Maintaining multiple Calendars

While I have to put the Outlook Calendar entries into the office calendar I do have my own private calender on Google that I share with my wife and vice versa. I want my wife to know when I am at customers or in foreign countries. That enables her to make appointments for us without the need to call me several times a day.

There are two problems:
  1. And this is a general problem of the crappy Outlook*): With version 2007 or 2010 they changed the style how invitations are sent and this means: When on an Android phone for example or you do not allow HTML display in your mails due to security reasons you don't see the Outlook appointment information on your phone or mail-client. Both is given in my case.
  2. I need to create each work-related calendar entry twice - once in the Outlook Office 2010 calendar and one on my Google calendar.

Solution for problem 1: Install Invitation Processor Pro on your Android device as unfortunately by default Microsoft Outlook inviations cannot be processed by Android (while gmail invitations and those sent with Thunderbird+Lightning which are also distributed as .ics file are displayed fine so this is not a general problem with event invitation mails). Say thanks to Microsoft.

Solution for problem 2: I thought of several possible solutions, but a) I am not using the Desktop Outlook at all (so all Outlook plugins for syncing calendars are irrelevant for me) and b) I do not want extra hosting for calendar syncing. You might be in a similar annoying situation so here is another still a little annoying, but acceptable way:
  1. Create two rules via Outlook web access 2010:
    a) Forward all mails of type meeting request to your private gmail address:
    Rule Name: Forward event invitation
    After the message arrives and...
    the message is Meeting Request.
    And my name is in the To or Cc box
    Do the following...
    forward the message to 'you@gmail.com'
    b) Delete your own meeting responses from yourself (confirming events on GMail side):
    Rule Name: Meeting response from Google Calendar
    After the message arrives and...
    the message was received from 'calendar-notification@google.com'
    And the message is Meeting Response.
    And the message includes specific words in the subject '(YourFirstName YourLastName)'
    Do the following...
    delete the message
    And stop processing more rules on this message
  2. Use Outlook (web-access) 2010 to confirm appointment requests (at work for me the 90% case). When creating appointments on your own then invite yourself (your private or your work email address).
And the good thing when solving problem 2 this way: You also solve problem 1 as GMail is able to display the invitation details (date and time) even for the .ics files originating from Outlook. I installed the Invitation Processor Pro anyway to see the event details also when currently in K-9 Mail on Android.

There are four different use cases:
  1. Co-Worker sends me a meeting request:
    => I confirm in the same way using Outlook web access 2010 and GMail. This way I have to confirm two times, but don't have to recreate the appointment twice manually (and using wrong dates or times) so I can be sure they match. And just to see it in GMail I don't even have to respond to the meeting request because on arrival in GMail I can see it in Google Calendar.
  2. I have to create a private appointment:
    => I simply create this event in my private Google Calendar.
  3. I have to create a work appointment that is completely irrelevant to my private time planning (maybe just a time blocker or reminder):
    => Just create this event in my office Calendar (using Outlook Web access).
  4. I have to create a work related appointment:
    => Create the appointment in my private calendar and invite myself (send invitation to my work/office email address) and
    => confirm the incoming message with the Outlook web access.
    => Create the calendar entry in Outlook web access calendar and invite myself (send invitation to private email-address) and
    => Confirm invitation in GMail.
The remaining little annoyance with this solution is: As I usually use Thunderbird to access my Microsoft Exchange Mail account from the office, I need to switch to Outlook web access for confirming meeting requests.

Related posts: Outlook Calendar Meetings, Outlook 2010 Meeting Requests, Thunderbird and the Outlook global address book.

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