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Back to Basics: Sharing a Calendar

Sharing a calendar

This year, I’m starting a series called “Back to Basics,” featuring simple tips to help you do more with the technology you have. Let me know what you’d like to see in this series by leaving a comment below, ‘kay? 

If you work in an office, you might have figured out how to send a calendar invite to a friend or coworker by now, but for those you’re collaborating with on a daily basis, that one-off strategy isn’t really enough. I’m talking assistants, husbands, babysitters and even kids— people that need to know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it at all times.

Sharing calendars is the next step, in which the people you work and live with can always see and adjust your appointments, for instance. It will cut back on confusion and double-booking because your team will get in the habit of checking your schedule before they book something. It helps kids with their social lives too— you’ll endure far fewer dramatic glares from your teenagers when they find out that the plans they made conflict with an eye doctor appointment, or a family trip to the museum. And if your kids start adding their plans to the calendar as well, you can be more respectful of their schedule, which makes for more peaceful dealings all around. 

Here are simple tutorials for sharing both iCal and Google calendars, for a streamlined schedule that will most certainly make your life easier.

Public Calendars

In both Google and iCal, there’s an option to make your calendar totally “public.” This means anyone who has the link will be able to view it and it could even show up in search results (not a good idea if your calendar contains personal or sensitive information). For most situations, this is unnecessary, but it could be useful for an office calendar where the people who need to view it will be changing all of the time, so you don’t need to be constantly sharing and unsharing it with individuals.

For Google Calendar: In the left sidebar, click the arrow next to My Calendars and click Settings. A list of your calendars will appear. Click Share this Calendar next to the one you’d like to make Public. On the next screen, check the box at the top that says Make this Calendar Public. You can also choose to only show your free/busy information rather than full calendar details.

For Apple iCal: You’ll have to make sure you’ve turned on iCloud for calendars in Settings > iCloud > Turn on Calendars. Then, go to your list of calendars and click on the icon that looks like a WiFi signal, and select Public Calendar. Or, depending on your operating system, it may be an “i in a circle” you click on, which will bring you to a screen where you can toggle Public Calendar on at the the bottom.

Sharing with individuals

The more common strategy is to share your calendars privately with specific people. Here’s how to do it. 

In Google Calendar:

  1. In the left sidebar, click the arrow next to My Calendars and click Settings
  2. A list of your calendars will appear. Click Share this Calendar next to the one you’d like to share.
  3. Under Share with Specific People, enter the email address of a person you want to share it with. A drop down box will appear next to their name where you can select their permissions. You can choose to allow them to only see when you’re free/busy, see all event details, make changes to events, or make changes and manage sharing. That last option will give the person the same permissions a calendar owner has.
  4. Enter as many email address as you’d like and adjust the permissions for each. When you’re finished, be sure to click Save in the bottom left corner.
  5. If you want to remove people later, return to the same screen and click the trash can icon to the right of their email.

In Apple iCal: 

  1. Make sure you’ve turned on iCloud for Calendars by going to Settings > iCloud > Turn on Calendars.
  2. Go to your list of calendars and click the icon to the right of the calendar you want to share (it may look like an “i in a circle” or a WiFi signal, depending on your operating system).
  3. Type the email address of the person you want to add in the Add Person field.
  4. Select whether you’d like their permission to be View Only or View & Edit.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each person you want to add and then click OK or Done (depending on your OS).
  6. If you want to remove people later, return to the same screen and select Stop Sharing.

Once you’re up and running, scheduling will be easier than ever.

How do you use shared calendars to make your schedule more manageable? Share with me in the comments, below!


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