How do I publish absence calendars for viewing in Outlook or Google Calendar?

SMB allows for absence calendars for all teams, departments and locations to be made available as Internet Calendars, which can be subscribed to and viewed in Outlook, Google and any other software that allows for subscription to ICAL files. ICAL is the universally recognised format for calendar information. In addition, SMB can add ICAL attachments to emails sent to employees when absences are approved, added, edited or removed from the system, allowing them to synchronise their own calendars without needing to subscribe to a group calendar.

Before you subscribe to a calendar, an user with Administration access will need to activate it on your account. To do this, open the "Administration" section by clicking on the "Administration" link on the main menu, then select "Calendar Publishing Settings". On the page that is then shown, you can turn on/off calendar publishing by selecting the appropriate option from the dropdown list and clicking "Save Changes".

If you want SMB to send calendar event invitations to employees when absences are added, edited or removed from the system, you can set this by selecting the appropriate option from the "Include calendar files on emails" dropdown list. Note that this setting does not impact publishing of internet calendars for teams, locations or departments.

You may also select which types of absence to show on calendars published for employees by checking the boxes for the relevant absence and sickness types. In addition, you may also select whether to label each absence type on the calendar or, by hiding the details of the absence type, absences will be shown simply as “Absent”

Once publishing is enabled, you can subscribe to any team/location/department calendar by selecting the "Employees" option on the main menu and then selecting the "Holidays" button alongside the group which you wish to subscribe to. When the schedule is shown, you'll see a link at the top of the page marked "Subscribe to this calendar through Outlook/Google Calendar".

The process of subscribing to the calendar is different between different software products. Depending on your version of Outlook and how it is setup, sometimes you have to manually subscribe to the calendar service (in Outlook 2013, for some reason it will only open a static copy of the calendar from SMB). However, this is quite an easy thing to fix. Here's what you need to do:

  • In SMB, go to the calendar you want to sync to and right-click on the link, then select the copy hyperlink/copy address option from the pop-up menu
  • Then, go to Outlook and open Account Settings from the File menu. When the Account Settings window opens, select the Internet Calendars tab
  • Now click the "New" button and paste the URL you've copied from SMB and click the "Add" button.
  • A "Subscribe Options" dialog box will be shown - give the calendar a name and click OK to add the subscription.

The calendar will now update every time you add/remove an absence from SMB.

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