Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition--Outlook Group Schedules

Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition--Outlook Group Schedules

Subscribe to Windows IT Pro:


Make sure your copy of Exchange and Outlook UPDATE doesn't get mistakenly blocked by antispam software! Be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.


This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertisers, which offer products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit these advertisers' Web sites and show your support for Exchange & Outlook UPDATE.



1. Commentary
- Outlook Group Schedules

2. Peer to Peer
- Outlook Tip: Importing Business Addresses into SharePoint
- Featured Forum Thread: Featured Forum Thread: User Missing From GAL

3. New and Improved
- Share Outlook Items Without Exchange


~~~~ Sponsor: XoSoft ~~~~

ESSENTIAL GUIDE: Industry expert Paul Robichaux discusses how availability is a function of unplanned downtime only, helping you achieve a system available 99.9% of the time.


Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: Outlook Group Schedules ====
by Sue Mosher, News Editor, [email protected]

Support for a rich set of calendar collaboration features in Microsoft Outlook is one reason for choosing Microsoft Exchange over a POP3 or IMAP4 mail server. This month I discuss an Outlook Calendar feature that users might not find on their own--group schedules--which Outlook has supported since Office XP.

In a nutshell, a group schedule is a list of people and resources that you can store for later reuse in checking their availability and creating new meeting requests or even mail messages. Users create and access group schedules through the Actions, View Group Schedules command in any calendar folder. When you invoke that command, you'll see a Group Schedules dialog box with the label, "Group Schedules saved with this Calendar." That's a major clue to the technical nature of group schedules: Outlook stores group schedules with a specific calendar folder.

A group schedule is in fact a special type of appointment item. To see this for yourself, create a group schedule in any calendar folder and then look at the folder by using the MFCMAPI tool or OutlookSpy. (Find out more about these tools at the first and second URLs below.) Use the IMAPIFolder interface if you're working with OutlookSpy. In the Associated Contents table for the folder, you'll see an item whose subject consists of a long globally unique identifier (GUID) followed by the name of the group schedule. The value of the message class for that item will be IPM.Appointment, which is the same message class Outlook uses for regular appointment items. The group schedule item also has properties that make it a hidden system item and that cause it to display only the Scheduling page of the appointment form with no menus but with a few added commands, which we'll look at shortly.

Given that a group schedule is a hidden appointment in a calendar folder, how do you share a group schedule with someone else? The group schedule is a hidden item, so you can't save it as a file and give that file to someone else, nor does Outlook provide a way to convert an existing appointment--with its list of attendees--into a group schedule item. The only way to share a group schedule is to share the folder that contains that group schedule. The minimum role necessary to view group schedules is Reviewer. Users with permission to read the items in the folder also will be able to access the Actions, View Group Schedules command and will be able to use any existing group schedules. However, only users with the Owner role on a calendar folder will be able to create new group schedules in that folder, because group schedules--like custom views and custom forms--are hidden items, which only an owner can create.

Let's look at the functionality available with a group schedule. When you first open it, you'll see the saved group of attendees and their free/busy time. You can zoom the free/busy view in or out, just as you can with a normal appointment. You can add more attendees by clicking Add Others, Add from Address Book, or by typing a name where it says "Click here to add a name." The group schedule does not distinguish attendees as required, optional, or resource.

One group schedule feature that the Scheduling page on a regular appointment doesn't support is the ability to see the free/busy availability of a public folder. Public folders don't publish their free/busy time like mailbox calendar folders do, so this feature helps organizations that prefer to use calendar folders in the Public Folders\All Public Folders hierarchy for resource scheduling, instead of setting up a separate mailbox for each resource calendar. To add a public folder to a group schedule, click Add Others, Add Public Folder.

Although an ordinary appointment would have controls for entering the meeting start date and end date and AutoPick buttons to navigate to the next time when all attendees are free, the group schedule has only a "Go to" field, where you enter the date you want the group schedule to display. Although this might make a group schedule less useful than a regular appointment when you want to schedule a meeting among many users, it does help you compare the availability of multiple conference rooms that have similar features. In that scenario, you'd create a group schedule that lists all the comparable conference rooms, compare their availability for the desired date, highlight the time block for the one you want to use, then click Make a Meeting, New Meeting as Resource. This creates a new meeting request for the selected time block with the desired conference room set as a resource attendee. All you have to do is add the other attendees and other meeting details.

To create a new meeting request with a single attendee from the group schedule, highlight the desired time block for that person, and choose Make a Meeting, New Meeting. To create a new meeting request for everyone in the group schedule, use the Make a Meeting, New Meeting with All command. To create a new meeting request for just some of the people in the group schedule, delete the ones you don't want, then choose Make a Meeting, New Meeting. (Remember to close the group schedule without saving it.) All these techniques create a new meeting request with all attendees listed as required attendees, with the exception of any public folders listed on the group schedule. If you want to include a public folder on the meeting request, you'll need to add it manually.

Surprisingly, you can also use a group schedule to generate a mail message. To send a message to one person, select that person, then choose Make a Meeting, New Mail Message. To send a message to everyone, choose Make a Meeting, New Mail Message to All.

If group schedules sound like a useful feature that your organization is underutilizing, Microsoft provides plenty of information to help you get users up to speed. In addition to the articles in Outlook Help that will appear if you search for "group schedule," check out the article "Manage group schedules in Outlook" at .

MFCMAPI: A Useful Free Tool



