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Using and Sharing the Calendar in Outlook 2007

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Discover how to get more out of the Calendar in Outlook 2007. Eric Geier shows you how to create new calendars and load in holidays and Internet calendars. Learn how to share your schedules with local users or anyone over the Internet.
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If you haven't deliberately explored the Calendar feature in Outlook 2007, you might think it's just a boring and mundane feature. However, once you check it out, you might be surprised by some of the functionality and sharing features.

In this tutorial, we'll discover how these features might be useful and how to use them.

Importing and Creating Additional Calendars

You are not limited to one calendar. Outlook can display and manage multiple calendars. This is useful, for example, if you want to separate your work and personal schedules. You might even use multiple ones to view or manage your employee's schedules. They can also be useful when sharing a Windows account and Outlook with another individual, such as your spouse; you both can have your own calendar.

To create a new blank calendar, select the Calendar tab in Outlook and click File > New > Calendar. On the dialog box, enter a Name and click OK.

If you already have a calendar from another computer or application, you can import it into Outlook. However, first you must export the existing calendar to the iCalendar or vCalendar format.

To export the data from another Outlook, don't use the Import and Export Wizard; click the Calendar tab in Outlook and click File > Save As.

On the Save As dialog box, click the More Options button to specify exactly what type of information you want to export. Finally, save it to the iCalendar (.ics) format.

Once you have an iCalendar or vCalendar file, you can get the information into Outlook using one of two different methods. Opening it as a new calendar will display it as a separate calendar, while importing it will put the data into the existing calendar.

To open it as a new calendar, click File > Open > Calendar. To do either method, you can use the Import and Export wizard. Click File > Import and Export, select the calendar option, click Next, find and select the file, and then choose which method to use.

You have three different viewing modes you can use to display the calendars. In the default mode, you view each calendar separately by clicking its tab. The side-by-side mode tries to squeeze each calendar into the window, so you can see them all at once. The overlay mode (see Figure 1) displays information from all of them into one universal calendar—with color-coded fonts to distinguish between the source calendars. You can put each calendar in the modes individually by clicking the arrows on the calendar tabs.

You can also toggle each calendar's visibility. On the left pane, you'd simply check and uncheck the calendars. This is useful when you have a lot of appointments and notes on the calendars, so you can better distinguish between them. You can see in Figure 1 that I have my main calendar unchecked/hidden.

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