Share Your Outlook Calendar

June 25, 2009

If you use Outlooks Calendar feature, you may have wanted other people to be able to see your calendar. Or perhaps while travelling, you would like to access your calendar while you are away from your computer. Or maybe you want to be able to access your calendar from any computer in your home or business.

For a small or medium business, you should have a server with Microsoft Exchange on it. This not only allows you to see your calendar from any computer, it allows others to see your calendar and schedule meetings with you. It also can be set up with Remote Web Workplace which allows you to access your calendar and e-mail from remote locations.

But home businesses and home users generally don’t have servers with exchange. What are the options for them? For a home business, especially if you travel a lot, the best solution might be hosted exchange. This gives you all of the features of Exchange without having to have your own server. It’s not free, but it’s not very expensive either. For example, Sherweb provides a hosted exchange service for $8.95/month for each mailbox. If you have a smartphone with a calendar, you can directly sync up your phone’s calendar with Exchange.

If you are a home user, or you are looking for a free solution to this situation, you have some options.

Outlook has a feature in it that allows you to publish your calendar to the Web. However, this feature simply doesn’t work very well.

You probably know that Google, Yahoo, MSN/Hotmail, and others provide free calendars. You can synchronize your Outlook calendar with one of these free calendars. Then you can access the free calendar when you are away from your computer. For example, you can download and install Google Calendar Sync. Then you can synchronize your outlook calendar to your Google calendar before you leave and access your Google Calendar while you are away. You can make changes to your Google Calendar while you are away. You can also download Google Sync to your mobile phone and synchronize your phone’s calendar to Google Calendar.

Programs like Google Calendar Sync, however, are not without their problems. You can end up with duplicates. Old appointments can magically come back. Back when I was using Google Calendar Sync, I once had a reminder for a year old appointment come up. That was some time ago. I haven’t tested the latest versions of Google Calendar Sync, but I hope they have fixed the problems. For more information about Google Calendar Sync, click here.

There are other programs on the market that help you share your calendar as well. Products like WorkgroupShare allow people on the local network to share their outlook calendars. But these types of products generally only work on the local network, so if you are travelling, accessing your calendar, or someone else’s, isn’t that easy. Products like WorkgroupShare aren’t free either. For a 5 user license, it’s $175.

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