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Google Calendar is arguably the best tool to share calendars online How to Share Your Google Calendar With Anyone How to Share Your Google Calendar With Anyone We show you three options for sharing your Google Calendar. Using iCal, even Apple Calendar and Outlook users can view your schedule. We also explain how to revoke access to your Google Calendar. Read More . The web interface is great, but if you want to be efficient, you’ll unite your Google Calendar with a tool you’re using anyway.

Meanwhile, Thunderbird comes pre-installed with the Lightning Calendar. While you can add network-based calendars to Lightning, this calendar doesn’t natively support read and write access to external calendars.

Let’s see how you can fully integrate Google Calendar with Thunderbird.

What You Need

Google Calendar integration requires two Thunderbird add-ons:

  1. Lightning (pre-packaged as of Thunderbird 38) adds a Sunbird-type calendar to Thunderbird.
  2. Provider for Google Calendar connects Lightning with Google Calendar for bi-directional read and write access.

Note: If all you want is read access to a public calendar, you only need Lightning.

First, open the Thunderbird Tools Menu (hamburger icon) and under Add-ons > Extensions check whether you still need to install Lightning. Download the add-on/s you need, expand the cog icon, select Install Add-on From File…, browse to the download location, Open the add-on installation file, and click Install Now. To complete the installation, you’ll have to Restart Thunderbird.

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With Lightning installed, you should see the Lightning Calendar icon at the top right, next to the Tasks icon. Click the calendar icon to open the Lightning Calendar tab.

How to Add a Calendar

Per default, you’ll see a Home calendar in Lightning. To add a new calendar 9 Google Calendar Features You Should Be Using 9 Google Calendar Features You Should Be Using Google Calendar has more tricks up its sleeve than you may realize. Our tips will help you organize events and reduce the time you spend managing your calendar. Read More , right-click into the empty space below your existing calendar/s and select New Calendar… You can choose between On My Computer or On the Network. Select the latter to add a Google Calendar.

Add a Private Google Calendar

Choose On the Network > Google Calendar to add your own Google Calendar/s or Google Calendars shared with you.

Note: The Google Calendar option is only available after installing Provider for Google Calendar. You can still add public Google Calendars using the iCalendar (ICS) format, which offers read only access (see below).

In the following window (Locate your calendar) you either have to provide your Google email address, log into your account, and grant Provider for Google Calendar permission to manage your calendars OR — if you have previously done that — you can pick an existing Google session. Once you’re logged into your Google account, you should see a list of your Google Calendars.

Check the calendars you want to add, click Next, wait for the confirmation that Your calendar has been created, and click Finish.

You should now see Lightning populated with your Google Calendar events.

How to Add a Public Google Calendar

As mentioned above, you don’t need Provider for Google Calendar to add public calendars. However, you will need the calendar’s iCal address Awesome Things You Can Automatically Import To Google Calendar Awesome Things You Can Automatically Import To Google Calendar A calendar keeps every aspect of your life focused in one place, allowing you to worry less and accomplish more. Here are some useful ways to import important information into your Google Calendar. Read More .

Let’s say you just want to view one of your Google Calendars. Open the Google Calendar web interface, expand My calendars, click the arrowhead next to one of the calendars, and select Calendar settings.

Now look for the Calendar Address and click the ICAL button.

Next, copy the ICAL address, i.e. the link ending in .ics.

Note: The ICAL ICS link only works if the calendar is public. In the example above, the calendar is actually private.

When you’re back in Thunderbird, select On the Network > iCalendar (ICS), enter the Location, i.e. the ICS link, and click Next.

Finalize calendar settings, like name, color, reminders, and associated email address, click Next again, and finally click Finish, if all worked out.

Google Calendar Integrated Into Lightning

And there you go, you have successfully integrated your Google Calendar How to Sync Your Google Calendar with the Windows 10 Taskbar How to Sync Your Google Calendar with the Windows 10 Taskbar Sync your Google Calendar with the Windows Calendar app wasn't always possible. Since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you can even manage your Google, iCloud, and Outlook calendars from the Taskbar. We show you how. Read More into Thunderbird. Editing the calendar works both ways, meaning you can add and edit events via the website or in Thunderbird and they will automatically sync in either direction.

