How to use the Internet Free/Busy feature in Outlook

Internet Free/Busy (IFB) is a feature of Microsoft Outlook that allows you to see when others are free or busy so that you can efficiently schedule meetings. Outlook users have the option to publish their free/busy information to a user-specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL) file server. You can share this URL file server with all users or limit it to a specific set of users.

An Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard called iCal, is the basis for IFB. IFB uses a part of the iCal standard called iCalendar, an emerging standard for the format and storage of schedule information. iCalendar defines a structure for representing free/busy information in a standardized way.

This article discusses the following information:

How to publish free/busy information to the Internet.
How to view other people’s free/busy information on the Internet.
How to set the global free/busy search path for all contacts.
How to set the free/busy search path for a specific contact.
How to plan a meeting by using free/busy information on the Internet.

MORE INFORMATION

How to Publish Free/Busy Information to the Internet

1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
2. On the Preferences tab, click Calendar Options.
3. Click Free/Busy Options.
4. In Publish at My Location, type the fully qualified path to the server on which you will publish your free/busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as: http://…, file://\\…, or ftp://…. The following is an example of a valid format:ftp://Myserver/Freebusy/Myname.vfb

Free/busy files have an extension of .vfb.

5. Click OK three times to close all dialog boxes.

Note For FTP servers that require authentication, you must follow these steps to configure the FTP site in Outlook:

1. Start Outlook.
2. On the File menu, click Open, and then click Outlook Data File.
3. In the Look in box, select Add/Modify FTP Locations.
4. In the Add/Modify FTP Locations dialog box, type the address of your FTP site in the Name of FTP Site box. The format for the address is ftp.site.com, where the address is the FTP site address. Note that ftp:// is not required
5. Under Log on as, click User, and then enter the user name.
6. Under Password, type the password.
7. Click Add to add the site to your list of FTP sites. Configuring this option retains the logon information for publishing to the site.
8. Click OK to close the Add/Modify FTP Locations dialog box.
9. Click Cancel to close the Open Outlook Data File dialog box.
10. On the Tools menu, click Options.
11. On the Preferences tab, click Calendar Options, and then click Free/Busy Options.
12. Click to select the Publish at My Location check box, and then type the fully qualified path of the server on which you will publish your free/busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as http://…, file://\\…, or ftp://…. Free/busy files have the .vfb file name extension. The following is an example of a valid URL format:ftp://Myserver/Freebusy/Myname.vfb

How to View Other People’s Free/Busy Information on the Internet

You can view the free/busy information for any of your contacts that publish this data on the Internet. If all of your contacts store this information on the same free/busy server, you can set the search path for this information globally for all contacts. Or, if the location of this information varies by contact, you can set the search path specifically for each contact.

How to Set the Global Free/Busy Search Path for All Contacts

1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
2. On the Preferences tab, click Calendar Options.
3. Click Free/Busy Options.
4. Click Publish and search using Microsoft Office Internet Free/Busy Service.
5. In the Search locations box type the fully qualified path to the location that you want to search for the free/busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as: http://…, file://\\…, or ftp://….Outlook supports %NAME% and %SERVER% substitutions.

The following is an example of using these substitutions:

ftp://%SERVER%/Freebusy/%NAME%.vfb

In an Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) address, Outlook replaces %NAME% with all the characters before the at (@) symbol and replaces %SERVER% with all the characters following the @ symbol.

6. Click OK three times to close all dialog boxes.

How to Set the Free/Busy Search Path for a Specific Contact

1. In the Contacts folder, double-click to open a Contact.
2. Click the Details tab.
3. Under the text that reads Internet Free-Busy, in the Address box, type the fully qualified path to the location that you want to search for this Contact’s free/busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as: http://…, file://\\…, or ftp://….The following is an example of a valid format:

ftp://Contactserver/Freebusy/Contactname.vfb

Internet free/busy information displays on the Scheduling tab of appointments and meetings.

How to Plan a Meeting Using Internet Free/Busy Information

1. In the Calendar folder, click New Meeting Request on the Actions menu.
2. On the Scheduling tab, type the name of each attendee in the All Attendees box.

Outlook follows the URL path (as previously specified) for the individuals that you invite and automatically inserts their free/busy information in the planner.

Outlook publishes and retrieves free/busy information every 15 minutes by default. You can manually override this time increment by pointing to Send And Receive on the Tools menu, and then clicking Free/Busy Information. This updates the free/busy information immediately.

Web Publishing Wizard 1.6 version works with Microsoft Windows 2000 in some cases, depending on your network configuration. However, it is untested and not supported. The 1.6 version of the wizard can be downloaded from the following Microsoft Web site:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=63c2db9b-c616-46c2-8713-af9bb83c8d89&DisplayLang=en (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=63c2db9b-c616-46c2-8713-af9bb83c8d89&DisplayLang=en)


APPLIES TO
Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition

——————————————–

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article

This article contents is Microsoft Copyrighted material.
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Trademarks

 


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Leave a Reply

*
To prove that you're not a bot, enter this code
Anti-Spam Image