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Getting SharePoint Calendar Reminders in Outlook

11 December, 2007 (06:28) | SharePoint | By: Paul Liebrand

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.

  1. Navigate to the calendar in SharePoint you want to receive reminders on
  2. Create a new calculated column called StartTime with the following settings:

    image

  3. Create a new view based on the All Calendar Items view. Call it something like Outlook Reminders and create the following filter:

    image

    NOTE: After you have created the view, SharePoint will create an RSS feed associated with this view.

  4. From the Calendar, click Settings, then List Settings, and then click on your Outlook Reminders view located at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Click on the RSS icon

    image

  6. Copy the RSS feed URL to the clipboard.
  7. Open Outlook 2007 and then click on Tools, then Account Settings and select the RSS Feeds tab.
  8. 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.

  1. From within Outlook, click on Tools and then Rules and Alerts
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Check the box on display a specific message in the New Item Alert window
  5. 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!”.
  6. Click Next, and then click Next again and your rule should look something like this:

    image

  7. 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:

image

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.

Thank you


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  • http://liebrand.wordpress.com liebrand

    Nobody from Microsoft has contact me regarding the time difference issue with alerts, etc., so I have no idea if they are listening. My guess is a support incident will have to be opened with them for any action to take place. Microsoft in the past has been really good about resolving issues they consider bugs. I am just surprised that after two service packs and a number of hot fixes this issue has not been addressed.

    I am starting to wonder if there is truly a problem or a configuration issue. I have checked and double checked my setup and everything appears to be configured correctly but the time difference issue remains.

  • Alysson

    Hi…
    My SP use SSL and password. The RSS don’t connect with sites with SSL and password?
    In this case, i don’t have solution for my reminder?
    What’s the use of calendars if i don’t have reminders?

    Thanks for the help..

    Alysson

  • Alysson

    Hi…
    My SP use SSL and password. The RSS don’t connect with sites with SSL and password?
    In this case, i don’t have solution for my reminder?
    What’s the use of calendars if i don’t have reminders?

    Thanks for the help..

    Alysson

  • Alysson

    Hi…
    My SP use SSL and password. The RSS don’t connect with sites with SSL and password?
    In this case, i don’t have solution for my reminder?
    What’s the use of calendars if i don’t have reminders?

    Thanks for the help..

    Alysson

  • skvcmail

    Hi Paul, Very good,,,, man…you are very smart and have good brain to think a work around like this. This problem both time difference and automated reminder handling is faced by all the clients of Microsoft who use of Sharepoint. Hope you highlighted this issue directly to them. I had escalated a mapping issue in MSCRM and outlook Contact field , company , in crm 3.0 which they solved very quickly and informed me. Calendar is of no use without Reminders. So pls escalate this issue . Thank you, Sir

  • skvcmail

    Hi Paul, Very good,,,, man…you are very smart and have good brain to think a work around like this. This problem both time difference and automated reminder handling is faced by all the clients of Microsoft who use of Sharepoint. Hope you highlighted this issue directly to them. I had escalated a mapping issue in MSCRM and outlook Contact field , company , in crm 3.0 which they solved very quickly and informed me. Calendar is of no use without Reminders. So pls escalate this issue . Thank you, Sir

  • Lisa

    I know that this was an older blog, but several of the issues noted with RSS subscription, etc. still appear to be issues. I am trying to take a filtered calendar view and show it via a calendar in Outlook, but the filters in the view don't seem to copy over. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.paulliebrand.com Paul Liebrand

    Lisa,

    Unfortunately the views you setup on a SharePoint calendar are not translated in anyway to Outlook once you have connected the calendar. This is by design.

    Paul Liebrand

  • BL in Boise

    I am running into an issue with the filter. I can't get it to filter out events on other days. Instead, it just shows all of the events in the calendar. I created the column and it seems to be working correctly, so I think the problem is in my filter. Should I be using “[Today]” as the filter or is there some other value that should be there? I am using WSS and Office 2007.

  • BL in Boise

    Never mind, I figured it out. It was showing all of my events because I created a calendar just to test this out. As it turns out, the time zone is off. When I added the “StartTime” column to my view, my all-day events showed as starting at 6:00pm the day before. I have no access to the server side of things, so I just changed the events to start at 8:00am.

  • ss in nj

    I would like to push these Alerts to about 100 people. Is there a way around this. I cannot possible work with their Outlook.

  • Mortimer

    Paul, is there a way to have the alert only popup 1 hour before it is due? As soon as outlook received the RSS feed, even if it is 10 hours later in the day the alert will popup.

  • http://www.paulliebrand.com Paul Liebrand

    Mortimer,

    Not to my knowledge. There are not that many options when it comes to
    this method. If I come across a way I’ll be sure to let you know.

    Paul

  • Edgar

    Hello Paul:

    Nice article but I could not make it work for recurrence events, Do you know how to do it?

  • Chintangandhi007

    Hi,

    I am working on a Hospital management project which is made in sharepoint 2010

    I am using Calender control in sharepoint but i cannot set the appointment as per doctor..

    I want to set appointment

    How can i filter all appointment as per Doctor?

    Any answer?????

    ASAP………

    Chintan Gandhi

  • K Shipley78

    this was really useful! thank you !

  • Tamara

    hi Paul! thank you for the article! do i understand correct that it will not really work with recurrent events as it impossible to get start date?

  • Jade

    Thanks Paul. Would you happen to know if it is possible to change the body of the RSS feed message in Outlook? i.e. changing the content from just Start Time, End Time, Description, Enclosures….

  • http://photography.paulliebrand.com Paul Liebrand

    Jade,

    Unfortunately not — Out of the box, the RSS feed is not customizable. I have not done it myself but I am sure you could create your own RSS feed and then include whatever you want in it.

    Thanks,

    Paul

  • sam

    hi, im trying to get this workaround running. i’m working with sp 2010 foundation.
    but it seams that i cant create “Start Time” value.
    i’m getting this error:

    Fehler

    Die Formel kann nicht
    auf eine andere Spalte verweisen. Überprüfen Sie die Formel auf
    Eingabefehler, oder ändern Sie die Spalte in die Spalte der Formel.

    seams that i cant refernce a value to another?

    can someone plz help?

    best regards,
    sam