Import a Google calendar into Microsoft Outlook

Woman using Microsoft Outlook application, close up
Image: FellowNeko/Adobe Stock

It is common to use a third-party calendar, such as Google Calendar, even if you also use Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar feature. You can use Outlook on your PC and Google Calendar on mobile devices. With two different calendars, you may want to see appointments from both Google and Outlook in the same calendar to avoid scheduling errors. Fortunately, this is possible.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to import Google Calendar files into Microsoft Outlook. In a future article, I’ll show you how to subscribe to Google Calendar using Microsoft Outlook.

I’m using Microsoft Outlook desktop and Google Calendar with Edge on a Windows 10 64-bit system. You can use older versions through Outlook 2013. Don’t worry if your steps don’t match the article perfectly. If you come across a difference, it should be minor.

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What is the difference between import and subscribe?

When you import a Google calendar file (.ics), you get a one-time static view of existing events that you can then overlap with your Microsoft Outlook calendars. Please note that Google and Outlook do not sync. Anything you add to Google Calendar after import won’t appear in Microsoft Outlook.

Subscribing to Google Calendar establishes a connection between the two calendar apps, so adding an event to Google Calendar will show up in your Outlook calendar. It’s important to note that the connection only goes one way: from Google to Outlook. Any appointments you add to Outlook Calendar will never appear in Google Calendar through this connection, but you can.

Import a Google calendar file

You may be wondering why you would want to import a static view of Google Calendar events. If you move everything from Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook, you will no longer see events, so you don’t need a dynamic connection to your Google Calendar. Should such an opportunity arise, here is how to import a Google calendar into Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Open Google Drive with your favorite browser and choose Calendar. You can also access your Gmail account with your favorite browser to access your calendar.
  2. Select My Calendars in the panel on the left, then choose Settings from the gear icon in the top right corner (Image A
  3. Select Import and Export in the left pane, then click Export from the drop-down list. At the top of the resulting pane, you can import. Click Export, as shown in Figure Bwhich is located under the import options.
  4. Save the calendar file when prompted by your browser. Depending on your browser settings, the file may be automatically saved in the Downloads folder. When prompted by the browser, select a location to save the exported file. Be sure to write down the location so you don’t forget it, especially if you’re not going to import it right away. Google will download a file with your email address in the name.
  5. Locate the exported file. Right-click and choose Extract All.
  6. Choose a location, as shown in Figure Cand click Extract. Since these are temporary files, there is no reason to change the default location. If you want to see the extracted files, check the Show extracted files when finished option. If you have multiple Google calendars, you will have an .ics file for each calendar. Two Google Calendar files are displayed in Figure D

Image A

Select My calendars.

Figure B

Export My Calendar Files.

Figure C

Extract the Google calendar files.

Figure D

You may have more than one calendar file.

After you export the Google Calendar file(s), import one into Microsoft Outlook as follows:

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook desktop and go to the Calendar window.
  2. Click the File tab and select Open & Export in the left pane.
  3. Choose Import/Export to start the Import and Export Wizard.
  4. Choose Import an iCalendar (.ics) or vCalendar file, then click Next.
  5. Browse to the extracted Google files (Digits E
  6. Select a calendar file and click Open. You can only import one .ics file at a time.
  7. Click OK, then choose Open As New or Import, as shown in Figure F, to import the calendar events. This choice is yours. If you import it as a new calendar, you can display them together, as shown in Figure Gor overlay to combine events into one view.

Digits E

Choose the Google calendar you want to import.

Figure F

Import the calendar.

Figure G

Show the calendars together in Microsoft Outlook.

At this point, you should see all the events stored in your Google Calendar in Microsoft Outlook. Keep in mind that this is a one-time snapshot. If you add or remove events from your Google Calendar after importing, the new events will not appear in Microsoft Outlook.

How to Import into Outlook.com

There are Microsoft Outlook accounts that cannot be imported from Outlook Calendar. It is usually a server error that you cannot fix yourself. If this happened to you, consider using Outlook.com’s calendar as a workaround.

To sync Outlook.com and Google Calendar, do the following:

  1. Open Google Calendar with your browser.
  2. Copy the URL to the Windows clipboard.
  3. Open Outlook.com and click Add Calendar in the left pane.
  4. Click Upload from file in the left pane.
  5. In the resulting window, click Browse and locate the same file you imported in the section above.
  6. Click Import.

After importing the calendar into Outlook.com, the Google calendar events may appear in the Outlook.com calendar and Outlook Desktop under Other calendars. This technique is unpredictable and may not work. It can show a new calendar, but not existing events. It’s worth the try.

Stay tuned

Now that you know how to import a Google calendar file into Microsoft Outlook Desktop, you may realize that this is not what you need. To continue using Google Calendar and see new events in Microsoft Outlook, subscribe to the calendar.

In a future article, I’ll show you how to subscribe to Google Calendar so you can continue to use both calendars and see events from both in Microsoft Outlook.

To learn how to overlay Microsoft Outlook calendars, read How to view multiple calendars at once in Outlook.