The Mozilla Wiki has a thorough page covering Provider of Google Calendar, including a section about bugs and limitations. You can also poke your head into the Google Group discussing further questions.

For more details about the Lightning Calendar, read Mozilla’s Lightning Calendar documentation.

Add the Google Calendar Web Interface

If you’d rather not use the Lightning Calendar, you can use Google Calendar Tab to bring the Google Calendar web interface to Thunderbird. Essentially, you’re adding a browser window running Google Calendar.

DownloadGoogle Calendar Tab

Once installed, the familiar Google Calendar icon will appear at the top right. Click the icon to log into your Google account and access the Google Calendar web app. Now you can edit your calendars like you would in your browser.

In the add-on options, you can switch between Google Calendar and Google Apps for your domain. This is useful if you have a Google Apps account.

Google Calendar Meets Thunderbird

We’ve shown you how to add Google Calendar to Thunderbird, either by integrating it into the Lightning Calendar or by adding the Google Calendar web interface 6 (Google) Calendar Mistakes You Should Avoid 6 (Google) Calendar Mistakes You Should Avoid You're wasting time by not using your calendar effectively. We show you six mistakes you might be making and how to use the full potential of your calendar. Read More in a separate Thunderbird tab.

Over to you! Which method do you prefer? Do you use any other Thunderbird add-ons for Google Calendar? Can you recommend any public calendars worth adding?

Please drop us a comment, we look forward to hearing from you!

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  1. Mark
    May 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    One small issue with this add-on: It only has options to Sync every 30mins, 60mins or manually
    Bit of an issue if you are sharing a calendar with someone and you'd like changes to be instant.

    I'd like a little more control over that. E.g. every 1-5mins

    • Tina Sieber
      May 22, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      You could use an alternative extension that opens the Google Calendar web interface in a Thunderbird tab. This will give you live access to Google Calendar. The drawback is that it doesn't integrate with Thunderbird / Lightning / Tasks. Although you could set up both and enjoy the best of both worlds. Stay tuned as we're updating the article; the new version will include this method.

  2. Neelesh
    January 25, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Wow,
    You are cool.
    Thanks

  3. Phil Nolan
    July 23, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Google changed their API and now using Provider F's up Thunderbird. Do not install Provider.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 23, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      It seems to work fine now. We just updated the article and I experienced no issues while testing the integration.

      • likefunbutnot
        May 25, 2017 at 11:41 am

        I'm a daily Thunderbird (Fossamail) user and it's been my experience that the provider breaks occasionally and gets fixed eventually. I've learned not to rely on it. Since I primarily use Google Calendar to see what other people are doing, this isn't a huge deal-breaker, but I wish calendar/contact syncing with online providers worked better generally than it does so that I could make a better case for Thunderbird as a general purpose (rather than "nerd power user") messaging application.

        • Tina Sieber
          May 25, 2017 at 4:53 pm

          Thanks for the insight! I originally wrote this story back when Thunderbird was my main email client. Haven't used it in years and only had a short testing period for updating this article. This makes your comment super valuable!

  4. Mickey C
    January 6, 2010 at 4:47 am

    All sounds exactly what i need.
    can someone just clarify once 2 or 3 people have set this up they can all work from and edit the same calendar??
    Or is this a simpler request that thunderbirds could do anyway???

    • Tina
      January 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

      Mickey,
      you can share a Google or other public calendar with several people through Thunderbird if you set it up as described. I wouldn't know of another way of doing this through Thunderbird.

      • Mickey C
        January 7, 2010 at 1:40 am

        Thanks Tina, I'll have a pop at it today and see how it goes.

        Happy New Year.

        • Mickey C
          January 7, 2010 at 9:02 am

          Tina,
          Thanks again. All works fantastically. Is there away to get alerts set up so the people sharing calendars recieve emails??

