How To: Integrate Google Calendar Into Thunderbird

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Google Calendar is a great, if not the best available tool to share calendars. However, it’s tedious to edit and keep track of it via the web interface. In saving time, integration is your best friend.

Naturally, there is a vast amount of addons and tools to sync, integrate and simply work more efficiently with Google Calendar. For example you can sync it with mobile devices like the Blackberry or iPhone using GoogleSync. Then you can add Google Calendar to Gmail with several different Greasemonkey scripts. Now I will explain how to add it to Thunderbird.

For this you will need two Thunderbird addons:
1. Lightning adds a Sunbird type calendar to Thunderbird.
2. Provider for Google Calendar connects Lightning with Google Calendar.

After installing both of these plugins, you will notice several changes in Thunderbird. First of all there is a new sidebar holding the calendar. At the bottom of the old sidebar that is hosting the folders and address book, you should see three new buttons: Mail, Calendar and Tasks.

To integrate an existing Google Calendar, you first need to fetch your calendar’s address. Head over to the web interface, click the little arrow next to one of your calendars, and select >Calendar settings from the menu.

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In the Details window you’re looking for the Calendar / Private Address section at the bottom. I found that both XML and ICAL URLs work, but XML is recommended. Whether you pick the calendar or the private address depends on whether your calendar is set to public or private.

Back in Thunderbird the first thing you have to do is click the Calendar symbol to switch from Mail to Calendar view.
Then click >File >New >Calendar… If the Calendar option is not available, you probably forgot to switch to the Calendar view.

From the Create New Calendar window select >On the Network, click >Next, select >Google Calendar as the format and insert the URL into the >Location field, click >Next, eventually enter your Google >User Name and >Password and click >OK, >Name your calendar, give it a >Color, click >Next and finally >Finish to complete the procedure.

And there you go, you have integrated your Google Calendar into Thunderbird. Editing the calendar works bidirectional, meaning you can add and edit events via the website or in Thunderbird and they will be synced automatically.

The Mozilla Wiki has a thorough page covering Provider of Google Calendar, including a section about bugs and limitations. There also is a Google Group discussing further questions.

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Comments (21)
  • Phil Nolan

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

  • Mickey C

    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

      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

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

      Happy New Year.

    • Mickey C

      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

  • Paul G

    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

  • Dave

    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

  • Rob Wales

    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

      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

      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

      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

      Rob

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

    • Tina

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

    • EEE

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

    • Rob Wales

      Hi EEE

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

      tia

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.