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November 8, 2007

Share Calendars to Windows Calendar with Windows Live Calendar (Beta)

Yesterday, along with the launch of the new Windows Live apps and services, Microsoft also commenced with the public beta of Windows Live Calendar. Denise Ho, Lead Program Manager for Windows Live Calendar, made the announcement off of the Windows Live Hotmail blog.

Windows Live Calendar is designed to make it easier to share your plans with friends and family. Using Windows Live Calendar, you can share your calendar out to people in your Windows Live Contacts. For those of them using Windows Live Calendar, they can accept an invite to view your shared calendar which will then appear in their account when they log in to Windows Live Calendar. For friends who don’t have Windows Live ID’s – you can send them a secret link to view your calendar without the need to sign in. You can read Denise’s post mentioned above for the complete lowdown on what Windows Live Calendar offers.

But I’d like to call out a specific scenario that Windows Live Calendar supports – something I’ve adopted myself. Windows Live Calendar allows you to share out your calendar in .ics format. By doing this, it allows folks to then subscribe to their calendars in a calendar client on the PC – such as Windows Calendar in Windows Vista. Any event I add, or others add, to my calendars I’ve shared out – automatically get synced back to my PC in Windows Calendar. This also includes reminder schedules.

If I have a reminder for an event set for 1 day or 1 hour – Windows Calendar will get that and remind me (Windows Live Calendar leverages Windows Live Alerts as well for reminding users of events too).

I’ve created a video demo on showing how to set up and share out a calendar in Windows Live Calendar and subscribing to it in Windows Calendar in Windows Vista:

Video: Demo: Windows Live Calendar (BETA) #1

Sharing a calendar in Windows Live Calendar is really easy, and subscribing to it via Windows Calendar is just as easy.

Please take note: in order to take advantage of having reminders in Windows Calendar, be sure you have reminders checked for the calendar in Windows Calendar!

This scenario also works with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 in which once you share out the .ics file (same way shown above) of a specific calendar in Windows Live Calendar, you can then subscribe to it in Outlook 2007. This will work well for those at work using Outlook 2007 and wanting to keep track of personal events in Windows Live Calendar.

Give Windows Live Calendar a try. I’ll be following up with this post with a few other posts on Windows Live Calendar in the near future.