This article describes how to setup a family calendar which is accessible on the internet and by multiple users (family members) from within MS Outlook on different computers.
My girlfriend and I are using MS Outlook for our work. We work at different companies so we cannot use Exchange functionality to create a shared calendar. We need one calendar in which we maintain our private appointments and daycare schedules of our daughter. This calendar should be at least accessible from MS Outlook so we can easily have our private and corporate calendar next to each other and both see our shared private appointments. (we don’t need/want to see each others corporate appointments)
Unfortunately there is no perfect solution for this purpose. In an ideal situation you would have one calendar in which you can seperate private and corporate appointments and share those easily over the web even when Outlook is connected with Exchange.
What do you need for this solution:
– MS Outlook 2003/2007/2010
– Internet access
– Windows Live (or hotmail) account
– Outlook Connector
How to implement the solution:
First create a free Microsoft Live account (www.live.com / www.live.nl)
Decide for your own if you create a new account or to use your current live/hotmail account if you have one already. Keep in mind that all users (family members) will have access to this account.
Install the MS Outlook Connector which you can download here on all computers where you want to use the family calendar. (it might be wise to check if there is a more recent version of the outlook connector because this link might become outdated).
The outlook connector will add a ‘outlook connector’ menu item to Outlook where you can configure the account. Just enter the settings of your (new created) Live/Hotmail account. Once you’ve completed this, you will find your Live/Hotmail mailbox in Outlook (within the email section) and also the Live/Hotmail Calendar within the Calendar section.
As you can see in the image there are two calendars next to each other. The blue one is my corporate calendar, the green one is the Hotmail/Live calendar. Notice that on the left column you have to mark the agenda’s you want to display.
Starting with Outlook 2007 it is also possible to display the calendar’s in overlay mode. In Overlay mode both calendar’s are displayed on top of each other.
In this image you see the overlay mode in Outlook 2007.
The private Live/Hotmail calendar is synced about every 30 minutes so it might take a while until the appointment is added to all users outlook.
(First your outlook sync’s to internet Live/Hotmail. So within 30 minutes you see the appointment appear when you login to www.live.com. Then within another 30 minutes you should see it appear in the outlook of the other user. Of course outlook should be started before it will sync.)
It should work when you click Send/Receive in outlook to sync directly.
You cannot add one appointment to both calendars at once. I usually add an appointment to my corporate calendar. Then I leave the ‘overlay view’ so both calendars are shown next to each other. Then I right click and hold and drag the appointment to the Live / Hotmail calendar. When you release the right mouse button you can choose COPY. It will then copy the appointment to your private calendar.
I am using this setup for 2 days now and for now it is working. You should evaluate this approach because it might be that your company is blocking live/hotmail access preventing the calendar being synced with Hotmail/Live.
Remember you can also access the calendar using www.live.com online.