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!
Outlook Software Design Engineer in Test