A few months ago I decided to stop using Outlook as my mail client, there were 2 reasons for this, firstly I don’t like the Outlook 2013 interface, seriously, even with my glasses on I’m squinting to read it on my 22” monitor and then there’s a limit of being able to add 6 email addresses – yes I have 8, and that doesn’t include the multiple pop3 accounts that converge to one gmail account and – the number is growing every month!

I now use Thunderbird to manage multiple email accounts. This means I’m not constantly switching between Outlook and my browser to check emails. Thunderbird has taken a little getting used to after years of using Outlook, however, 6 months later I’m loving it and will never go back. Bonus – I can read everything due to Thunderbirds clean and tidy interface.

Thunderbird is freeware, it’s maintained really well however it doesn’t come with a built in calendar, so off I head and download the Lightning calendar plugin. Now I’m all good, this calendar works seamlessly with Outlook, Google and other calendars. I’ve sent, received, accepted and modified appointment times with 100% success across several different calendar clients.

Here’s the thing (isn’t there always a thing), I’m now faced with managing multiple calendars.  Google calendar works well on my android devices but I’m now constantly flicking between Thunderbird and Google calendar with lots of leeway for missing appointments.

Ok it’s time to sync my calendars. The first step was to get all my google calendars shared with my main google gmail account.

google cogTo share your Google calendar head into each gmail account, click the cog (top right) -> Settings, select Calendars tab, then click your main calendar. From this screen you will see a tab named Share this Calendar. Scroll down to Share with specific people and add your main gmail account. Gmail will fire an email off to your main email account for which you need to click the link to activate the share.

Now to sync Lightning (Thunderbird) calendar with Google calendar.

thunderbird menuFirst off you need to install an add-in called Provider for Google Calendar.  From inside Thunderbird head to the drop down menu (top right, 3 horizontal lines) and select Add-ons. Search for ‘Provider for Google Calendar’ and install. Close Thunderbird and re-open to complete the installation.

Re-open Thunderbird and select from the drop down menu New Message then Calendar. The new calendar wizard will pop up. new calendar wizard

Select On the Network, Next

Select Google Calendar, Next

Enter your main gmail account, Next.

A window will open asking you to login to your gmail account. Log in.  At this point you may be asked if you want Thunderbird to remember your password, say yes – otherwise you will be entering your password each time you sync (or each time Thunderbird auto-syncs!).  Provider for Google Calendar will ask your permission to manage your calendars and tasks, click allow.

You will then be presented with a list of all the calendars that have been shared with your main gmail account, select which ones you want to be able to manage and click next.

calendarAnd there you have it, all your calendar appointments, in your diary and color coded and ready for you to manage from either the Thunderbird client or online at Google.  You can sync your calendar manually by clicking the sync button on the top left of your screen or manage auto-syncing by right clicking the email address on the left and selecting properties.








– Anne