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Google Calendar Command Line Interface

gcalcli is a Python application that allows you to access your Google Calendar(s) from a command line. It's easy to get your agenda, search for events, add new events, delete events, edit events, see recently updated events, and even import those annoying ICS/vCal invites from Microsoft Exchange and/or other sources. Additionally, gcalcli can be used as a reminder service and execute any application you want when an event is coming up.

gcalcli uses the Google Calendar API version 3.


Optional packages

  • vobject Python module Used for ics/vcal importing.


Check your OS distribution for packages.


apt-get install gcalcli

Install using Nix

nix-env -i gcalcli

Install using Homebrew (MacOS)

brew install gcalcli

Install from PyPI

pip install gcalcli

Install from source

git clone
cd gcalcli
python install

Install optional package

pip install vobject


  • OAuth2 authention with your Google account
  • list your calendars
  • show an agenda using a specified start/end date and time
  • show updates since a specified datetime for events between a start/end date and time
  • find conflicts between events matching search term
  • ascii text graphical calendar display with variable width
  • search for past and/or future events
  • "quick add" new events to a specified calendar
  • "add" a new event to a specified calendar (interactively or automatically)
  • "delete" event(s) from a calendar(s) (interactively or automatically)
  • "edit" event(s) interactively
  • import events from ICS/vCal files to a specified calendar
  • easy integration with your favorite mail client (attachment handler)
  • run as a cron job and execute a command for reminders
  • work against specific calendars (by calendar name w/ regex)
  • flag file support for specifying option defaults
  • colored output and unicode character support
  • super fun hacking with shell scripts, cron, screen, tmux, conky, etc


gcalcli 5

gcalcli 1

gcalcli 2

gcalcli 3

gcalcli 4



gcalcli provides a series of subcommands with the following functionality:

list                list available calendars
edit                edit calendar events
agenda              get an agenda for a time period
updates             get updates since a datetime for a time period
calw                get a week-based agenda in calendar format
calm                get a month agenda in calendar format
quick               quick-add an event to a calendar
add                 add a detailed event to the calendar
import              import an ics/vcal file to a calendar
remind              execute command if event occurs within <mins> time

See the manual (man (1) gcalcli), or run with --help/-h for detailed usage.

Login Information

OAuth2 is used for authenticating with your Google account. The resulting token is placed in the ~/.gcalcli_oauth file. When you first start gcalcli the authentication process will proceed. Simply follow the instructions.

You currently have to use your own Calendar API token. Our Calendar API token is restricted to few users only and waits for Google's approval to be unlocked.

  1. Create a New Project within the Google developer console
    1. Activate the "Create" button.
  2. Enable the Google Calendar API
    1. Activate the "Enable" button.
  3. Create OAuth2 consent screen for an "UI /Desktop Application".
    1. Fill out required App information section
      1. Specify App name. Example: "gcalcli"
      2. Specify User support email. Example:
    2. Fill out required Developer contact information
      1. Specify Email addresses. Example:
    3. Activate the "Save and continue" button.
    4. Scopes: activate the "Save and continue" button.
    5. Test users
      1. Add
      2. Activate the "Save and continue" button.
  4. Create OAuth Client ID
    1. Specify Application type: Desktop app.
    2. Activate the "Create" button.
  5. Grab your newly created Client ID (in the form "") and Client Secret from the Credentials page.
  6. Call gcalcli with your Client ID and Client Secret to login via the OAuth2 Authorization Screen. gcalcli --client-secret=xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx list. In most shells, putting a space before the command will keep it, and therefore your secrets, out of history. Check with history | tail.
  7. This should automatically open the OAuth2 authorization screen in your default browser.

HTTP Proxy Support

gcalcli will automatically work with an HTTP Proxy simply by setting up some environment variables used by the gdata Python module:

proxy-username or proxy_username
proxy-password or proxy_password

Note that these environment variables must be lowercase.

Flag File

gcalcli is able to read default configuration information from a flag file. This file is located, by default, at '~/.gcalclirc'. The flag file takes one command line parameter per line.

In the current version, the flag file only supports the global options (options against the gcalcli program itself). The plan, longer term, is to support a a configuration formation (probably toml or ini), which will allow for configuration of subcommands (such as add, agenda, calw, etc.)