          Sorry, i won't bombard you to much after this. I'll have a play. Thanks again.
          M

  5. Paul G
    September 5, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I was SOOO close but it just would not work. All I got was a blank colander. I then found a walk through that showed me a vital link that was missing.

    If you are having problems, check out bfish.xaedalus.net/?p=239

    Paul

  6. Dave
    July 11, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    could someone clarify: if I go offline, will all my Google Calendar events still show in Thunderbird after a restart? I'm running Vista and searching for a way to have bi-directional syncing with Thunderbird and GCal AND offline access in Thunderbird.

    Thanks

  7. Rob Wales
    July 7, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I have had to reinstall Jaunty and have lost the calendar functionality. I have TB 2.0.0.22 with lightning and Provider for Google Calendar installed just as I previously did but now File -> new -> calendar is greyed out as are all options under the Calendar menu.
    Also the Calendar list is empty.
    Please help

    Rob

    • Tina
      July 8, 2009 at 1:56 am

      Rob,
      when I view >Mail in Thunderbird the >File >New >Calendar option is greyed out as well.
      Try to open the calender view through >Go >Calendar or click [CTRL] + [3]. Does that work? Once you are in calender view you should be able to create a new calendar through >File >New >Calendar.
      Good luck!

      • Rob Wales
        July 10, 2009 at 7:57 am

        Hi and thanks but no this doesn't fix the problem. I can get a calendar view which shows nothing in the calendar list and a calendar that shows today only and I can't move to another day or view, nor can I create a new calendar. this is really odd as it was humming along before I had to reinstall the OS.

        • Tina
          July 11, 2009 at 5:43 am

          I'm afraid I can't reproduce your error amd I'm running Windows. If you have already tried to entirely reinstall Thunderbird with only the necessary plugins/extensions for the calender and if that didn't work, I would recommend to describe your problem in a Linux or Mozilla forum.

        • Eric Nord
          July 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

          Rob

          I have the same problem - it all worked under Hardy, then I upgraded to Jaunty, and no luck.

        • Tina
          August 5, 2009 at 4:38 am

          Thanks for providing a potential solution EEE! Hope it will work for everyone.

        • EEE
          August 5, 2009 at 4:21 am

          I had the same problem. To fix it I uninstalled Lightning and Google Calender Provider, then reinstalled lightning-extension using aptitude.

        • Rob Wales
          August 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

          Hi EEE

          Do you have the command line to install by Apt-get?

          tia

  8. NM
    March 11, 2009 at 2:38 am

    awesome, worked like a charm! sure I'll find bugs soon, but for now all is golden!

  9. Aibek
    August 31, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Public calendars are those that are available to everyone or people you specifically shared them with. When it comes to private ones they are available only to the owner.

  10. dovetalk
    August 30, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Good info. I have been looking for something like this for a while.

    What is a bit unclear to me is the difference between "public" and "private" Google calendars for those of calendars that are shared, but only between a select group of people. Does anyone know what the difference is in this case?

    PS. the link to Provider for GC points to the German add-on site. You may want to change it to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/4631

  11. moe
    August 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Good stuff. Been using this combo for about a year. If you make an entry in either one (GCalendar or Lightning/T-bird), it instantly updates it in the other.

  12. Ramesh @ The Geek Stuff
    August 28, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I use Thunderbird on one of my Linux box to access emails from different sources. I'll try your approach to see how effectively I can get Google calendar into Thunderbird. Thanks for putting this together.

    ~ Ramesh ~

    • Ivo
      September 7, 2008 at 11:50 am

      Hi Ramesh
      I am an ubuntu newbi, switching from MS windows to Ubuntu.
      I would like to install this calendar-synchronisation-feature into my Ubuntu.
      I suppose I need linux compatible add-ons, other than the ones shown here.
      I this correct ?? and can you give me a hint how to install them in my Ubuntu-Thunderbird ??
      Thank you for helping me out !

      Ivo