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Did you know that you can easily create and share calendars with others in Outlook 2007?
This is something that I do in my everyday life, and honestly, I don’t know how I ever managed without it! I am an avid cyclist and like to participate in and watch bike races. Before Outlook 2007 it was always a challenge keeping track of these events. I wanted to be able to keep my recreational cycling in a separate calendar as well as share it with my friends and family. To complicate issues even further, some people I want to share with are on the same Exchange server as me, whereas others only have access to an IMAP or POP account.
Fortunately, with Outlook 2007 this is an absolute joy! Here you can see that I have created a “Bike Races” calendar which I can now use to store all these events:
(click for larger images)
Updating my friends is as simple as clicking on ”Send a Calendar via E-mail…”, selecting the level on detail and choosing my recipients. Outlook is even smart enough to attach a “human friendly” text version of the calendar in the mail body (if I choose):
For my friends running Outlook 2007 it’s as simple as choosing to open the calendar when they receive my message. For those who aren’t running Outlook (and yes, there are a few out there), they can still see all the dates and times in the body of the email, and if they have an application that supports iCalender files (RFC 2445) they can also import them. It’s great!
How to do it
Here’s how to create a separate calendar as I mentioned above, and how to share it with your friends by emailing it to them using Outlook 2007’s “Send Calendar by E-Mail” functionality.
Create the calendar
1. Open Outlook
2. Select Calendar
3. Click File + New + Calendar...
The “Create New Folder” dialogue will now display.
4. Enter the calendar name (Bike Races)
5. Click on OK
Review the calendar.
One of my favorite features is overlaying calendars in Outlook. Here you can see that I have my regular work calendar selected as well as the bike races calendar, this way I can still see that I need to take Mom out for her birthday lunch!
To view a calendar in Overlay mode, you can either click the left-arrow icon in the calendar’s tab at the top, or right-click on the calendar in the list and choose “View in overlay mode”.
As the two calendars are separate I do not need to worry about sending out my mom’s birthday lunch appointment to all of my friends when I send out the “Bike Races” calendar.
Share the calendar.
1. Click on “Send a Calendar via E-Mail…”
A new message window will open and the “Send a Calendar via E-Mail” dialogue will be shown.
2. Select the “Bike Races” calendar in the Calendar drop down and select the visibility and detail that you want to send.
In my case I am sending all items in the calendar and am showing full details for them.
In advanced option you may choose to include attachments, include items marked as private and to change the text format of the calendar items that are shown in the body of the message.
3. Click OK
Your email message will now have the calendar item attached as an iCalendar file as well as populating the message body with a textual representation of the calendar.
4. Enter recipients
Here you can see that I am sending to a distribution list called “My biking buddies”
5. Click send
6. You’re done!
Benjamin GayOutlook Software Design Engineer in Test
Sharing calender and viewing multiple calenders in overlay mode are all good, but the lack of option in printing multiple calender make all these more or less useless to me, since I don't have a PDA (nor do I actually want one) and always like to have a paper copy of my calender(s) with me. Is there other options to print multiple calender in one view beside importing one into another?
Ben - Thanks for pointing out the ease in sharing calendars - one major problem I have with sharing a calendar - is what if the dates change, etc. Is there an easy way to send out updates to everyone w/o sending a new email?
While I agree that using multiple calendars in Outlook (especially with the overlay view) is a fantastic feature, I think the inability to sync these multiple calendars via ActiveSync is tragic. What good is a separate "biking" or "work" or "concerts" calendar when it's not accessible from my smartphone? This is an unbelievable limitation. It's surely the fault of Windows Mobile's current calendar app...so I hope that is drastically updated for WM7.
Hello Andrew & Mathew,
Thanks for the great feedback. You are quite correct in that the method that I wrote about will send out a calendar at a single point in time. This does make it the best method if you want to have a calendar available that is being updated on a very regular basis. Outlook supports this scenario using webcal and Office online. It is difficult to do this feature justice in a brief comment so I will make sure that I write another blog post that provides information on how to do this. In the meantime I strongly suggest that you look at the “Publish to Internet” option (right click on your calendar that you want to share).
That's a clever solution. I use Google Calendar to track my personal group calendars. That made scheduling much easier with the groups. However, I still found it hard to make sure that my free/busy information was available for the group (I travel a lot). I just solved that problem by publishing my outlook free busy information directly into the group calendar. Here was my post on it: 2glue.typepad.com/.../calendar-chao-1.html
Hi Ben I hope you're well - it's been ages since we last "spoke". I'll use this method for the Soccer Team to send to all the parents next season. Judy
Hi guys, it would appear that the advanced search/query options in the drop-down in Outlook 2007 search are greyed out in a terminal services environment. Do you know why this is and if they can be enabled? thanks!
In our office we shared calendars via Outlook 2007. We've noticed that when switching among them the "active" calendar does not change. The calendar that was open when you opened the calendar view is always the active calendar. It's a real problem because new appointments use whichever calendar is active as the owner. To change to the desired calendar you have to switch views. This issue is acknowledge by MS (KB# 923939). Is there a patch due anytime soon? Thanks in advance for thoughts on this one!
Sounds very nice but still has major flaws. Executives do not manage their own calendars. The assistants are left with scheduling appointments and we are not able as delegates to send/share the avaialabilty of our executives. We still must do it manually. This will only help low or mid-level managers.
Matthew Flook, I absolutely agree. Moreover, it doesn't seem possible to apply the send-email feature on shared calendars ... even with "owner" permission.
I've also been fustrated by the inability to Send a delegated calendar.
I'm also searching for a way to send a delegated calendar. If anyone knows how to do this I'll pay you a million virtual internet dollars.
Just applied the Office 2007 SP1 and still disappointed that there is no way to send a delegate calendar. With over 4million admin users in the US alone you would think Microsoft would make this avaiable.
Can anyone from Microsoft comment, whether or not we can see "send a delegate calendar" in the future?
Is there a way to have outlook automatically send the calendar via reminder email each day?