Integrating Lightning & Google Calendar

Update 10/17/2011: I have updated the links for both Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar add-ons. Also added the note about needing to know the version of Thunderbird in order to choose the correct version of Lightning.

I started using Gmail (words I never thought I’d say) earlier this year because I needed a Gmail account to use with the Android Marketplace. Plus my college uses the Gmail system for their email and calendar. In the past couple months I started using the Google Calendar as well. In the past I have looked at and even tried using Mozilla Lightning add-on for Thunderbird as well as the standalone Sunbird application, but had run into issues. There has been a lot of discussion in the Thunderbird Builds about Lightning lately, especially with the release of Thunderbird 5.0 on June 28th.

I had read prior about integrating your Google Calendar into Lightning. Since I already had Lightning working in Thunderbird 5.0, I decided to give it a go. There are two parts to this, you will need to have installed the newest version of both Lightning and the Provider for Google Calendar (allows you to sync your calendar between the web based Google Calendar and Lightning) add-ons.

IMPORTANT: You will need to know what version of Thunderbird you are using in order to choose the correct version of Lightning. From Thunderbird go to Help > About Thunderbird and make note of what version you are running. Installing the incorrect version of Lightning will result in a blank calendar. If this happens, go back and install the correct version.

Install the add-ons

  1. Download Lighting (be sure you know which version of Thunderbird you are running).
  2. Download Provider for Google Calendar
  3. Install the add-ons by dragging the downloaded files into Thunderbird’s Add-ons manager
  4. Restart Thunderbird to complete the installs.

Integrating Google Calendar into Lightning

  1. In Thunderbird click on the Calendar Tab
  2. In the left column in the Calendar section, right-click and select New Calendar…
  3. The Create New Calendar window will open. Select On the Network and click Next >
  4. Select Google Calendar
  5. In your browser go to your Google Calendar. Click the arrow next to the calendar you want to use. Click Calendar setting
  6. Your calendar details window will open. If needed, click on the Calendar Details tab. At the very bottom in the Private Address section click the XML button.
  7. Your calendar’s Private Address will popup in a new window. Copy this address.
  8. Go back into Thunderbird and Lightning. Paste the address from step #7 into Location field from step #4. Click Next >
  9. You should have an authentication window popup, prompting you to sign into your GMail account. Also another Create New Calendar window will open asking you to choose a name and color for your calendar. Enter this information and click Next >
  10. You are done! Your Google Calendar is now in Lightning.
  11. Repeat this process if you have more calendars you need to add. In my case I added my school calendar and the US Holidays calendar (same process except step #6 select XML for calendar address and you need to authenticate on step #9 with your gmail account info).
  12. If your Google Calendar(s) is/are going to be the only calendar(s) you will be using in Lightning, you can remove the default ‘Home’ calendar by right-clicking and select Delete Calendar (this can only be done if there is more than one calendar setup).

11 Comments on Integrating Lightning & Google Calendar

  1. Dieter Wenzel | July 5, 2011 at 6:09 AM |

    great. thank you very much…


  2. Hi, can somebody please explain to me what this addon (Provider for Google Calendar) is needed for? I’ve added the Google Calendars als CalDAV and it seems to work.

    I’d appreciate a hint to why this addon is needed?!

    • The Provider for Google Calendar allows changes made to the calendar within Lightning/Thunderbird to be synced to the web version of Google calendar. You can view the calendar without the add-on and you may be able to make changes within Lightning/Thunderbird, but those changes won’t sync..

      • sorry, but that is not correct.

        I Have TB 5 with Lightning 1.04b and I have connected a google Calendar as CalDAV without this Addon! check:

        I can see all events, create new ones, edit old ones, delete some, it all seems to synchronize perfectly to the google calendar without a noticable time delay.

        So honestly, I don’t understand at all what this Addon gives me that I don’t have without it?!

        • Apparently I was not really aware of the CalDAV addon, but it sounds like it does the same thing as the Provider for Google Calendar which according to Zonx is more stable than CalDAV.

  3. Yay! Thanks for this info. I finally got Lightning 1.0b7 working with Google Apps Calendar.

    I had Lightning connected (somewhat/buggy) to Google Calendar with CalDAV previously, but after we switched to Google Apps I could not get the CalDAV connection to work. The Provider for Google Calender seems to work much better than the buggy CalDAV method.

  4. Hi. I’m having trouble with two-way sync between TB 8.0/Lightning 1.0 and Google Calendar. I’ve installed Provider for Google 0.9. My Google calendar shows in Lightning, but events added to Lightning don’t show in Google (which syncs to my Android phone). I’m running Windows 7 on the PC.

    • Not sure what is going on. Check to see if for some reason the calendar is marked as read only (right-click on the calendar name and select properties).. I would try over at Thunderbird Support. They likely won’t be able to help you, put can direct you to the right place (which I can not seem to locate the support group for Lightning at this time).

      • Ira Emanuel | December 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM |

        Thanks for the response. Calendars are not marked “read-only”. I’ll try TB support.

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