I’m going to put up this little how-to guide for our friends and admins at the Flux Factory to assist their staff with setting up google’s Calendar for internal use (free to educational non-profits!). Should be applicable to any other non-profits or organizations who are trying to wrap their heads around google’s ‘sharing’ structure in particular. It’s obtuse, but actually makes a ton of sense once you understand it. Here we go!

For starters, one must first understand that when you “register” your domain with Google Apps, you are not actually transferring any of your ICANN data or nameserver pointing to google, you are only creating an account, in Flux Factory’s case “@fluxfactory.org” with google, which will allow said domain users to access their services. I’ll be focusing on Calendar for this post. Of course to do this you must actually OWN the domain you are registering with google, and be able to create one primary email address for google to contact, as well as be able to setup subdomain redirects or create CNAME records. Assuming you’ve already registered:

the organization’s admin needs to create all the accounts. This is done via the main Google Apps login and is located at your primary dashboard, where it says “Create new users“:


When you create a new user, google will generate a random password, and you’ll see a link to “Email instructions” which will popup a window to send instructions to the user whose account you just created.

At this point, depending on where you’ve setup subdomain remaps, the user will eventually log into Google Apps and use Calendar via the login window:


It’s important from an organizational standpoint to recognize that each user maintains their own calendar and account. To access each others calendars sharing needs to be enabled and implemented by each user; i.e. every staff member needs to manually input all the calendars they want to embed inside THEIR calendar. This might seem like a hassle, but it makes sense, because it allows a tiered approach to staffing (not applicable to Flux Factory’s paltry staff of less than one dozen).

As each user logs in for the first time, I recommend you immediately change your temporary password. Google may prompt you upon your first login to change your password; if not, you can do this via the top-right of your browser (assuming you’re already in the Calendar), click Settings:


Then follow the arrow:


After creating your new password I recommend logging out and back in, to clear your cache and make sure the rest runs smoothly. Then again click on Settings, and on the Calendars tab:


The above image is incorrect. At first you will only see YOUR calendar, because you haven’t added “FLUX FACTORY” yet. So click on YOUR calendar (in my case, highlighted red). You will get settings relevant to YOUR calendar. Click the ‘Share this calendar‘ tab:


Make sure the above settings are ticked and the drop-down menu options in place. Click ‘Save’ button.

You will be taken back to the main calendar. Now we will add our organization’s staff calendars to YOUR calendar.

Under the Other calendars box, click ‘Add’ then ‘Add a friend’s calendar’:


You will get the following window. Now, by ‘Contact Email’ google does NOT mean the users personal email. It is referring to their Apps-email, in this case something like user@fluxfactory.org which is maintained as a user within Google Apps. Does that make sense? Yup! Start typing in the input box and google will predict who you are trying to add:


There’s really only one thing left to do, Create Events!


This will take you to a window like this:


This is the most important step yet. Note the “Calendar” drop down menu. Currently there are two options, MY personal calendar and the ORGANIZATION’S admin calendar. This is very useful for differentiating between events relevant to your position (your calendar) and an event you are posting for all staffers. KEEP IN MIND as we are advancing an ethic of transparency, all other staffers will still have access to your personal organizational calendar. So it’s not a “private” calendar (that’s what your PERSONAL gmail account calendar is for).

As you have ability to post events to the organizations calendar, please DO NOT SPAM that calendar. Don’t post non-relevant events. For myself in particular I’ve pushed the organizations calendar to my phone. So my personal calendar is doubled-up with everything the organization does. If you spam the organization’s main calendar with non-relevent events, you spam me, personally. So be sure to distinct between events relevant to ALL (organization) and yourself (remember everybody else can still see your calendar, and choose to untick it under My Calendars).

Back at the actual calendar, you will start to see fields like this:


For this instance, the blue fields are the FLUX FACTORY events, and the red field is my personal organizational event.



Our organization’s login for our and your calendar can be found here:


That shouldn’t be hard to remember.

The organizations main calendar FEED is PUBLIC ACCESSIBLE (another reason to not spam it with non-relevant events) and can be found at the following XML link:


You can ADD this link to the device or software of  your choice (I’ve added it to my personal gmail account calendar – via Other Calendars -> Add -> Add by URL – and pushed this to my mobile phone).

As for phones, Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users should follow these instructions on how to sync your device with Flux Factory’s Google Apps account. For G1 (Android) users it should be straightforward, but to clarify add the above XML link to your PERSONAL google calendar via your desktop/laptop, then it will automatically push to your Android phone. You can tick on/off the organization’s calendar under Calendar -> Menu -> My Calendars. I’ll show G1 users if they’re confused; iPhone/iPod Touch users are on your own.

Any ?s?