, which will then sync to your phone. You now technically have “multiple” calendars syncing to your single Outlook.com account.
Note, this is a one-way sync meaning whatever you add won’t go back into Google Calendar. If you need that, you should use the first method as outlined above. For those of you who just need to view events from other systems, this is a perfect solution. The only downside is the server-sync is not instant.
Why not use Outlook 2013?
Outlook 2013 for your PC has some great features built in, including the ability to sync directly with Outlook.com via Exchange. That means you no longer need the external Exchange Sync utility that converted your Outlook info to your previous Hotmail account.
The downside though is there is no way (yet) to sync multiple calendars to Windows Phone. So for instance, we can have the Google Sync client running on our PC with it pulling down our appointments and syncing to Outlook 2013-works perfectly. But it has now created a 2nd calendar and that calendar can’t sync to your phone (via Outlook.com) because Windows Phone can only “see” one calendar. Super lame.
That’s been a limitation since day one, much to the anger of many users. That makes a Google-Outlook 2013 Sync option basically useless. If there was a way to merge the events, it might help but so far we have not found a method. We’re also hoping that Windows Phone 8 can give us some more options to calendars to make our lives easier.
For now though, the above method works and works well. It saves bandwidth on your phone, which translates into battery life. It’s also one less thing to have to sync and maybe fail in addition to freeing you from having to have Google on your phone at all.
In our forums, the idea of using a 3rd party app like gSyncIt ($19.95) is also an option for many, though yes, it obviously requires shelling out money. But hey, options are good for some folks. We haven't tried that method so we may take it for a review if it's what you folks want.
Do you have a better method? We’re sure we might have missed something, so share it in comments.
- Microsoft unveils Hotmail successor Outlook.com for all your email needs
- Switching your Hotmail or Live to Outlook.com? Here’s what you need to know for Windows Phone.
- Move back from Outlook to Live to restore Windows Phone functionality without resetting
- A quick look at security features on Microsoft's new Outlook.com email service
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.
Thanks! I'll bookmark this for when I switch back to WP. Now just make a tutorial on how to sync Windows Live contacts on Android and your all set. Lol. Jk.
Cursed be you:)
For anyone who actually does not know how to sync android contacts with outlook contacts, simply download the hotmail "official" app. Does the trick :)
Lol sync damn you sync
Now, if Microsoft would create a way for Outlook.com's calendar to sync with Google Calendar (w/o having to go through Outlook), I'd be able to get a way from Google once and for all!
This seems silly, Googles calendar offerings are pretty good, and support multiple calendar sync to Windows Phone, why would you chose to lose that option?
Simplicity? If I only need to pull down the info maybe I don't want a Google account on my phone. My primary calendar is Outlook, not Google. It's also a general method for sharing multiple calendars for any reason on any provider, assuming they have a calendar-subscribe feature. So while this focuses on Google, the same method works for any other service.
I use Vsys Calendar. It lets you sync multiple Gmail calendars and your windows live/Outlook calendar all into one. The free version only gives you 30 days but the full app is only a couple dollars. So worth it!
You have a link? When I did a quick search, the first link was dead and I couldn't see the app/service on their site. tia
I also use the VsysCalendar. the link is http://vsyscal.vetsys.co.jp/.
There is a Free version and a trial version in the Marketplace.
Why would anyone use any google service? I stopped going to YouTube cause its associated. Yep, fan boy. But for good reasons.
I'm also escaping from the emailscanning trolls!
Daniel, perhaps for those who still don't know how to enable multiple Google Calendars on their phone directly (the "first method" you referred to), you can link them to an article on how to perform this function?
I'm sure you guys already have one, but I bet some people will come here looking for those steps, so it might be good to include them (you know, the m.google.com/sync stuff).
Will look into this, thanks.
Do let me know, I am for one. I have two calendars in my Google. One is default and the other through a lotus notes sync of my Work calendar, which is the one I need. Using the first method of Google Account did not help bring this calendar my WP. I used the server name as m.google.com. There was no sync error but I am not getting calendar into my WP. What am I doing wrong?
A WP that does not support Lotus Notes in my office and cannot bring in calendar; is becoming very tough for me (and not even be able to use the office WiFi), having been spoilt by an Android where anything was possible, but nothing was dependable!
Anyone know how to sync google calendar with calendar on mountain lion please help!
Eck. I just got a MacBook Air (company gift, lol) so I'm slowly forcing myself to learn OSX for situations like tihs. I suppose I can do some Mac-focused tutorials, but may be a bit (these take work and aren't fun to do, lol).
I'm currently using Lion, but I would assume the steps are the same. Open the Calendar. Press Command+, (so that's hold down command and then press the comma button) to open preferences. Then go to the accunts tab. There will be a plus and a minus button in the bottom corner of that window. Click the plus button and enter your gmail credentials.
