July 18, 2008 12:50 am

Pretty Sweet Updates to Windows Live Calendar Beta

By / Senior Program Manager, Windows Insider Program

The Windows Live Calendar Team have been rolling out an update to the Windows Live Calendar Beta today and have recently blogged about what users will find within the update. I am a very heavy Windows Live Calendar user currently so this is a very exciting release for me.  I figured I’d go down their list of changes / improvements / new features with a little context of my own based on my own experiences. Here we go!

Birthday Calendars: Any Windows Live Contacts that have their birthday entered in their Windows Live Profile (you can make sure you have your birthday added to your profile by going here) will have their birthday appear in a new calendar for you called “Birthday Calendar”. This allows you to keep track of all your friend’s birthdays. Never forget a birthday again!

iCal Subscriptions: You can now subscribe to public calendars (*.ics calendars) in Windows Live Calendar. A great resource for public calendars is http://www.icalshare.com/ (although at the time of writing this post I was having some issues with their website). I am a Space buff so I went and grabbed the calendar for astronomical events and subscribed to it.

Once you subscribe to these calendars – as long as the publisher continues to update them they will automatically update in Windows Live Calendar. If anyone has any other useful iCal resources on the web for free calendars to subscribe to, let me know!

UPDATE: Some calendars available on www.icalshare.com have URLs that direct to a different location. Windows Live Calendar Beta does not yet support following redirects. However if you are able to determine where the URL redirects to – you can always subscribe to its “final destination”.

Holiday Calendar: A new calendar will show up (depending on which part of the world you’re from) that will display holidays for your country. I find this incredibly useful. Currently users in the following countries will see a Holiday Calendar:

  • China
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Korea
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • India
  • Russia
  • France
  • United States
  • Spain
  • German
  • United Kingdom

UI Changes: Notably – users can now right-click on a specific calendar in their calendar list and change its color and also its order in that list.

Print Views: You are now able to print from the day, week, and month views. I prefer printing from the Month view myself. You can also print your Agenda as well. I am noticing I am using the Agenda tab quite often these days.

A few more notable changes to Windows Live Calendar Beta with this release are accessibility functionality which includes better tabbing (and F6 key support). And users can now go directly to Windows Live Calendar via the calendar tab in Windows Live Hotmail.

Want to test out subscribing to a calendar? I’ve shared out my Windows Experience Blog calendar to anyone interested in subscribing:

webcal://windowsexperience.calendar.live.com/calendar/The+Windows+Experience+Calendar/calendar.ics

Not a whole bunch of events there just yet. You’ll find I’ve added today’s Windows Live Calendar Beta update as an event and in October you should see events for the PDC2008 Pre-Conference and PDC2008 as well. I definitely plan on updating it. If you have any suggestions for events that would be of interest to the Windows community – leave a comment!

If you’re attending PDC2008 you can also subscribe to their calendar they publish as well to add a separate PDC2008 calendar to Windows Live Calendar:

http://www.microsoftpdc.com/Microsoft-PDC08.ics

REMEMBER: You can also subscribe your calendars in Windows Calendar in Windows Vista as well!