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How to allow someone outside your business access to a Google Calendar

Has this ever happened to you – you’re trying to share your Google Workspace Calendar with someone outside of your business and the only option you have is ‘See only free/busy’ but really you want them to see the event details?

For sole traders this usually happens when they try to share their work calendar with their personal Google account or with a family member. For slightly larger small businesses it usually occurs when trying to share calendars with external consultants or contractors.

In this article I’m going to show you how to change your Google Workspace calendar sharing options so you can select the sharing option that you want, regardless of whether the other person is outside your business or not.

This article is designed for Google Workspace administrators – if that’s not you, then feel free to forward the article to your administrator, but if you are a Google Workspace administrator then keep reading!

Steps to share Google Calendar access

  1. Log into your Google Workspace Admin console
  2. Go to Apps > Google Workspace > Calendar.
  3. Click Sharing settings.
  4. Click on the External Sharing options 
  5. Select how your employees can share their calendars with people outside your business. The option you choose will obviously be dictated by your own business requirements.
    • Only free/busy information (hide event details). People can check when your calendar is booked and when it has free time, but not the names or details of your events. This is the default setting.
    • Share all information, but outsiders cannot change calendars. People can see details for all events except those marked as private. They can also
      • Find the time zone setting for the calendar. 
      • Subscribe to email alerts when events are created, changed, canceled, responded to, or coming up.
    • Share all information, and outsiders can change calendars. People can see details for all events, including private ones. They can also
      • Add and edit events. 
      • Restore or permanently delete events from the calendar’s trash. 
      • Find calendar time zone setting. 
      • Subscribe to email alerts when events are created, changed, canceled, responded to, or coming up.
    • Share all information, and allow managing of calendars. People can see details for all events, including private ones. They can also
      • Add and edit events. 
      • Restore or permanently delete events from the calendar’s trash. 
      • Find the time zone setting for the calendar. 
      • Change sharing settings. 
      • Subscribe to email alerts when events are created, changed, canceled, responded to, or coming up. 
      • Permanently delete the calendar.
  6. (Optional) To set external calendar sharing options for secondary calendars that users create, go to Google Workspaceand thenCalendarand thenGeneral. You will see the same options as for primary calendars.
  7. Click Save.

It can take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect but after that you’ll be able to share your calendar as you wish.

But which option should you choose?

My personal recommendation for sole traders and small business owners

I’m often asked what calendar sharing setting is most appropriate from a small business perspective.

For me, I always recommend starting off with Option 2 – share all information (except for events marked private) but don’t allow others to make changes:

That’s because once you’ve changed the sharing options, then anyone in your business can give access at that level (or lower) to anyone outside your business.

Option 2 allows you to share information but keeps the ability to alter the calendar with you, minimising the likelihood that you’re going to end up with strange non-business related events on your business calendar.

There’s just one more thing.

What if other people still can’t see the Google Calendar?

Remember that you can only share Google Calendars with other Google account holders (doesn’t matter whether that’s a free Google account or another Google Workspace account). If you want to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account you’ll need to make the calendar public.

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