A few days ago, Omar Shahine wrote about the new features of Windows Live Calendar in a post entitled Windows Live Calendar gets To Dos where he writes

At long last, we have shipped To Dos. It’s been a long time since I worked on Windows Live Calendar and we were talking about building To Dos. The best part about To Dos is that they work with Shared Calendars. In other words, if you and your spouse have a “Family Calendar” you can now create and manage a shared task list… something Google Calendar still doesn’t have.

With the new release of Windows Live Calendar and the new Beta releases of the Windows Live Suite there is a ton of great end to end Calendar functionality.

  1. Outlook Connector to sync all your Windows Live Calendars to Outlook, including your Birthday Calendar for all your Contacts.
  2. Windows Live Mail now with Calendar Sync will also sync all your Windows Live Calendars
  3. Shared Calendars that you can create, share and manage with other Windows Live Users
  4. Calendar Subscriptions to public internet calendars that you can subscribe and sync to all the products above.

And of course now To Dos. Dare should be happy about this. He’ll need it when the baby comes :-).

One thing has been frustrating me for months is that there was no easy way to incorporate shared calendaring into my wife and I's workflow even though we both used calendaring products from Microsoft. Typically my wife would add an item to her calendar (in Windows Calendar) and then have to literally tell me about the appointment at which point I'd either enter it into my Windows Mobile phone which would synchronize it with Outlook + Exchange or I'd fire up my laptop and enter it directly into Outlook. The big problem with this "approach" is when she tells me about something and I don't immediately enter it into my phone (e.g. when i don't want to be inappropriate at our midwife appointments) in which case I forget and end up being late or missing shared appointments.

This has all changed with the usage of two free products from Microsoft. The first is the newest version of Windows Live Mail (Wave 3 beta) which now has a built in calendar with synchronizes with Windows Live Calendar which my wife now uses. The second is Microsoft Office Outlook Connector which allows you to synchronize email with Windows Live Hotmail and calendars from Windows Live Calendar directly into Outlook which I use at work.

Besides installing both pieces of software the only setup step needed was for my wife to share her calendar with me from Windows Live Calendar. Now that my wife has begun her maternity leave in preparation for the birth of our son, I'm glad I can fire up Outlook and see what's going on with her during my work day. For example, looking in my Outlook calendar for tomorrow shows an appointment I'd almost forgotten

That would have been embarrassing. Smile

Now Playing: Stevie Wonder - I Was Made To Love Her


Monday, September 22, 2008 5:20:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
This still has the fatal flaw that you can't see your wife's calendar on your mobile phone. Creating separate Outlook calendars is not compatible with ActiveSync.

A better solution is what you can do with google calendar and OggSync or SyncMyCal - map multiple (google) calendars into multiple categories on your Exchange calendar. Then it all works like magic, your wife makes an entry in her calendar, puts it in the "Family" category and it automatically syncs right down to your main Outlook calendar and your phone. It's categorized as "Family" so you can filter/color code/search all you want.

This approach also works great with TripIt - forward your travel plans to TripIt and bang! they show up on your Outlook calendar.

Oh, and unlike Live Calendar, it works just fine on Windows Server.
John Vert
Monday, September 22, 2008 5:40:35 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I agree with the above comment. I would really like to "share" apppointments with my wife's calendar so actually "syncing" not just displaying with Outlook is a must. I constantly look at the next events in my "To Do" bar in Outlook 2007 and this solution doesn't help that. Google Calendar Sync does this, although it has other flaws.

If Outlook Connector gave the ability for a two-way sync on select event types, that would be killer.
Monday, September 22, 2008 9:18:06 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
No, it doesn't integrate fully, but it is better than nothing. Although google calendar works well as a family calendar too, and outlook 12 will show them side by side. The whole windows mobile integration is a mess right now, but you can use google calendar SMS reminders to page your mobile when an appointment is due.

the problem with classic Exchange/Outlook calendars is the assumption that everyone you want to collaborate with is in the same enterprise; the assumption in google calendars is that you want to do all the calendaring on the web. Both assumptions are flawed.
Monday, September 22, 2008 11:18:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
And I guess ToDos sync with Outlook Tasks right?
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 5:09:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
to-dos are nice, but it would be even nicer to have an API. :)
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