~~~~ Sponsor: ~~~~

Can you afford to have anything less than 100% Uptime for your Mission Critical E-mail?
E-mail has become mission critical to the functioning of business and every hour of downtime can cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity and revenue. In this free white paper, learn how to address challenges such as: making e-mail truly available 24x7x365, securing against viruses, comprehensively backing up e-mail data and more. Download your copy now!

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

SQL Server 2005 Up & Running Roadshows Coming to Europe!
SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you put SQL Server 2005 into practice and learn how to use its new capabilities. Includes one-year PASS membership and subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now for London, UK, and Stockholm, Sweden.

ESSENTIAL GUIDE: Industry expert Paul Robichaux discusses how availability is a function of unplanned downtime only, helping you achieve a system available 99.9% of the time.

WEB SEMINAR: Find out or what policies help or hurt in protecting your company's assets and data. View the on-demand seminar today!

Enabling Secure Collaboration in the Workplace
Join Microsoft and Sybari experts and learn how to help foster collaboration among employees and partners while reducing security risks and enforcing corporate compliance policies.

WHITE PAPER: Streamline and automate the compliance life cycle and reduce your IT compliance costs.

==== Featured White Paper ====

WHITE PAPER: Learn to centralize administration for multiple OSs through AD and policy management.

==== 2. Peer to Peer ====

Outlook Tip: Importing Business Addresses into SharePoint
by Sue Mosher, [email protected]
Q: I've entered both business and home addresses for my contacts in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. When I try to import these addresses into a contacts list on a Windows SharePoint Services site, only the business address appears. It imports the home and business phone numbers, but not the home address. Is it possible to import both addresses from Outlook into SharePoint?

Find the answer (and links to more great tips):

Featured Forum Thread: User Missing From GAL
A forum reader wants to know why a new user, with an Exchange Server 2003 mailbox, doesn't show up in the Global Address List (GAL). Read more and join the discussion at the following URL:


~~~~ Hot Spot ~~~~

Managing Mobility in the Enterprise
Is your mobile workforce set up for success? Mobile management is a key component for your mobile strategy, but inadequate levels can have severe consequences. This free white paper will help you identify the appropriate tools to manage it effectively, and avoid increases in TCO and more. Download it today and ensure your organization’s mobility success!

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Become a VIP Monthly Pass Subscriber
Sign up now and get a VIP Monthly Online Pass that includes online access to ALL the articles, tools, and helpful resources published in SQL Server Magazine, Windows IT Pro, and the Exchange and Outlook Administrator, Windows Scripting Solutions, and Windows IT Security newsletters. You'll also have 24/7 access to a database of more than 25,000 online articles that will give you all the answers you need, when you need them. BONUS--Includes the latest issue of Windows IT Pro each month. Sign up now for just $29.95 per month.

Exchange & Outlook Administrator Newsletter--2006 Special
Order now and SAVE up to $30 off the regular price. You'll discover tools and solutions you won't find anywhere else to help you migrate, optimize, administer, back up, recover, and secure Exchange and Outlook. Paid subscribers also get searchable access to the full online Exchange article database (more than 1000 articles). Order now for just $99.

==== 3. New and Improved ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Share Outlook Items Without Exchange
MAPILab released MAPILab Groupware Server 1.1, a groupware solution for Outlook. Groupware Server uses Messaging API (MAPI) protocol that lets you work in real-time and share folders without using Exchange. With the product, you can create and manage Outlook public contacts, calendars, tasks, journals, notes, and message folders. Additional administrative skills are not necessary for implementing Groupware Server and administrative rights can be given to one or multiple users. A 30-day trial is available. Pricing for Groupware Server 1.1 starts at $49 for a 1-client license.


~~~~ Contact Us ~~~~

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, the leading publication for IT professionals managing, securing, optimizing, and migrating Exchange and Outlook. Subscribe today!

Manage Your Account
You are subscribed as %%$email%%

You are receiving this email message because you subscribed to this newsletter on our Web site. To unsubscribe, click the unsubscribe link:

View the Windows IT Pro Privacy policy at Windows IT Pro a division of Penton Media Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2006, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.