Using SharePoint to store Outlook Free/Busy data

I had never thought of this before until a poster on one of my blogs wondered if this was possible.  Sure enough, it is!  However, this is really only of value for people who:

  • Do not have Microsoft Exchange
  • Have Exchange and also have SharePoint exposed to the Internet with anonymous authentication enabled

The latter is a highly unlikely scenario for most SPS deployments due to obvious security concerns.  Although you could create a single, top-level WSS site that is exposed this way, you may already have a public facing web or FTP server that is much more suitable for storing the Free/Busy data.  Of course, now that Microsoft has dropped their free storage mechanism for FB, you now have to store it yourself somewhere.

Anyway, the best approach to storing FB info for all of the users in your network is to create/use a WSS Site that everyone has access to, and create a dedicated Document Library with Author permissions for the required users.  Then, in Outlook go to Options -> Preferences -> Calendar Options -> Free/Busy Options and enter the full URL to the Document Library in the “Publish to my location” text box:

e.g.
http://intranet/sites/ASite/FreeBusyLibrary/yourname.vfb

And that is really all there is to it.  It works pretty much the same way as storing Free/Busy data on a web server or an FTP server.  For more info on sharing Free/Busy info, see the “Publishing free/busy information section” in my article on “Sharing Your Outlook Information” on Office Online.

Eric Legault

Microsoft Outlook MVP (15 yrs). Author: Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Step By Step. Consultant/speaker/Outlook add-in builder/SharePoint pioneer. Guitarist: Maiden Canada (Iron Maiden tribute band)

You may also like...

%d bloggers like this: