How-To Geek

Overlay Calendars in Outlook 2007 (like Google Calendar does)

Remembering to update a single calendar is tough enough for me, but many people use multiple calendars to keep track of teams or events. But what if you want to view all the items merged together into one calendar, similar to the way Google Calendar does?

The dual-calendar view feature was first introduced in Outlook 2003, but has taken a bunch of steps forward in Outlook 2007 to the point where it’s really useful because of the overlay feature.

First you’ll need to change to the Calendar view, and then select more than one calendar in the list.


Now if you hover your mouse over the little arrow icon next to the second calendar you’ll notice it says “View in Overlay Mode”. Of course you should just click the icon at this point.


Now your calendars will be overlayed over top of each other, with the current calendar’s items visually highlighted. Clicking the icon again would put the calendars side by side again.


Switching back and forth between the tabs will visually highlight the items for that calendar. Additionally, you can interact with the grayed items from the other calendars while still in the “merged” view.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/19/07

Comments (27)

  1. Vinylkemist

    ow is this possible in Outlook 2003? It can be accomplished with Categories in a single calendar, but as far as overlaying multiple calendars, I don’t believe its possible in 2003. Side by side definitely, but overlaying???

  2. Brian

    definitely would like to know how it’s done in Outlook 2003!

  3. Ryan Cromwell

    I’m looking all through 2003 to figure this out? Where is the feature in 2003?

  4. The Geek

    You can view calendars side-by-side in Outlook 2003, and 2007 adds the overlay feature.

    Sorry for the confusion… I wasn’t quite clear enough. Guess I should start sleeping =)

  5. IAN

    Any idea how to change the color of each calendar? I selected three of my calendars and the first and third calendar are the same color (same as your first one above). The second calendar is green like your second one above.

  6. Daniel Fountain

    Can you do this with a public calender? I cant see how?

  7. Lizzi

    When I change the color of the default calendar, all the others change too. And it doesn’t appear to support customizing individual calendar colors beyond the default. Any one find a way around that?

  8. Greg

    Hi Guys

    Hi guys & thanks for a grat site full of useful tips & guides. I know this is a pretty dated thread now but…. it seems the most appropriate one to ask my somewhat related question in.

    I have two Outlook 2007 calendars: one is the default that I use for personal appointments, etc. The other is a seperate schedule of classes that i need to attend over the next four months. I created it as a seperate calendar so that I could e-mail it to other members of my study groups to use.

    Viewing the 2 calendars in the “merged” view works great for me so that I dont schedule clashing meetings, and the group doesn’t get burdened with “Dentist Appointment: 2pm” type stuff.

    My problem is that I only seem to get reminders from the default calendar, and can only see default calendar appointments on the Outlook Today screen and in the To-Do navigator when viewing e-mails. So my questions is simply this:

    Is there anyway to get both sets of appointments to display in Outlook Today and the To-Do bar?

    Any suggestions welcomed.

  9. Sean

    I have the same question as Greg above. I have been searching to answers to this question all day online. can anyone please help?

  10. Dane

    I am with Sean and Greg. How can you see both or all calendars in Outlook Today?

  11. Sean

    This is working well for us, but we will need to be able to see reminders for each calendar. Also, how can we get both calendar views to show up in the To-Do Bar?

  12. Humayun

    Same question as Sean and Greg. There must be a way!

  13. Richard

    Bump – same question as Sean and Greg – I guess nobody has found an answer!

  14. Sharyn


    I’m able to get reminders from multiple calendars in outlook. Its easy if you have access to sharepoint. This is my setup at the office where I work:

    1. On my PC, MS outlook 2007 is connected via LAN to the company’s servers which host MS Exchange 2007 and the version of sharepoint (our intranet software)that comes free with MS windows server 2003.

    2. My internet explorer homepage is our sharepoint site. On this site, I use the “site actions” tab to create a new sharepoint calendar. From this calendar’s “actions” dropdown I choose the “connect to outlook” option so when I open my outlook calendar on my PC it shows up in “other calendars.” I check the box next to it to turn it on.

    3. Now anything I add on this second outlook calendar syncs with the copy on sharepoint and vice versa. I will get reminders for the events on this cal as long as the checkbox is on. It stays on even when i close and restart outlook and only turns off when i uncheck it. Lastly, I overlay this secondary cal with my default cal to clean things up a bit.

    Hope that helps,
    Sharyn :)

  15. Pat Mathews

    I am still looking for the answer to the question about changing the color of an overlayed calendar. I sync my Coaches Console Calendar…client appointments…with outlook and the overlay it on my other calendar. I want the synced calendar to be red…how do I make that happen?


  16. Eric Langston

    @Pat Mathews
    I haven’t found a way to get around the default colors. However, the color that Outlook assigns to the calendar happens in the default order each time — and the second calendar that gets added is pink, which is hopefully close enough to Red for you.

    So, play around by adding and removing the calendars in different orders until you get the colors just right.

    Hope that helps,

  17. Nycole

    In response to Pat Mathews multiple calendar multiple color question… I too wanted to customize the color of my secondary calendar. This is the best I could find. In Tools-Options-Calendar Options choose your default calendar color. Then make sure the box that says “use selected color on all calendars” is not checked (Outlook 2007). The color you choose for your default color will be how outlook determines the color of your second calendar. So, if I make my default purple, the secondary calendar is green. If I make my default green, the secondary calendar is pink.

    The only other trick I sometimes employ is to add a third calendar that I don’t use, but by checking it to open view it – so I have three calendars open – it will change the color of my secondary calendar. So, one is purple, one is green and one is gray. Then I close the third calendar and my secondary calendar retains the color I want.

    Best Regards.

  18. Tyler Szabo

    @Pat Mathews, @Nycole

    I’ve found that I could change the color of the actual calendar events for a calendar using automatic formatting.

    Select a calendar event from the desired calendar, right click, select “Automatic Formatting…”. Do not specify any condition, and pick any name you want. Then select the color to give the events. All events in this calendar will have that format (color :) ). It won’t change the border color, but at least your events will be the color you want them to be.


  19. Tyler Szabo

    @Pat Mathews, @Nycole

    Oops, I lied, you will have to put in a condition (I found out that not putting in the condition will default everything to the color given, except for events that have categories). The condition should be Advanced > Field > All Note Fields > In Folder = “Folder Name”



  20. Amit Sinha

    Hello all..

    I have multiple calendars syncing from Google Calendar (on my Gmail account) to Outlook 2007, however, for certain calendars I do not need reminders, whilst for others I do.. Does anyone know how to turn off the reminders for certain calendars, whilst keeping others on? – I’d greatly appreciate it if someone could tell me, as no-one seems to have found a solution to this problem online..



  21. Daniel

    Thanks for the tip. I have this set up so my facebook events are overlaid on my default calendar. However, this gives priority to the facebook events–they are in bold colors and the default calendar events are muted.

    So, I reposition the calendars in the list so the default calendar is higher, making those events bold by default. Maddeningly, every time that I re-open Outlook, the facebook calendar has been repositioned on top in the calendar list.

    How do I force the Facebook calendar to stay on the bottom of the list so its events are always muted by default!?!?

  22. Jodi

    This is awesome, I didn’t know the overlay feature existed. I guess I hadn’t looked, but it was so nice to just Google it and land on this site. Looking forward to more great tips!


  23. Brian

    Serious Daniel, my team’s shared calendar keeps getting set as the default. :(

  24. Joan Bell

    Hey Nycole, that worked beautifully. Thanks so much.

  25. RAD

    very helpful tip, thanks. so how do you get a print of merged calendars? /r

  26. Doug

    Great little tip, saved me some time hunting around in Outlook. If you had Facebook Like or Google + buttons integrated on your site’s content, I’d be all over that. But alas, you don’t…(and if you like organic rankings and traffic, I suggest you consider it…!)

    But I digress ;) Thank’s for the tip!

  27. Monte

    I have a question
    I have two calendars in outlook. I want default reminder settings turned on only one of them. However when I change the settings on one the other also changes.

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