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  Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007

Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007

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Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007

Overview

Before SharePoint 2007 there was limited integration, at least without 3rd party products, between Outlook and SharePoint.  With the 2007 versions of both products multiple list types can be linked directly to Outlook quickly and easily.  Once linked, items in those lists can be created, edited, and deleted directly in Outlook.  In addition, items like contacts, tasks, and appointments even show up like the tradition Exchange\mailbox based objects.  Furthermore, calendars can even be merged, or overlaid, so items from multiple calendars are shown in a single calendar view.

Organizations should be able to use the capabilities covered in this article to start their migration or planning of their migration from Public Folders and shared mailboxes for the items covered in this article.  With MOSS Microsoft has extended the collaboration capability of SharePoint to tie into the most common collaboration tool used by users, Outlook.  This support should help further justify SharePoint as a replacement for file shares, attachments in e-mail, shared mailboxes, and public folders in many cases.

Linking SharePoint to Outlook 2007

As indicated by the title of this article, these features are only available with Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.  Starting with Office 2007 Microsoft has provided direct integration between the Office client and server.  This integration should help organizations to collaborate more effectively.  In addition, these features should assist in the migration away from using Public Folders in Exchange for some of the areas covered below.

Calendars

Shared, public folder based, calendars are commonly used in many organizations and the support in SharePoint 2007 should make it easy to transition users away from Public Folders.  This support included e-mail based acceptance of meetings, web access, alerting when items change, access control\permissions, workflow, custom fields, versioning support, and more.

Mail enabling a calendar

1)      Create a calendar list, or navigate to an existing one

         If creating a new calendar select No under "Incoming E-mail" option, for now.  In the future you can select Yes but doing so here doesnít prompt for all of the configuration options.

2)      Enabled incoming mail on the MOSS server

         By default incoming SMTP mail is not enabled under the central operation configuration section of SharePoint.

         Without allowing incoming mail, no lists in SharePoint can be mail enabled, which is needed to provide e-mail based appointment acceptance for a shared calendar.

         These steps requires configuring SMTP on the server hosting SharePoint, configuring MX records for the server, and setting up correct routing so e-mails from the internal e-mail system for your organization route to the SharePoint server.

a)      See the steps in this Microsoft TechNet article.

3)      Enable incoming mail for the calendar list

a)      Select List Settings from the Settings pull-down menu for the calendar

b)      Under the Communications column choose "Incoming e-mail settings"

c)      Check Yes under "Incoming E-Mail"

d)      Enter the prefix for the e-mail address for the shared calendar

         When the list is mail enabled a contact will be created in the Active Directory.  This contact can be given additional e-mail addresses, so users can send mail to Sales-Calendar@company.com instead of Sales-Calendar@spserver.company.com, for example.

e)      If do not you want the calendar to "Save attachments" sent to the above e-mail address select No

         In general I would suggest setting this on No so large attachment donít waste space in SharePoint.  In addition, users should be trained to send out URL to documents stored in SharePoint instead of attaching them to e-mail messages.  Finally, by removing attachments sensitive documents wonít be posted to a shared location.

f)       If you want the shared calendar to only accept appointment from people with contributor access choose "Accept e-mail messages based on list permissions"

         This requires that the users who send appointment are in the same AD forest as the SharePoint server.  Otherwise SharePoint will not be able to match the senderís e-mail address to an AD account, which is needed to check to see if the sender has the required permissions or not.

         If the calendar read permissions are set to anonymous and you want users outside of your AD forest to send appointments to it, you must choose the "any sender" option.


Figure 1 - Calendar Mail Options

g)      Click OK to save changes

h)      Click on the name of the calendar to view the calendar again

Link Calendar to Outlook

Now that the calendar has been created and setup to accept appointments we will link it to Outlook.  The users who need to look at, or manage, the calendar often will find this more convention the navigating to the SharePoint site to make edits, in most cases.

1)      While viewing the calendar choose Actions\Connect to Outlook

Figure 2 - Connecting SharePoint Calendar

2)      When prompted, choose Yes to allow the connection

Figure 3 - Connect confirmation

         This option actually creates a, or uses the exiting, PST file that SharePoint uses to store all synchronized content so it can be accessed when off-line.

3)      This should bring up your calendar in Outlook

         By default the new calendar and your personal calendar will be shown

Figure 4 - SharePoint calendar in Outlook

Merging a SharePoint Calendar with a Personal Mailbox Calendar (optional)

1)      To merge or overlay both a SharePoint and a mailbox based personal calendar click the left arrow to the right of the SharePoint calendar name

2)      This will overlay both calendars, click the tab of the one you want to be your primary

Figure 5 Ė Merged mailbox and SharePoint calendars

         Below three calendars have been merged into one

Figure 6 - Three merged calendars

3)      To unmerge a calendar click the right arrow by the calendar name

4)      To prevent a calendar from being displayed just uncheck them under "Other Calendars"

Figure 7 - Calendars in Outlook

5)      To remove a calendar completely right click on it under "Other Calendars" and choose Delete

         You will be given a warning when you do this.  This option only deletes it from the PST file used by Outlook to store SharePoint data.

Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007

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Copyright Stephen Bryant 2008