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Calendar synchronization scenario's

There are basically 3 scenario's for calendar syncing:
  1. Synchronize the default Calendar:
    All appointments are visible in the same calendar folder and you can get reminders for all appointments.
  2. Sync each user's default calendar with an alternative folder name:
    Appointments for each user are visible in a separate calendar
  3. Create a new calendar folder and sync this folder:
    All appointments in the same folder but without reminders.

On this page we will show all 3 scenario's in a setting with 3 users: Ron, Ben and John.

1. Sync the default calendar

This is the most simple scenario: we simply sync the default calendar folder. OsaSync will merge the contents of all default calendars so when the preparation for synchronization has finished the appointment of all users will be visible in the default calendar.

Here is a snapshot of Ron's default calendar:

And this is Ben's calendar:

We now sync the calendar from Ron's computer. We could also have started on Ben's or John's computer, this doesn't matter (although it's best to start on the computer that has the most appointments in it's calendar folder)..

  1. On Ron's computer we click OsaSync - Prepare folders for synchronization...
  2. Click Next until the Choose folder step, select the Calendar and click Next
  3. Leave the alternative folder name blank on the Folder name step and click Next
  4. In the Past appointments step you can choose if you want to include past appointments or not. If you haven't archived the calendar for a while it's best to skip past appointments otherwise the syncing process can take a long time.

  5. If you have not specified prefixes yet then OsaSync will show the Prefixes step. Prefixes are very useful for identifying who's appointment you are seeing in a synced calendar.

    Here's an example how this will look like:

    Here you see an appointment created by Peter; it's prefixed with [PvdG].
    Clicking the Specify prefixes... button will show a window on which you can set prefixes for all configured computers. If you are running OsaSync in Client-Server mode then you can choose to use the prefixes as specified by the other computer when it ran the connection wizard. These prefixes are visible and can be edited in the CnfComputers.txt  file in the \OsaServer folder on the server. A prefix can't be longer then 5 characters and is automatically applied by OsaSync between '[' and ']' when an appointment from another computer is imported.
    In this example we do want to see prefixes so we specify the prefixes Ben, John and Ron for there corresponding computers. Because we also want to see these prefixes on Ben's and John's computer we also have to specify these prefixes on those computers. We access the Specify prefixes window by clicking OsaSync - Options - Advanced options, tab Outlook Item Options, tab Appointments. There we check the boxes Prefix new appointments and Also use the prefix if appointments are updated by other users. Then we click Specify prefixes... and set the same prefixes as on Ron's computer.

  6. Select the computers in the Select computers step to sync with and click Next.

  7. If you don't want one or more other users to be able to make changes in the calendar then you can mark a computer as Read-Only in the Read-Only folders step. Otherwise leave blank. Clicking Next will start the creation of synchronization data.

  8. When sync data creation is ready a summary is shown. Click Next to see the Ready window. Close the wizard by clicking the Finish button.

  9. Click Check for changes on other computers on all computers that were selected in the Select computers step (In this example Ben's and John's computer). OsaSync will import the sync data and when sync data import is ready it will look appointments that are not present on Ron's computer and create sync data for those appointments. This sync import step is called merging.

  10. Again click Check for changes on other computers on all computers. All sync data created by the merging process is now imported. When this import is ready the calendar on all 3 computers will contain the same appointments so now the calendar is in sync.

  11. From now on OsaSync will keep the calendar in sync. So you don't have to run this prepare folders for synchronization process anymore!

Our synced default calendar on Ron's computer now looks like this:

You see the appointments from Ben's computer prefixed with [Ben] and those of John's computer with [John]. These same appointments on Ben's computer are shown as follows:

You now see the appointments from computer Ron prefixed with [Ron]

2. Sync each user's default calendar with an alternative folder name

In this scenario the default calendar on Ron's computer is synced with the alternative folder name Calendar - Ron. When OsaSync imports the sync data on the other computers it creates this folder Calendar Ron. All appointments from Ron are then visible in a separate folder.

One possible application for this scenario is when you want your default calendar to be managed by your secretary. Or you simply want to keep all users appointments clearly separated in separate folders.

Contrary to all other syncing scenarios we have to run the prepare folders for syncing wizard now on each computer. In this example we run the wizard on Ron's computer and sync the default calendar as Calendar - Ron; on Ben's computer as Calendar - Ben and on John's as Calendar - John.
All steps in the prepare folders for syncing wizard are the same as when we sync the default calendar which is described above in scenario 1. The only difference is that we now do specify the alternative folder name in the Folder name step so when running we wizard on Ron's computer we fill out Calendar - Ron; while running the wizard on Ben's computer Calendar - Ben and so on.

When preparing for synchronization has finished the OsaSync tab on the properties window of the calendar folder on computer Ron (accessible by right-clicking the calendar and choosing Properties) displays the alternative name that is used on the other computers:

Also note the OsaSync folder ID: this ID has to be the same as the folder ID of the folder Calendar - Ron on the other computers.

Here is a snapshot of how the Outlook folder list looks like on Ron's computer after we have synchronized the default calendar folders from all 3 computers:

And here's how it looks on Ben's computer:

In these examples you see that OsaSync uses prefixes for all appointments. In this case this is a bit redundant because it's clear already from which computer an appointment originates so we could have disabled the use of prefixes (via OsaSync - Options - Advanced options, tab Outlook Item Options, tab Appointments).

If you are running Outlook 2003 or higher then you can display all calendar folders in one window (this is a feature of Outlook; not from OsaSync):


3. Create a new calendar folder and sync this folder

You can create a new calendar folder, for instance the folder Common calendar, and sync this new folder. This scenario is useful when you want to see all appointments in one folder and you explicitly want to separate you common appointments from your private appointments. This enables you to sync the common calendar with your colleagues and your private appointments in your default calendar with your laptop. Another difference with syncing the default calendar is that you won't get reminders for appointments in the common calendar because reminders only fire in the default calendar.

Syncing a custom calendar folder is very similar to our first scenario in which the default calendar is synced so for a step by step instruction you can read that scenario. The only difference is that you have to create the new calendar folder first before you start the prepare folder for synchronization wizard.

Here's an example of a synced common calendar folder on Ron's computer:

See also:



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