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Sharing calendars with partners

If you’re running a project with a partner, gaining ready visibility into team member calendars can make life (or at least scheduling meetings) a bit easier so you know when people may be available to meet.

While we can easily view personal calendar events for others at GSA (or at least free/busy status, depending on the settings users select) as well as team calendars we have configured (for example, project calendars), it can take more work for our partners at other agencies to view these personal and team calendars, (and for us to view their calendars).

Whether or not, and how readily, you can share calendars will depend on IT policy and settings for each given agency. But, sharing calendars is possible. Here are some different ways to do this:

Share GSA Google Calendars directly with partners

As a first step, see if you can directly share and view your calendar availability with your partner:

  1. From your calendar, highlight the calendar name you want to share, click the Options for [calendar name] menu button, and click Settings for my calendars
  2. In the Access permissions pane, check Make available to public and select the appropriate level of access (See only free/busy or See all event details) in the adjacent dropdown menu. Note: GSA personal calendars are configured to See only free/busy and cannot share event details.
  3. Click Get shareable link, copy the link, and send it to your partner.
  4. Ask your partner to import that link into the calendar program they use (often Microsoft Outlook for agency partners)
  5. See if your partner is able to view your calendar events. If they can do that, make sure they also see updates to events when they are created or modified.
  6. If the above works, ask your partner to share their calendar with you:
    • Partners using Google Calendar can share their calendars using the process above.
    • Partners using Microsoft Outlook can use this “Share your calendar with everyone” instructions here.
  7. Finally, import the partner calendar link into Google Calendar and see if you are able to view calendar events, including updates.

If this process does not work for your team, you can try sharing your calendars through MAX.gov.

MAX.gov

MAX.gov is a government-wide suite of advanced collaboration, information sharing, data collection, publishing, business intelligence, and authentication tools and services used to facilitate cross-government collaboration and knowledge management. MAX has over 200,000 users, across 180 federal agencies, in all branches of government.

The MAX.gov team includes government staff from OMB’s Budget Systems Branch as well as Department of Education Budget Line of Business Program Management Office as well as several vendors.

Agency customers pay MAX.gov for its services. GSA is currently a paying MAX customer, so these tools are available for our use.

Share calendars with partners via MAX.gov

To share calendars through MAX, team members (TTS and partners) will need to create individual MAX accounts, sync their calendars to that account, and finally add and approve calendars of and for other team members so calendar availability can be viewed.

Set up MAX account and sync GSA Google Calendars to them

  1. From your GSA Google Calendar, highlight the calendar name you want to share, click the Options for [calendar name] menu button, and click Settings for my calendars
  2. In the Access permissions pane, check Make available to public and select the appropriate level of access (See only free/busy or See all event details) in the adjacent dropdown menu. Note: GSA personal calendars are configured to See only free/busy and cannot share event details.
  3. Copy the Public address in iCal format (this link should end in .ics) and keep it someplace handy.
  4. If you do not already have one, register for a MAX.gov account using your GSA email address: https://portal.max.gov/portal/home
  5. Under the Personal Calendars heading, go to your default calendar, which is listed as My Calendar. Click on the down arrow to the right of this and select Manage calendar synchronization. Paste the link you copied into the The URL you are using to synchronize your MAX Calendar is: text field and click Done.
  6. At this point, your calendar will start syncing to MAX.

Configure partner calendar (non-GSA, non-Google Calendar) using Outlook

Sharing non-GSA federal calendars from Outlook using MAX.gov (depends on agency):

  1. Register for a MAX.gov account using your GSA email address: https://portal.max.gov/portal/home
  2. In Microsoft Outlook, click Publish online and Configure public calendar. Set which calendar you want to share and the permissions level for this and click Save.
  3. Copy the .ics file
  4. Follow instructions #4-6 from the above section.

See team member calendars once they are configured.

  1. To see other team member calendars, you’ll have to add them individually in MAX.
  2. Click the plus (+) button next to Personal Calendars heading and then click the Add Another Max User Personal Calendar
  3. Search for the target user, select the desired name that appears in the search results, click Add to add the user. At this point, you can search for and add more users. When you are done, click Done.
  4. At this point, the user will receive notifications via email and MAX prompting them to approve your request to view their MAX calendar. If they approve this, you will then be able to view their calendar.
  5. You’re done! At this point, you can help the rest of the team onboard and rejoice in your new ability to spend more time working and less time figuring out when people are available.

Additional reference


Still have questions?

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