Help Friends Work Around 'Invalid Transfer Key' Error for Shared Google Calendar

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Google Calendar rocks--except when it doesn't. For example, the managers of my daughter's soccer team use the free service to share a practice, game, and event schedule with all the parents--a much more practical solution than sending out endless e-mails or making photocopies of a paper schedule.

However, upon receiving and clicking the invitation link for the shared calendar, several parents reported this error: "The one time calendar access transfer key is invalid." But for other parents, the link worked just fine. Hmmmm.

I've yet to uncover the cause of the problem, but I do have a solution: manually add the calendar based on its ID code. Here's how:

1. The person sharing the calendar needs to look up its ID. Start by signing into Google Calendar (hereafter "GCal"), clicking the Settings icon (the little gear in the upper-right corner), then choosing Calendar settings.

2. Click the Calendars link.

3. Find the calendar you're trying to share and click it.

4. In this Calendar Details screen, you should see a Calendar Address line with some colorful icons and a Calendar ID. That ID will look like a big string of gibberish, followed by Select and copy the whole ID.

5. E-mail that ID to the people who are having trouble.

Now the action switches to the users who want to add the calendar:

1. Select and copy the calendar ID.

2. Sign into your GCal account.

3. On the left side, under Other Calendars, you'll see a field marked Add a friend's calendar. (You may have to expand the Other Calendars section to reveal the field.)

4. Paste the code into that field and press Enter.

That should do the trick! Note that this will work only if the sharer has already added your registered Google Calendar e-mail address to the list of "sharees."

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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