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SharePoint calendar integration with Outlook


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Problem

We are starting to use SharePoint calendars to manage projects, however we are running into conflicts with both unrelated project calendars and individual user calendar items in Outlook. Is there a way users can coordinate information between all these silos of information?

Solution

Yes. Even with WSS2 (Sharepoint 2003) and Outlook 2003 there was, at least, an ability to view SharePoint calendars, right from Outlook. But there was no way to overlay the information together all in one calendar view. With WSS3 (or MOSS 2007) and Outlook 2007, we now have the ability to not only view activity from multiple calendar sources in one virtual calendar view, but we can also edit these SharePoint calendars directly from Outlook. We can also tack on Outlook reminders to SharePoint Calendar events.

Let's take a look...

Below is a screen shot of a SharePoint calendar with a few events.

Looking in the "Actions" menu of the calendar, we see there is a "Connect to Outlook" option.

(After selecting the "Connect to Outlook" option, there is a series of confirmation dialogs. Click "allow" or "ok".)

Once confirmed, you will see your Outlook 2007 calendar along side the SharePoint calendar. At this point,

If you had Outlook 2003, you'd be at this point, but couldn't take advantage of the calendar overlay or do any direct editing of the SharePoint calendar. But it's still not bad! Let's keep going...

In Outlook 2007 (with SharePoint 2007) you will see a little arrow in the tab of the calendar. Clicking the tab shows both calendars in one virtual calendar view.

Now activity is merged in one view with color coding. We can see that there is one appointment that overlaps on Tuesday.

By double clicking on one of the SharePoint calendar activities, it actually opens right from the Outlook client!

Here we can actually edit the event and changes will go back to the SharePoint server as if we were editing it from the web interface. Notice the Outlook ribbon bar has more options that actually exist in SharePoint. For instance, we can add Outlook reminders to the SharePoint event (neat trick!). We can also copy the event directly to your Outlook calendar.

This integration feature is compelling, however in order to use this effectively, everyone in the team needs to be on the same (Outlook 2007) platform.

Next Steps
  • Check some of the other Microsoft Office product integration features (i.e. Word, Excel)...saving and editing files directly to and from document libraries.
  • Check out MSSQLTips.com for great information about Microsoft SQL Server.


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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rob Fisch Rob Fisch has worked with SQL Server since version 6.5 as a dba, developer, report writer and data warehouse designer.

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