Calendar Sync between different platforms has always been a challenge. When you need to keep Outlook and Google calendars in sync you might face the problem that there is no real functionality in Outlook or Google anymore to sync those two. In the past, Microsoft Outlook used to have a feature for this, but it has been removed years ago.
For me as a consultant I’m on the road quite often and at home at different times, depending on the customers location, traffic jams etc. I use Microsoft Outlook Calendar for my daily work but at home I use Google Calendar, which I share with my wife. So what I need is a sync from Microsoft Outlook to Google Calendar to share where I am at a certain day.
Flow and Microsoft Power Platform
Microsoft introduced Flow a while ago, which is part of the new Power Platform. Microsoft Flow is a cloud service that allows non-technical users to set up workflows in a practical and simple way that automates time-consuming business tasks and business processes across applications and services suchs as Power BI, PowerApps or Business Central. At this moment Microsoft Flow supports over 220 connectors.
This article shows the steps on how-to setup a Flow to sync your Outlook Calendar to Google Calendar.
Setup the Flow for Calendar Sync
Login to your Microsoft account with https://flow.microsoft.com and click on create a new Automated flow.
In the popup you choose the source where to start from. In this scenario it is Outlook 365 when a new event is created or modified.
Select your Outlook Calendar
Then select the next step. That’s “Create an event” in Google Calendar.
You will be asked to login into Google with your own account and give Flow permissions. After doing that you will get the following screen:
There are several fields you need to fill. When you click in a field at the right a sidebar will appear from which you can choose standard fields (from Outlook).
When all fields are filled, it will look like the picture below. Be aware of the “Z” positioned behind the Start Time and End Time. That’s needed, otherwise Flow won’t recognize the Time Zone and you will get an error.
Now the Flow is finished (yup, now already). It’s a simple one direction Sync from Outlook 365 into Google Calendar. Next step is to Save and Test the new Flow.
When testing the first time, you have to do it manually, which is basically adding something to your Calendar in Outlook (online) and view the results back in Flow. It may take some time, so you can refresh (Send & Receive) in Outlook to speed that up.
In the Flow Dashboard the results are shown. Per synced Item the Flow history will show wether it was succesfully done or failed. When failed the Flow tells you what the reason was (in my case due a Time Zone error).
For test I added an Event in Outlook Desktop:
Seconds later, my Event shows up in my Google Calendar:
Simple, but effective. With no other software than just the Tools I already had and used I could setup a Calendar Sync which helps me look into my personal Calendar on Google wherever I am. This is a one-way sync. Of course it is possible to sync the other way around as-well.
Now this is just a simple example not everybody uses. But me remembring looking al over the internet for this feature in the past… I have to have it. And I am going to connect my family Google Calendar (which I share with my wife) as well.
Other applicable situations
Let’s think of some other applicable situations where Calendar Sync with Flow is a good idea:
- Service Mechanic: you plan them in your planning system, and in their calendar (Outlook or Google for eg) an event is created.
- Or you send an email to the customer to remind them of the planned Maintenance visit and you automatically make an Event in the Calendar of the Person who’s going to visit the customer.
Alternatives for Calendar Sync
When setting up a Flow is too much trouble or you want a free alternative, it’s also possible to create a “subscription” to the Oulook Calendar in Google or vice versa by adding a link. Read more about this in this article of Techadvisor.