SharePoint Tips: Calendar overlays in Outlook

Even in the brave new work of Office 365 Teams and Groups, Outlook is often the first application you open to begin your working day. We still spend much of our writing or monitoring emails, even though we should by now be ‘sharing’ documents instead of attaching them.

Now that Microsoft recommends a ‘flat’ architecture with more site collections and sites, checking individual site calendars is impractical.

It has always been possible to link a SharePoint Calendar to Outlook but it is a feature that is often overlooked. The experience is now very smooth and works well. As Outlook has a rich user interface it makes this the logical place to keep on top of all your events, regardless of which site the data is stored in.

Go to the Calendar list, this is still a ‘classic’ list so the ribbon is available. On the ‘Calendar’ tab choose to ‘Connect to Outlook’.

Screenshot of SharePoint Calendar ribbon

Accept the prompt in Outlook…

Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook pop-up

…and the Calendar is added.

If you have permissions to add items in the SharePoint calendar then you will also be able to add events into the SharePoint calendar directly from Outlook.

At this point in time the browser web client for Outlook does not let you overlay the calendars but in the rich desktop client this is simply a matter of clicking the overlay button.

Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook Calendars

We now have nicely overlaid Calendars, with all of our events in one place and we can colour code the individual tabs using the colour wheel in the ribbon.

Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook Calendar - View ribbon

If the calendar only exists in Outlook, we can export the existing events and convert them into a SharePoint calendar. In this way existing events can be transferred to SharePoint Online into the appropriate team site and shared to Outlook the same way.

To do this :

  1. Create a SharePoint calendar in the appropriate site.
  2. Link that calendar back to Outlook.
  3. Copy the old Outlook calendar information to the newly connected SharePoint Calendar using Outlook.

Go to your existing calendar in Outlook, select the ‘View’ tab and in the ‘Change View’ dropdown select List.

Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook Calendar - View ribbon

From there you can copy selected or all the events and paste them directly into the newly connected SharePoint calendar. These events will now also show up in SharePoint. Archive your old calendar and continue to use the newly connected calendar synched to SharePoint.

Looking for some more handy hints on using SharePoint and Microsoft Outlook? Speak to our SharePoint consultants today.