Sharing Settings for Calendars

When creating a shared calendar for activities or individuals, there are a few things to consider. Within Google, there are three types of Calendars: Primary Calendars, Secondary Calendars, and Resource Calendars. Determining the purpose of your sharing type will determine which type of calendar best fits your needs.

Let's take a look at the difference in calendar types:

  • Primary calendars are the calendar that comes with a user's account and shows the user's name. For example, eg: The primary calendar appears under the My calendars heading in the right panel.
  • Secondary calendars sit under the Other calendars heading in the right panel. 
  • Resource Calendars contain physical resources such as conference rooms, laptop carts, auditoriums, gyms, etc. that users can book for use. 

Primary Calendars Admin Console Sharing Settings

The visibility settings for Primary Calendars are in the Admin console > Apps > Google Workspace > Calendar > Sharing settings. Here, you can change the default visibility for individuals within the organization and the maximum visibility for external members.

What are Other Calendars (secondary)

An Other calendar, sometimes called a secondary calendar, is any calendar a user created or has been shared with that user.

Many schools have opted to create Service Accounts for their shared calendars. This choice offers the significant advantage of making these calendars more easily locatable than secondary calendars when you're searching in the calendar interface.

Secondary calendars' difficulty is ensuring that necessary users subscribe to the new calendar. Although a calendar may be made public or visible to all domain members, without a link to the calendar or an emailed invitation, secondary calendars are not easily discoverable.

To add an Other calendar, click the + button, and then an option for how it is to be added.  For example, to create a new calendar, click  + > Create new calendar. By default, the creator is the only person with the ability to make changes to events and manage sharing. The primary person can override these defaults, allowing another person to make changes to calendar events. 

Secondary Calendar Admin Console Sharing Settings

The visibility settings for Secondary Calendars are in the Admin console > Apps > Google Workspace > Calendar > General settings. Here, you can change the default visibility for individuals within the organization and the maximum visibility for external members.


How End Users Share and Manage Permissions

Here, we'll share a calendar with a specific person and designate their permission. Once set up, the user gets an email invitation to the calendar. There is no need to try to find it from a list. 

  1. In the My calendars group in a calendar, hover over the calendar.
  2. Click the 3-dots, then click Settings and Sharing from the popup.
  3. Go to the Share with specific people or groups section.
  4. Click Add people and groups
  5. Enter a person or group email.
  6. In the Permissions field, select the necessary access. 
    • By default See all event details is selected, meaning others subscribed to the calendar can see your event titles and specifics. If you want subscribers to see Busy as the title, select See only free/busy (hide details.
    • Select Make changes to events if the invitee is to be able to help the calendar owner/primary update events.
    • Select Make changes and manage sharing if the invitee is to help the calendar owner/primary update events and manage sharing. Use caution with this option, as the invitee will have the same permissions as the calendar owner, but they cannot remove the primary calendar owner.
  7. Click Send. The added person will receive an email invitation for the calendar.

Resource Calendars

The ability to book these calendars is based on a setting called Resource booking permissions found under Admin Console > Apps > Google Workspace > Calendar > General Settings.


As a default setting, Resource Calendars have events visible to all users. To prevent students from reserving a resource, admins will need to go into the calendar and change the Access Permissions to See only Free/Busy and add the individuals or groups to the Share with specific people list.

Creating Resource Calendars is done from the Resources section of the Calendar settings or from the Directory sidebar > Buildings and Resources > Manage resources. If using categories and insights, admins must define the buildings within the resource management. Otherwise, an undefined category and building could be used.


Visibility for resource calendars can be viewed by clicking on Add a coworker’s calendar and selecting Browse resources. This menu is available for all users and is where admins go to change the visibility settings for a resource calendar. Once the calendar has been subscribed to, changes to share settings and visibility permissions are made in the same manner as for other calendars.

To make a reservation on a Resource calendar, users create the event in their own calendar, and in the box where they would invite guests, choose the tab for Rooms then select the room which they are wanting to reserve.


If you found this useful, you may find Manage Buildings and Resources useful. It covers Google’s update that consolidated the building and room management features in depth.


Are you interested in going further? We offer technical support and consulting to get started and manage your Google Workspace domain.


Document Version Date Description of Change
1.0 3/18/2024 Removed extra paragraph link
1.1 6/25/2024 Heavy rewrite with Kyle's help, verified. 


Articles in this section

See more