Note that long options require an equal sign if specifying a parameter. With short options the equal sign is optional.

Configuration Folders

gcalcli is able to store all its necessary information in a specific folder (use the --configFolder option.) Each folder will contain 2 files: oauth and cache. An optional 3rd file, gcalclirc, can be present for specific flags that you only want to apply when using this configuration folder.

Importing VCS/VCAL/ICS Files from Exchange (or other)

Importing events from files is easy with gcalcli. The 'import' command accepts a filename on the command line or can read from standard input. Here is a script that can be used as an attachment handler for Thunderbird or in a mailcap entry with Mutt (or in Mutt you could just use the attachment viewer and pipe command):



$TERMINAL -e bash -c "echo 'Importing invite...' ; \
                      gcalcli --detail-url=short \
                              --calendar='Eric Davis' \
                              import -v \"$1\" ; \
                      read -p 'press enter to exit: '"

Note that with Thunderbird you'll have to have the 'Show All Body Parts' extension installed for seeing the calendar attachments when not using 'Lightning'. See this bug report for more details.

Event Popup Reminders

The 'remind' command for gcalcli is used to execute any command as an event notification. This can be a notify-send or an xmessage-like popup or whatever else you can think of. gcalcli does not contain a daemon so you'll have to use some other tool to ensure gcalcli is run in a timely manner for notifications. Two options are using cron or a loop inside a shell script.


% crontab -l
*/10 * * * * /usr/bin/gcalcli remind

Shell script like your .xinitrc so notifications only occur when you're logged in via X:


[[ -x /usr/bin/dunst ]] && /usr/bin/dunst -config ~/.dunstrc &

if [ -x /usr/bin/gcalcli ]; then
  while true; do
    /usr/bin/gcalcli --calendar="davis" remind
    sleep 300
  done &

exec herbstluftwm # :-)

By default gcalcli executes the notify-send command for notifications. Most common Linux desktop enviroments already contain a DBUS notification daemon that supports libnotify so it should automagically just work. If you're like me and use nothing that is common I highly recommend the dunst dmenu'ish notification daemon.

Note that each time you run this you will get a reminder if you're still inside the event duration. Also note that due to time slip between machines, gcalcli will give you a ~5 minute margin of error. Plan your cron jobs accordingly.

Agenda On Your Root Desktop

Put your agenda on your desktop using Conky. The '--conky' option causes gcalcli to output Conky color sequences. Note that you need to use the Conky 'execpi' command for the gcalcli output to be parsed for color sequences. Add the following to your .conkyrc:

${execpi 300 gcalcli --conky agenda}

To also get a graphical calendar that shows the next three weeks add:

${execpi 300 gcalcli --conky calw 3}

You may need to increase the text_buffer_size in your conkyrc file. Users have reported that the default of 256 bytes is too small for busy calendars.

Additionaly you need to set --lineart=unicode to output unicode-characters for box drawing. To avoid misaligned borders use a monospace font like 'DejaVu Sans Mono'. On Python2 it might be necessary to set the environment variable PYTHONIOENCODING=utf8 if you are using characters beyond ascii. For example:

${font DejaVu Sans Mono:size=9}${execpi 300 export PYTHONIOENCODING=utf8 && gcalcli --conky --lineart=unicode calw 3}

Agenda Integration With tmux

Put your next event in the left of your 'tmux' status line. Add the following to your tmux.conf file:

set-option -g status-interval 60
set-option -g status-left "#[fg=blue,bright]#(gcalcli agenda | head -2 | tail -1)#[default]"

Agenda Integration With screen

Put your next event in your 'screen' hardstatus line. First add a cron job that will dump you agenda to a text file:

% crontab -e

Then add the following line:

*/5 * * * * gcalcli --nocolor --nostarted agenda "`date`" > /tmp/gcalcli_agenda.txt

Next create a simple shell script that will extract the first agenda line. Let's call this script 'screen_agenda':

head -2 /tmp/gcalcli_agenda.txt | tail -1

Next configure screen's hardstatus line to gather data from a backtick command. Of course your hardstatus line is most likely very different than this (Mine is!):

backtick 1 60 60 screen_agenda
hardstatus "[ %1` ]"