Getting SharePoint Calendar Reminders in Outlook
I frequently get asked the same question when demonstrating the ability to connect SharePoint calendars to Outlook, “Will it pop up reminders like normal Outlook calendar items do?” And I always have to answer with, “Unfortunately… no.”
I also get the phone call from people saying they are getting the “The reminder for event name could not be set because the item is in a folder that does not support reminders. Is this OK?”. People are very disappointed when they find out you cannot get reminders from SharePoint calendars that are connected to Outlook.
However, using some of the out of the box features I have been able to come up with an acceptable solution for this problem. Unfortunately, it does take some effort to setup than it does to simply just click the “Connect to Outlook” button.
The following post will outline the “workaround” to achieving this functionality.
- Navigate to the calendar in SharePoint you want to receive reminders on
- Create a new calculated column called StartTime with the following settings:
- Create a new view based on the All Calendar Items view. Call it something like Outlook Reminders and create the following filter:
NOTE: After you have created the view, SharePoint will create an RSS feed associated with this view.
- From the Calendar, click Settings, then List Settings, and then click on your Outlook Reminders view located at the bottom of the screen.
- Click on the RSS icon
- Copy the RSS feed URL to the clipboard.
- Open Outlook 2007 and then click on Tools, then Account Settings and select the RSS Feeds tab.
- Click New and paste the URL in here. Click Ok on the RSS Feed Options dialog screen.
At this point, you have just brought the calendar information based on the view in from SharePoint into Outlook. I realize that if you have the common feed sync option enabled you could have simply clicked on the Subscribe to this feed button from Internet Explorer and you would be done already, but this is the long way.
Now that we have the feed sync with Outlook we need to create a custom rule that will alert if you when a new item appears within the feed.
- From within Outlook, click on Tools and then Rules and Alerts
- Under Email Rules, click on New Rule and then select Check messages as they arrive under the Start from a blank rule section. Click Next
- Check the box on from RSS Feeds with specific text in the title and then select the link for specific text. This will bring up a list of all the RSS Feeds you currently have connected to Outlook.Check the RSS Feeds that is associated with the calendar and view your created and then click Ok, then click Next.
- Check the box on display a specific message in the New Item Alert window
- Click on the a specific message link and type a message you want to be displayed when this rules as been met. For example, “Reminder!”.
- Click Next, and then click Next again and your rule should look something like this:
- Click Finished and you are ready to go.
Now to test it out to make sure it is all functioning the way it should.
Here is the event item I created in SharePoint:
And here is the pop message / reminder I received the next time my Outlook performed a send / receive:
And there you have it — receiving reminders from calendars that are stored in SharePoint. I do understand that this setup is not going to work for everyone. For example, by default the RSS Feeds are only synchronized every 1 hours. So if you are looking for reminders in 5 minute increments this may not work.
Remember that this rule in Outlook will trigger anytime a new item shows up within the RSS Feed that you have associated with your view. If you want to be reminded 1 day before the event, then simply change the formula to something like =[StartDate]-1.
This is the way I solved this problem and I am sure there are 100 other ways to do it. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to let me know. At the end of the day, this met the needs of many of my end users.