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Digital Calendaring

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By Alex Little
Undergraduate Learning Consultant
Class of 2022, Symbolic Systems

Even though it has been months since we first went into lockdown, we are still discovering what digital learning looks like and how to address the evolving challenges it brings. Two things I have been struggling with ever since the lockdown began are dealing with timezones (I am currently in Louisiana, which is in CST) and keeping my Outlook Calendar, which is connected to my email, synced with my preferred Google Calendar. Luckily, I have found solutions to both issues. 

What are they?

  • Using Google’s multiple time zone feature
  • Linking Google Calendar to Outlook Calendar

Why even bother?

  • Using the time zone labels in Google Chrome has made it easier for me to manage classes and meetings across time zones, and it may do the same for you.
  • If you mainly use Google Calendar, it’s easier to use it with Outlook if they are linked together. That way, you can add events to your Google Calendar from Outlook emails and do most of your calendaring in Google Calendar as opposed to Outlook Calendar. 

How to use Google’s multiple time zones feature

  1. Open Google Calendar. In the top right, click the gear icon and select Settings:
    Screenshot of calendar with highlighted "settings" icon in top right corner
  2. Click on Time Zone in the left navigation. Check the box next to “Display secondary time zone." Select your Primary and Secondary time zones. I suggest using your local time zone for your Primary time zone and Pacific Time for your Secondary time zone, since Stanford classes and deadlines are usually in Pacific Time.
    Screenshot of time zone settings in Google Calendar
  3. Click on World Clock in the left navigation. Check the box that says “Show world clock.” You can add your secondary timezone by pressing the Add time zone button. I simply added the Pacific Time zone since it coincides with my changes from step 2.
    Screenshot of world clock settings in Google Calendar with "Add time zone" highlighted
  4. Now in the main calendar screen, you can see that we have added two new sections to the main screen. The first is an extra column that displays the secondary time zone to the left of the date (time zone feature). The second is a section on the far left that shows the current time in your selected time zones (world clock feature). 
    Screenshot of Google Calendar with time zones highlighted

How to link Google Calendar to Outlook Calendar

Note: For this tutorial, I used a browser on a PC. By following these steps, you will be able to create and edit Google Calendar events in Outlook, but you won’t be able to edit Outlook events in Google Calendar. 

  1. Open Outlook Calendar in your browser and navigate to the Settings tab.
    Screenshot of Outlook calendar with "settings" icon highlighted in top right corner
  2. Scroll to the the bottom of the settings and click View all settings.
    Screenshot of Outlook calendar with "View all Outlook settings" highlighted in bottom right corner
  3. Click the Accounts tab of the settings menu, and sign in using Google.
    Screenshot of Outlook calendar with "Accounts" highlighted
  4. Check if you can see your calendars from Google Calendar in Outlook. If you cannot see them, something has gone wrong, and you may want to start from step 1 again. If you can see them, continue to step 5. 

    Screenshot of Outlook calendar with Google Calendar options highlighted in left sidebar
  5. Now we want to share our Outlook calendar with Google Calendar. Navigate to the Settings tab of Outlook once more, and this time go to Shared Calendars.

    Screenshot of Outlook calendar settings with "Shared calendars" highlighted
  6. Publish your default calendar. I chose to publish it with a view of all details, since I am the only one who will have access to it.
    outlook screen publishing a calendar
  7. Copy the ICS link that appears.

    outlook screen copy ICS link
  8. Open Google Calendar. In the top right, click the gear icon and select Settings. Click Add Calendar in the left navigation to display more options, and then click From URL. Paste the ICS link into the “URL of Calendar” field. Click Add calendar. You’re all set!

    Screenshot of Google Calendar "Add calendar" settings


As a best  practice, I make sure to place events I can control in Google and leave meetings and other events that are assigned to me in the Outlook calendar, but feel free to find your own balance. 

I hope that Google Calendar fans like myself find these tips useful. I know I do!