Working With Multiple Calendars in Outlook 2010


The following is a Guest Post by MVP Eric Legault

Calendaring has long been one of Outlook's greatest strengths. Millions of users organize their hectic jobs and lives using Appointment items and Meeting Requests to keep track of important events with many kinds of people and groups. However, managing all of these dates and schedules is a continual challenge. Outlook has always provided ways to open other people's calendars in a corporate environment. Starting with Outlook 2007, new features were added to share your Calendar to other users over the Internet, organize your Calendars into groups in the Navigation Pane, and to view multiple Calendars using Side-By-Side and Overlay modes.

Although it's now far easier to view multiple Calendars, going back and forth from viewing a single Calendar to a changing set of Calendar groups was a challenge. Now Outlook 2010 gives us Calendar Groups. Creating a new group is easy - simply click the Calendar Groups drop down in the Manage Calendar tab on the Home ribbon and select "Create New Calendar Group":


Figure 1 - Creating a new Calendar Group

The Address Book dialog will then be displayed and ask you to choose the users whose Calendars you want displayed in that group.

Note that these groups differ from organizing multiple Calendars under a unique heading that we were used to in Outlook 2007. The key change is that we can now select the group to automatically display all Calendars in that group alongside the Calendar we are currently viewing. So if you are looking at your own Calendar, and want to add the Calendars for the Marketing team to your view, click the check box next to the Marketing group to quickly display all three Calendars side-by-side:


Figure 2 - Selecting Calendar Groups

Going back to viewing just your own Calendar is as simple as clearing the check box for the Marketing group!

If you want to create a new Calendar Group from Calendars you are already looking at, simply click the Calendar Groups drop down in the Manage Calendar tab on the Home ribbon and select "Save as New Calendar Group”. The active Calendars will now be added to their very own group in the Navigation Pane.

What’s even better for viewing multiple Calendars in Outlook 2010 is the new Schedule View. Using overlays is fine, but sometimes the details from many Calendars all mashed together with different colors can be a little disconcerting. The Schedule View keeps all Calendar details separate in their own lane, so you can more easily see at a glance who is available (or off on a much needed vacation!):


Figure 3 - Schedule View

About the Author:

Eric Legault, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Outlook since 2003, is the founder of Collaborative Innovations, a Micro ISV and consulting services provider specializing on Microsoft messaging and collaboration solutions.  Eric has over 14 years of experience in the computer industry, and has focused his energies developing solutions based on Microsoft application platforms such as Microsoft Office (especially Outlook), SharePoint and Exchange.  He holds certifications as a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) for Messaging & Collaboration, SharePoint Infrastructure, WSS 3.0 Application Development and MOSS 2007 Application Development.  Eric has also published articles in MSDN, Office Online, Windows IT Pro magazine and various online technology newsletters, edited books on Outlook, SharePoint and Access,  and maintains a blog on Outlook programming and SharePoint technologies. His current focus is on developing custom Outlook Add-Ins to integrate line of business applications or enhance collaboration processes and workflows. Eric is also engaged with technical communities as a co-founder of the Winnipeg SharePoint User Group and via speaking engagements at conferences around the globe.