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May 28, 2007

Subscribe and Share Calendars with Outlook 2007 and Windows Vista

Outlook 2007 has a very little known feature where you can publish your calendar to the web using Microsoft Office Online. Microsoft Office Online has a Calendar Sharing Service that gives you 2MB of space online to share calendars with friends, families, and co-workers through the web. To view this service on Microsoft Office Online, all you need to do is sign-in using your Windows Live ID.

To share and publish your calendar in Outlook 2007 is very easy. All you need to do is right-click on your calendar and go to Publish to Internet and Publish to Office Online. You will be instructed to sign-in using your Windows Live ID before being able to proceed in publishing you calendar to the web. You can restrict access for your calendars so they are private and only sharable via email or you can make them public for anyone to access. Once your calendar is published, Outlook 2007 will write up an email for you which will include a link to your online calendar that can be sent to anyone you want to subscribe to the calendar.

Today, I’ve published a public Windows Experience Blog calendar for all to view and subscribe to. You can access the calendar online through Microsoft Office Online by clicking here.

Windows Vista actually ships with a brand new Windows app called Windows Calendar that includes the ability to subscribe (and publish) calendars. Using Windows Calendar in Windows Vista, you can subscribe to my published calendar on Microsoft Office Online! In Windows Calendar, just click the Subscribe button in the toolbar and a screen will appear asking for the URL of the shared calendar. Just put the following URL into the textbox:

Click subscribe and options will appear for you to tweak like how often you want Windows Calendar to check for updates and also what you want to call the calendar (sometimes what I call a calendar isn’t what you want to call it).


By doing this, you are now subscribed to my publicly shared Windows Experience Blog Calendar. Any updates to the calendar I make in Outlook 2007 from my end would be reflected and updated on your end. That is because I have it configured to publish updates automatically. No, this isn’t just a test calendar; I intend to keep it updated with events and any other important dates that come to mind! So get subscribed!

Windows Calendar supports the ability to publish calendars too except it isn’t tied to any specific web service like Outlook 2007 is. You have the option of publishing to a WebDAV-capable server. You can also publish calendars to network shares and to your harddrive. I’ve actually published calendars to my Windows Home Server for home network access only between PC’s (which worked great!).

There is a way to get around having to publish to a WebDAV-capable server. You can publish your calendar to a location on your harddrive and then FTP the .ics file to the web. Just remember the URL of where you uploaded the .ics file. From there, you can subscribe to the calendar and also send the URL to your friends. I used to do this as well. This solution is for more advanced users and lacks automation unfortunately.

In my opinion, this is a great example of Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 working together AND a great way to stay on top of your latest happenings on your calendars.