Using Microsoft Outlook with Zap Calendar
Zap Calendar was built from the ground up to support the iCalendar standard, a method of sharing calendar data between different systems. Several versions of Microsoft Outlook support this standard, which will allow calendar events saved in Microsoft Outlook to appear on a website running Zap Calendar. In order to accomplish this, Zap Calendar's ical sync plugin will be needed (named ical subscribe in Zap Calendar 3), which is included in the Zap Calendar Pro version.
The ical sync plugin can pull calendar data from a website and publish it on the Zap Calendar site. This requires the Outlook calendar data to be available on a website in order for Zap Calendar to see it. The plugin pulls this data from the Outlook site at a regular interval that you decide: 1, 2, 4, 6, 12 or every 24 hours. This interval polling requires a cron job to run on your server hosting your Zap Calendar website. If you do not have cron job capability with your server, Z Content can run the cron jobs for you on their servers. This benefit is available to any active Zap Calendar subscriber.
Below describes how to configure different versions of Outlook to publish the calendar to the web and how to configure Zap Calendar.
Outlook 2007 utilizes Office Live to publish your calendar data on the web for Zap Calendar to see it. There are several levels of publishing with Office Live:
Availability Only (most restrictive) - events will show only "free", "busy", "tentative" or "out of office"
Limited Details - show the title but not the event details
Full Details (least restrictive) - show all details of the event
The full details on configuring Outlook for Office Live can be found on the Microsoft website.
Office 365 is a web-based suite of office products. Using the Office 365 version of Outlook means your calendar is already on the web. You can use Office 365 as a standalone mail and calendar client or you can also link your Outlook account to your Office 365 account to provide calendar publishing of your Outlook calendar.
From the Office 365 calendar screen, click the "Share" menu, then the "Change Publishing Settings" menu option. The following screen will appear:
Settings for publishing detail and date range can be defined here.
Configuring Zap Calendar
Once you have enabled publishing of your events, you will be given a link for subscribing to the calendar. This link is what is needed by Zap Calendar to pull the calendar data from Outlook. Here are the steps to configure Zap Calendar:
- Install the ical sync plugin. Publish the plugin from the Joomla plugin manager
- Create a new event category. Each shared calendar requires its own category (1 category for each calendar)
- From the category editor and under the iCal Sync plugin settings, enable the plugin, enter the subscription URL and the update frequency. You should also mark the category as "read-only" under the publishing tab to avoid other events from being entered in the category.
- Enable the cron job. You will find details on how to do this in the ical sync plugin page.
- You can manually refresh the calendar events at any time from the "admin tools" screen under the main Zap Calendar panel page.
To display the calendar events, you just need to include the newly created category in the calendar view you are displaying.