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I've been using both Thunderbird and Google Calendar for over 15 years. Although most often those two apps are used separately, sometimes I like to be able to use them together in a single location. For that, I turn to Thunderbird.
When Mozilla first introduced the ability to add Google Calendars, it was a rather cumbersome process. With the latest releases of the email client, adding those calendars has been greatly simplified. In fact, it's become so easy that the most challenging part is typing your Gmail address and then giving Thunderbird permission by clicking a couple of buttons. You no longer have to locate a hidden address within Google Calendar or jump through other hoops.
What you'll need: To do this, you'll need two things -- a valid Google account and the Thunderbird email client installed on your desktop or laptop. That's it. Let's get to work. I will demonstrate this on the most recent release of Thunderbird, which I would highly suggest you upgrade to immediately (as it offers a much cleaner interface).
1. Open Thunderbird Calendar
The first thing to do is open the Thunderbird email client and then click the Calendar icon near the top right of the app window.
2. Create a new calendar
At the bottom left corner of Thunderbird, you'll see New Calendar. Click that to create the calendar.
3. Select a networked calendar
In the resulting window, select On the Network and click Next.
In the next window, type your Gmail address as the Username. Thunderbird will autofill the Location. Once you've done that, click Find Calendars.
5. Sign into Google
A new window will appear, allowing you to sign into the Gmail account you intend to use. In that window, type your Gmail address and click Next. Finish going through the Google sign-in wizard and, when prompted, click Allow to give Thunderbird the necessary permissions.
6. Select your calendar
In the final window of the calendar add wizard, select only the calendar(s) you want to add to Thunderbird and then click Subscribe. Thunderbird will then begin to sync your Google Calendar. Depending on how many entries you have in your calendar, this can take some time, so be patient as it syncs.