I don’t know about you, but my football/soccer gene was removed at birth. The whole World Cup event is a mystery to me. But it is a big deal for a lot of people and it gives Office-Watch.com an excuse to talk about a nifty Outlook feature introduced in Outlook 2007 and available in Outlook 2010.
Remote Calendars is an add-in bringing Internet Calendar features to Outlook 2003. We’ve not tested this add-in but it‘s well regarded and worth a try.
Internet Calendars is a way to grab a calendar of events from a public source and display it with your main Outlook calendars without interfering with their content.
Outlook can store more than one calendar in separate folders. Some of those calendars can be sourced from a public location and be updated each time the public source changes.
We’ll use a publically available World Cup 2010 schedule in this example, the same tip can be used for any public calendar feed. There are many available for sports teams, school calendars and other events. The beauty of these feeds is that any changes in the events are automatically reflected in your Outlook calendar.
There are also ‘once only’ ICS downloads which is a list of calendar events than can be downloaded as a file and imported once with no automatic updates. Apple has a download page of these standalone calendars. Since ICS is an open standard they should be accepted by any decent calendar application for Windows, Mac or online.
Outlook imports standard ‘webcal://’ calendar feeds from the internet. You can search the net for calendars that suit your need. Search for ‘ics’ or ‘ical’ plus words to describe what you’re looking for.
For this example we’re going to use a full World Cup calendar from http://icalshare.com/calendars/3960
There are alternatives for specific countries such as one for England or Spain.
This isn’t Outlook related but check out this clever World Cup calendar done in Flash. Place your mouse pointer over any element around the ‘wheel’ including the border around the edge of the circle.
Import the Calendar
With Outlook running simply click on the ‘webcal://’ link ( or http:// link to a .ics page) provided on a web page. Usually the ‘webcal’ url is hidden behind link text like ‘Subscribe to Calendar’.
Outlook - link to public calendar
When you click on the link it should start a prompt in Outlook (there may be a browser generated security warning first).
Outlook - Add Internet Calendar prompt
Notice the calendar link is shown in full and ends with the important ‘ics’ extension.
Alternatively go to File | Data File Management (Outlook 2007) or File | Info | Account Settings (Outlook 2010) then the Internet Calendars tab, click New and enter the url of the internet calendar.
Under the Advanced tab you can change the name of the new Outlook calendar folder that will be created from the calendar feed.
Outlook - Internet Calendar - Subscription Options
After you’ve pressed ‘Yes’ on ‘Add this Calendar’ dialog, Outlook will create a new calendar folder under ‘Internet Calendars’ and put all the calendar events into it.
Outlook - World Cup calendar display
The events should be adjusted to the time zone setting for your computer. In this example it means you know what time live TV from the match will be on in your area. In my case it tells me when NOT to bother watching live TV <g>.
Displaying Multiple Calendars
Having all these calendars is fine but switching between them isn’t very convenient. In Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 you can show more than one calendar at the same time.
Go to Calendar View and you’ll see the various calendars – check the boxes next to the calendars you want to see.
Outlook 2007 - Calendar display
By default Outlook puts the calendars side-by-side which usually isn’t very helpful.
Outlook - calendars side by side
A better option is to overlay the calendars, in other words show all the events on a single calendar view. To do that click on the left arrow on the calendar tab or right-click on the tab and choose ‘Overlay’.
Outlook - Calendar overlay
In overlay view each calendar show in a single view with color coding to distinguish events from each calendar. Click on the tabs to bring that calendars events to the foreground.
You can do any of the standard event actions; open an event to change it, drag to a new date/time etc. Those changes will be applied to the calendar that event is saved to.
If you don’t like the calendar color, right-click on the calendar tab and choose the Color option.
Article posted: Tuesday, 22 June 2010
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