How can I find free/busy time when booking meetings?

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More Info

This functionality is available in WorkgroupShare v1.3 and later.

Summary

When organizing meetings in Outlook it is useful to have visibiity of the free/busy times for each person you are inviting to the meeting. WorkgroupShare has its own Free/Busy server, which can make available the free/busy times for each WorkgroupShare user. Meetings can be scheduled for a time when all delegates, and resources such as meeting rooms, are available.

Detail

In order to see the free/busy time for these users you will need to add a default free/busy server to the Search Location field of the Free/Busy Options property sheet. This must be done in Outlook for each client wishing to use the Free/Busy function.

http://your-server-ip:8109/%NAME%

The Free/Busy Options property sheet is accessible by selecting Tools | Options and pressing the Calendar Options button and then pressing the Free/Busy Options button. Note, you must replace your-server-ip with the IP address or name of the computer which runs WorkgroupShare.

The Outlook Calendar for each user who wishes to publish free/busy information must have been shared in the Outlook client and synchronized to the WorkgroupShare server.

Ensure that an email address has been entered into the WorkgroupShare Administrator for each user. You can do this by right clicking on a user account and selecting Properties. Enter the users' email address into the Email field and press OK to save your changes.

Then, in Outlook, select File | New | Meeting Request from the menu (note you must have an email account configured in Outlook in order to be able to do this).

Select the Scheduling tab (or Attendee Availability in Outlook 2000) and in the attendee list, enter the email address of the user whose free/busy time you wish to view. Press CTRL-K and the users free/busy information will appear in the right hand window.

Note that if the email address you enter resolves to a contact in your Contacts folder then Outlook will try and use a free/busy server assigned to that contact. If none exists then it will use the default (WorkgroupShare) free/busy server that was defined above. Note that if you have external contacts who publish their own free/busy information then you should specify their own free/busy server in the Contact details. Local users should not have an entry in this field so that free/busy information is always taken from the WorkgroupShare server.

If some appointments do not show up in the free/busy schedule in Outlook, check to see if they were configured to show up as ‘free’. The WorkgroupShare free/busy server reports appointments configured as ‘busy’, ‘tentative’ and ‘out of office’ as busy. WorkgroupShare only reports free/busy information taken from a users own calendar. Any entries in a public calendar folder will be excluded from the free/busy report.

If you receive an error message stating 'An error occurred reading Internet Free/Busy data. General Failure. The URL was http://your-server-ip:8109/name' then the free/busy information could not be found for that user. Check the free/busy settings in Outlook and check that the email address was entered correctly into the query. If the error persists then you may need to install the Microsoft Web Publishing Wizard. Download and install this from here. You will need to restart Outlook before the change will be implemented.

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