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How to share a Google Calendar for easy collaboration

Here's how you can give friends, family, or colleagues permission to view or edit a shared Google Calendar.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
Woman sitting on couch with paper calendar and laptop
iStockphoto/Getty Images

So many people depend on a calendar to keep their lives organized and moving forward. You might use a calendar for work, personal projects, schedules, family events, or just about anything that requires you to stay on top of events and deadlines

And sometimes, those calendars need to be shared. 

After all, that planning you're doing won't be of any good to the family members involved if they can't see what's on the agenda. So you share that calendar. And if Google Calendar is your tool of choice, the sharing is not only easy, but flexible enough that you can give specific access rights to specific users.

For example, you can give one user view-only rights and another user permission to make changes to events and even manage sharing access. 

Also: How to create multiple Google Calendars (and why you should)

How to share a Google Calendar for easy collaboration

Requirements

The only things you'll need to make this work are a valid Google account, a calendar to share, and someone to share it with.

1. Select the calendar to be shared

Log in to your Google account and go to the Calendar app. In the left pane, you should see a list of all your calendars. From that list, locate the calendar you want to share.

The Google Calendar sidebar.

The number of calendars you see will depend on how many you've created.

Image: Jack Wallen

2. Open the Calendar Settings

Hover your cursor over the calendar to be shared, and you'll see a three-dot menu button appear. Click that button and then, from the pop-up, click "Settings and sharing."

The Settings and sharing popup.

Access to the Calendar settings is a bit obfuscated.

Image: Jack Wallen

Also: How to create a Google Calendar event right from Gmail

3. Share the calendar

In the resulting window, locate the section labeled "Share with specific people." Click "Add people" and then, in the next pop-up, type a name or email address that will be added to the calendar. 

Click the Permissions drop-down to select the proper access for that user. After taking care of that, click Send. The recipient will receive the invite, accept it, and then access the shared calendar according to the permissions you've given them.

The Google Calendar Sharing popup window.

This is where the magic happens.

Image: Jack Wallen

A word of warning

It's important that you only share specific calendars with others. I would not suggest that you share your primary calendar with anyone. If you must do that, only give them view permissions. If you must share a calendar with others (giving them access with permission to edit the calendar), I would highly recommend you create a specific calendar for that purpose. 

You might also be tempted to publish that calendar, but I would recommend against doing that. Why? Because publishing a calendar makes it available for anyone to see, even via a Google search. 

Chances are pretty good you don't want strangers knowing where you are and when you'll be there. Because of this, it's important to stick with the sharing option instead. On top of that, only the sharing option makes it possible for you to define which people have what rights to the calendar in question. 

If you have a need to let others in a specific group view or edit a specific Google calendar, this is the way to go.

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