The woes of online calendar sharing

shared-calendar

All my wife and I wanted to do was share a calendar.  Seems simple doesn’t it?  Well, let me say that there are so many variables that this post is specific only to mine and isn’t meant to really provide direction, but rather than express my new found hatred of sharing calendars.

I happen to be on Office 365 and try to keep all of my appointments there.  For me it seems easy considering that now my Outlook calendar syncs flawlessly with my Android phone.

My wife is currently using a Gmail address as well as a Google calendar to manage her appointments.

After running through different scenarios and determining how we wanted to share, we found that I really don’t need to see her “private” calendar and she wasn’t really interested in seeing mine.  This is good, because from the research I’ve done this would not be simple considering we are using both Microsoft and Google.

So, we decided to make a new Google account and email address for our shared calendar.  That seemed easy enough.  I then shared it with both my wife’s Google account as well as mine.  Remember, I do have an Android phone, so I am tied to Google as well.  I don’t use my Gmail account, but the calendar does show up nicely on my phone.

After trying to figure out the web of old calendars that were all tied together, we finally were able to move appointments from all the weird places they were in to our new group calendar.  Once I tore down all of the mess that we had prior to this, I found that on my Android device I was now able to see my Outlook calendar as well as our group calendar and they were in different colors!  Finally!!

Although, I live in Outlook and I could only see our group calendar on my phone.  Not great if I’m on the phone with a client and am checking my calendar to see when I’m free.

So, it turns out that Outlook allows you to import web based calendars, which fortunately Google is.  After adding a new calendar and providing my private link I was now able to see our group calendar!

Next problem, I can’t add appointments to that calendar in Outlook.  It turns out that web based calendars are read only.  Wonderful.

I did find some software that claims that it can turn it into a two way syncing calendar in my Outlook, but after reading their “simple” instructions, I determined that I didn’t need that aggravation and I’ll keep it as is.  If I need to add anything in the group calendar I’ll just do it on my phone.

The good news is after hours of research and about three hours of implementing our solution I know can say that I am happy to see my calendar and our shared calendar in Outlook and on my phone.  This should make life easier, but I can’t believe the hoops I went through just to get here!

I’m sure people will say they found a better solution, but please keep in mind that I wouldn’t budge from Office 365 and my wife wouldn’t budge from Google.  Now, if you have an easier solution with that in mind I’m all ears, but I have a feeling I won’t be revisiting juggling our calendars for quite some time now.

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