The downside to using iCal is the refresh timing. I've waited over 24 hours an iCal calendar to refresh in Windows Live. The same iCal refreshed nearly instantly with Google Calendar. I posted this to the MS tech support forums and never received an answer on what schedule the refresh happens or how to force a refresh. I had to stop using this because of this issue.
Yeah, that's my only concern too. So far it doesn't seem too bad but definitely not as fast/consistent as I'd like.
Awesome! I've been looking for the dang iCal address on google calenders for just this purpose. Thanks again, WPC staff!
Just looking at the Outlook.com UI and starring at the gmail UI, simply day and night. I'm happy I no longer have to use gmail. Outlook.com FTW.
An approach you could also do which is what I do is to set up Google as an exchange server, rather than through the default GMail setup. This way, you can specifically target just the calendar, which is what I do. I don't use the email or contacts either, so i don't want them appearing, but setting it up through exchange and targetting just the calendar means it won't try and populate anything else. Under Settings > email+accounts select "add an account" select "advanced setup" enter a temporary email like firstname.lastname@example.org, and dummy password, and select "next" select "Exchange ActiveSync" change the email/password to your gmail credentials, for Username, put your email also, leave domain blank, for server it's "m.google.com", it requires SSL so leave the checkbox ticked, account name as "Gmail" or whatever you want it to be called, and the rest you can select whatever your preference is. As you can see here, you can select what content to synchronise, meaning you can just select Calendar.
Isn't the Outlook.com calendar just the Windows Live calendar? Why would one support multiple calendars and the other not? Don't they both just show up as Windows Live accounts on Windows Phone?
I already tried many times but looks like when I create an appointment using Google Account in the phone sometimes it can't sync to Google Calendar. In the opposite way works fine.
ActiveSync is the technology that is used to sync data from Hotmail and Google accounts.
Apparently, this implementation won't go back further than 2 weeks or so.
It's an issue on every Windows Phone right now.
I also use the VsysCalendar. It allows me long period sync with Google. And, it is very nice usability. I love it.
You can find it, enter 'VsysCalendar' in your marketplace search box.
I just add my google account, navigate to m.Google.com/sync and select the calendars I want to sync yo my windows phone. PRESTO! Multiple google calendar sync.
Just when I was wondering how to do this. Much appreciated!
I've been syncing multiple calendars on my wife's HTC Trophy ever since Mango came out using the somewhat convoluted methodology found here:
It's a two way sync using multiple calendars. This does not involve outlook.com but I haven't been concerned about trying to do that.
I just synced my calendar from Canvas (school) by downloading the ICS file and uploading it to my hotmail. Worked quite well. Now I can see my hw due dates on my phone.
I don't sync a Google calendar but I do use a purchased software package called Companion Link at work to sync my work outlook calendar to my Windows Phone wirelessly. I find it to be well worth it for approximately 35-40 bucks.
I also like how it allows you to send sync specific calendar categories. Example : avoid having multiple holiday calendars.
I don't see the need of this. I've added multiple calendars by adding the accounts in the settings.
When adding an event I can choose to which calendar it should be added and that's it.
Mixing the calendars would not work for me as I have separate needs and events in each.
Thanks but my google calendar rests in peace.
This is sort of related: Can anyone explain how to get the Google Calendar "Contacts Birthdays & Anniversaries" imported
EITHER: into the main Google Calendar?
OR: into the Live Calendar?
We use Google as our main account and calendar in WP, but it doesn't display the birthdays. I know the Live/Hotmail/Microsoft/Outlook account does though. I'd just like this functionality while using a Google account. Any ideas?
Go to m.google.com/sync
Thnx a bunch. Since I also don't want a Google account this might come in handy.
Thanks Daniel but for me there is NO WAY I'm using Google calendar on my Lumia 900. Just thought I'd through that out there. :)
Thanks. I hope we will also have the ability to download calendar entries from the net and save directly on WP8 calendar. It's a feature I loved from my days with Symbian.
I was just working on this a week ago, and it failed miserably at updating in either direction (sharing a hotmail calendar with google, and vice versa). Would include whatever was on the calendar but refused to sync anymore after that. So aggravating.
I have been trying to add my favourite soccer team's fixtures to my windows phone calendar without any success. Thought the tips here will help but to my surprise, when you import a web calendar to google calendar, it saves under 'other calendars' and you can't share the calendar ;-)
Eureka!! I managed to get my team's calendar through 'Subscribe' on Hotmail calendar and copy pasting the iCal URL. I didn't know about this and it just happened as an accident as I was playing around with the iCal & google calendar where I discovered the URL.
Problem solved but I would be happy with ability to import calendar to my phone from the web directly.
The subscription works, but it not sync. I added a new meeting in my google calendar and 2 days after, it never appear in my outlook.com calendar
this does not work! the times for the events get messed up. for instance, a meeting a 3 pm on monday shows up as 2 am on the previous sunday! crazy.
Thanks, it worked for me.
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