This article is the first in a three part series on how to create a Master Calendar in SharePoint using basic, Out-of-the-Box functionality. This first article was written by Greg Maas as a response to Master Calendars in SharePoint, a previous article on EndUserSharePoint.com. From: Greg Maass Senior Computing Specialist University of Washington Human Resources Information Systems Seattle, Wa
One of the typical needs for any business, regardless of size, is tracking and coordination of events. Calendaring systems have been a core feature of what used to be called “Personal Information Management Systems”, and systems such as Ecco or PackRat, which are focused on individual calendars, still have their adherents. These days, workgroup software, featuring robust server based calendaring systems (such as Microsoft Exchange) have become the norm for many organizations, and have streamlined routine activities like scheduling meetings or booking resources and equipment. The introduction of Sharepoint presents some challenges with respect to calendaring and event management, but can bring value to an organization if proper planning and solid information architecture are a focus and priority. This article will discuss an approach to using Sharepoint to support a centralized shared calendar, and give real world examples of a Sharepoint based calendar system in use.
One of the classic demonstrations of a Sharepoint team site is a home page with a “Team Calendar”. This can be set up in a matter of minutes, and can soon become filled with listings for events that can be viewed in several different layouts, including a standard calendar look and feel. Once users become aware of how practical a centralized calendar can be, they can start showing up in numerous sites, and eventually become a burden for users who need to stay aware of events listed in multiple calendars.
Proposed Approach to a Solution
A more cohesive approach to using calendars in Sharepoint is to do some planning up front, with the goal of having a centralized calendar, or at least a small number of calendars that are focused towards similar types of activities or groups of users. This can be accomplished by using content types based on the core Event content type. Some things to keep in mind:
- All of your content types that will populate the calendar will need to share the same columns for display. Typically this can be the start time and end time columns which you will inherit from the Event content type.
- By default, the Event content type is hidden. See this posting for a method to make it available and inheritable by your custom content types: http://www.elumenotion.com/Blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=15 by Doug Ware.
- Think about ways to extend the usefulness of entries to your calendars. This is where solid information architecture comes into play. For example, it can be useful to automatically send reminders in advance of certain types of events to certain people or groups. Using workflows and custom columns (such as “Attendees”, “Presenter”, “Audience”) can allow you to set up automation features that users really appreciate. A workflow can wait until 24 hours before the start date of an event, and then send out appropriate reminders or assign tasks.
To be continued in Part 2 ...