Synchronizing Calendars (NOT) — Outlook on a Mac and Google Calendar

For a March 6, 2012, update to this post, please go here.

After investing half a day in trouble shooting the synchronization of calendars between Outlook in Microsoft Office 2011 on a MacBook Pro and Google Calendar, I can attest that it cannot be completely automated.  Despite their impressive collective talent, the men and women of Apple, Google and Microsoft are unable or, more likely, unwilling to work together to accomplish this.

The best that can be done is to link calendar items in Outlook to iCal and link calendar items in Google to iCal.  Items created in either Google or Outlook will display in iCal.  If you want an item from Google to display in Outlook or an item in Outlook to display in Google, you will have to use the “duplicate” function in iCal to copy the item.  Once the item is copied then click on “calendar” to link the copied item to the appropriate calendar.  If the item that is to be duplicated is from Google then you have to change the calendar for the duplicated item to Outlook and vice versa.

My next effort will be to search for third part software that can automate this. If anyone is aware of the availability of such software, please let me know.


6 thoughts on “Synchronizing Calendars (NOT) — Outlook on a Mac and Google Calendar

  1. I totally agree. It is rather sad that this issues hasn’t been solved yet. It worked in the old entourage and it works flawlessly on a Windows version of the office suite…

    Please let me know if you find a solution. I’m using iCal for my calendars – but in my opinion that’s just not good enough when you have paid for a “complete” solution like the Office Suite.

    Hope that Microsoft will solve this ASAP. Until then I can only encourage people to send feedback from within outlook 2011 and adress this matter.


  2. I finally found a work around to synchronize Outlook 2011 with Google Calendar!

    First I set up Sync Services to sync my Outlook 2011 calendar to iCal calendar. I make sure that I have all the categories that I want to have in my Outlook and create some event for each category so that it gets created in the iCal calendar as well.

    Then I downloaded this software called “Spanning Sync 3”, installed it and set it up with my Google account (Spanning Sync is a paid software with a 15 day trial if you want to try it first). After that, I can do the setup for syncing the iCal with the Google Calendar by mapping the categories in iCal to the categories in the Google account.

    What happens is that when you create, modify or delete an event in Outlook, this event gets synced to iCal which in turn gets picked up by Spanning Sync and syncs to Google Calendar. Similarly, any changes in Google Calendar gets synced to iCal via Spanning Sync which in turn gets synced back to Outlook. This solution does not involve CalDAV to sync to Google Calendar.

    Use this URL to get a discount for Spanning Sync,

    Hope this will help someone else out there 🙂

      • Hi. I tried the suggestion above but it didn’t work properly as I got a lot of duplicates. I currently use 3 calendars (2 google and 1 exchange) and that is simply not handled very well in Spanning Sync 😦

        Did you find a solution that actually worked out?


      • Apologies for the tardy reply. Just returned from a 6,300 mile road trip. Give me a call and I eill be glad to try to walk you through how I am using iCal and Google Calendar with SpanningSynch. Best number is (925) 435-1947. I am in the Eastern Time Zone of the USA.

  3. Pingback: Spanning Sync for Synchonizing iCal, Outlook and Google Calendar | urbanexus

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