Office 365 Group Calendar vs Shared Calendar Explained

Published By Siddharth Sharma
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On November 20th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Office 365

Microsoft 365 group calendar vs shared calendar is something that confuses a vast majority of users. Therefore, being part of an organization that utilizes both Group and Shared calendars from time to time. Our first-hand experience with both of them puts us in a unique position to help other users struggling to configure and use the same calendars. That’s why we have prepared this write-up to aid your learning via a point-by-point comparison between the time planners. Follow this guide to know exactly when and where each one of the two excels.

Tabular Comparison of  Group Calendar and Shared Calendar in Microsoft 365

Attribute Microsoft 365 Shared Calendar Microsoft 365 Group Calendar
Which Users Can Access? Available to only those who have explicit permission from the owner. Available to all members of the Group to which the calendar belongs.
Who Can Make Changes?  Depending on the permission, a user may or may not be free to make changes.  Any group member can add or remove events as per their own convenience. 
Availability  Shared calendar is strictly limited to the specific organization that the owner itself is a part of.  People outside the Organization can be made a part of a Microsoft 365 Group calendar 
Scope  Preferred in Recurring, Professional and Private scenarios  Can be used for conducting events in a more casual sense.

Scenario and Use Case of Both Calendar Types

When users find themselves confused on which to choose among Microsoft 365 group calendar vs shared calendar the following points are helpful in making a decision.  

For events where there are a large number of attendees Group Calendars are preferred. Whereas private events with a few number of individuals can be done via shared calendars without any issues. 

Although both group as well as shared calendars have the ability to set up recurring meetings. However, one is preferred over the other in this scenario. It is obviously shared calendars. The reason is recurring meetings are almost certainly for a small number of people. Moreover, a continuous daily, weekly or monthly meetup of 100 + people hardly ever occurs. 

Calendar Delegation is a feature in which you can assign someone else to view, schedule and manage calendar events on your behalf. In such a scenario Shared Calendars are preferred as they have default View only permission.

Shared Calendars features may sometimes is not available for contacts other than Outlook, Hotmail or other proprietary Microsoft domains. However, group calendars can be accessed by members from outside the organization as well.

A Group calendar is more democratic where members are almost equivalent to the owner (bar a few features like adding new members). Shared calendar on the other hand follows a top down approach where entire control lies with the owners (until they wish to give editing power to other users). 

Steps to Create Group Calendar in Office 365

  • Step 1. Go to Outlook and login.
  • Step 2. Scroll down till you see the Groups Section (on Left Pane).
    Groups Option
  • Step 3. Pick a preexisting group(Go to step 4) or click “New group”.
    • Step 3.1. Type the Group Name and Description >> Click Create.
      Group Name and Description
    • Step 3.2. Add Members on by one or select directly from contacts.
      Add Group Members
  • Step 4. Once done click on the group and hit the calendar icon below its Name.
    Go to Group Calendar
  • Step 5. It opens a new calendar tab. Now you can create new events or modify existing ones.
    Group Calendar Event
  • Step 6. Once a event is created all group members get an email notification.
    Group Calendar Mail

Steps to Assign Shared Calendar in Microsoft Outlook

  • Step 1. Go to the Calendar Section in Outlook.
  • Step 2. Either use on a pre existing Calendar or create a new one.
    New Shared Calendar
  • Step 3. Hover over the Calendar and Click on the 3 dots (…).
    Shared Calendar
  • Step 4. From the pop-up Choose “Sharing and permission” option.
    Sharing and Permissions
  • Step 5. In the pop up type in a contact’s email address.(or select old contact)
    Type Shared Folder User
  • Step 6. From the dropdown choose a permission (View or Edit). Then click Share.
    Select Permission
  • Step 7. Users who are chosen get a email notification which they need to accept first.
    Shared Mail Notice

Best Practices for Calendar Management in Office 365

For Group Calendar An event won’t be visible to group members unless you invite them.

After you click on “ Invite members” all members who are part of the Group (including the owner) get an invitation directly within their inbox. Which they can either accept or deny.

Check the calendar retention policy in Office 365 before selecting the calendar type for your specific scenario

Incase a user gets an Error 500 while accepting a sherd calendar request then go for the following workaround.

(Note: This only creates a viewable reflection of the owners calendar. No changes can be made from the user end)

  • In Outlook go to calendar section.
  • Click on the gear Icon at top right corner  
  • Go to Shared Calendars tab scroll till you see “Publish a Calendar” option.
  • From the first dropdown pick a calendar then from the second one select a permission
  • Then click on the new links that appear copy it or directly view on the browser.

Consider backing up the calendar data to prevent against, data corruption, authentication issues, etc. This can be made easy with the help of SysTools Office 365 backup solution.

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Understand your requirements before selecting the calendar type. One way to simplify this task is to directly ask the stakeholders and identify the requirements. and modify the permissions if required. Incase your Office 365 calendar permissions are not updating then you first have to resolve that issue before proceeding. 


We hope that navigating the complex topic of Microsoft 365 group calendar vs shared calendar is now easier than it was before. Moreover, having access to this information is bound to have a positive effect on professional event setting and management. Now that users have a clear idea about the calendar types and their use, they are ready for all challenges. However, no matter what calendar type you use, having a backup is paramount. For that, you can use the automated utility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the main difference between shared calendar and group calendar in Office 365?

Ans. Shared calendar is individual owned but available to a select few users with limited permissions. On the other hand a Group calendar may be made by a single person but is owned and managed by a collection of users.

Q. What all apps can used to view the details of both calendar types? 

Ans. Both Outlook or the Outlook Web App are capable to access shared and group calendars. However, Group calendars hold a advantage over here as it can also be accessed via MS Teams.

Q. Can I view a Office 365 Shared Calendar in any email client?

Ans. No shared emails are only available for Outlook. Users can either setup their email in Outlook desktop client or use a group calendar instead.