How to Manage Google Calendar From Command Line And Display It On Your Desktop

I don’t think I need to do any introduction on Google Calendar. It is one of the most popular web based calendar and if you have a Google account (or a Gmail account), you already have a Google Calendar account.

To add events/appointment to your Google Calendar, the most primitive way is to open your web browser, login to the Google Calendar site and add an event. What about the geekiest (and fastest) way? By the command line, of course.

Gcalcli is a Python application that allows you to access and manage your Google Calendar from a command line. You can use it to retrieve your agenda, event list, and quickly add new events. What’s more, it can also be used as a reminder service to help you remember the things that you need to do.


Gcalcli is included in the Ubuntu repository, which means you can easily install via the Ubuntu Software Center, Synaptic Package Manager, or simply with the command line:

sudo apt-get install gcalcli


Before we start, we need to create the configuration file. Open a text editor. Paste the following lines:

user: yourusername
pw: yourpassword

Replace “yourusername” with your Google account login name, without the

Replace “yourpassword” with your Google login password.

Save the file in your home folder with the filename .gcalclirc (don’t forget the “.” in front of the galclirc and no file extension is required)


To test it, open a terminal and type

gcalcli agenda


It should show your agenda for the next 5 days.

To get a quick glance of your next 2 weeks agenda

gcalcli calw 2


Whole month agenda

gcalcli calm


You can also set gcalcli to show a reminder popup if the event is within 10 minutes from the current time.

gcalcli remind 10


One thing though, there is no automation for the reminder service, so you need to run the command everytime to remind you of your event. A good way to automate it is via crontab or using gnome-schedule

To add an event to Google calendar, use the command

gcalcli quick <event>

Replace the <event> with a brief description of the time, date and event detail. For example:

gcalcli quick '5pm 31/7/2010 Meeting with Advertisers'
# or
gcalcli quick 'Dinner with Eric 7pm tomorrow'

Display Google Calendar on your desktop

To get Google Calendar onto your desktop, we are going to use a combination of gcalcli and conky.

Install conky:

sudo apt-get install conky

Open a text editor and paste the following text:

alignment top_right
background no
border_width 0
cpu_avg_samples 2
default_color white
default_outline_color white
default_shade_color white
draw_borders no
draw_graph_borders yes
draw_outline no
draw_shades no
use_xft yes
xftfont DejaVu Sans Mono:size=12
gap_x 5
gap_y 60
minimum_size 5 5
net_avg_samples 2
double_buffer yes
out_to_console no
out_to_stderr no
extra_newline no
own_window yes
own_window_class Conky
own_window_type override
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
stippled_borders 0
update_interval 1.0
uppercase no
use_spacer none
show_graph_scale no
show_graph_range no
text_buffer_size 8096
${execi 300 gcalcli --nc --cals=owner calw 4}

Save the file in your Home directory with the filename .conkyrc

Press Alt + F2. Type in “conky” and press Enter.


Your agenda for the next 4 weeks will now appear on your desktop and it will refresh every 5 minutes.


Need more help on gcalcli? Check out their HowTo wiki.

Try it out and let us know if it works for you.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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