Editor's Note: These instructions are applicable to version 8.1.3 and earlier. Calendar sharing was changed in version 8.2.0 to use a SQL server. Click here to see the latest instructions.
VueMinder Pro is capable of securely sharing calendars over a local network. If your office has been looking for a way to easily share calendars, but you don't want to mess with the maintenance and expense of an Exchange server, or the security concerns of sharing via Google Calendar, VueMinder Pro is your solution. After configuring calendar sharing, you'll find the improvements in communication and efficiency will quickly pay for themselves - giving your business the competitive edge it needs in this difficult economy.
It's incredibly easy to configure calendar sharing with VueMinder Pro. The following is a step-by-step guide.
Step 1 - Install VueMinder Pro
Before you can share calendars over a local network, VueMinder Pro (not Lite) will need to be installed on each computer where shared calendars will be accessed or modified. Unlike some other programs, this software does not have separate server/client versions. Simply install VueMinder Pro on your computers. Also, you'll need to ensure all computers are set to the same time of day, within a few seconds. This will ensure events are properly timestamped and synced between computers.
After installing VueMinder Pro and ensuring the computers have the same time of day, continue to the next step.
Step 2 - Identify a Location for Shared Calendar Data
For calendar sharing to work properly, each computer will need to be configured to look at the same shared data folder (more on this later). Before configuring sharing, you'll need to first either create or identify a shared folder that all computers will be able to access. This will typically be a folder on a server or some other shared folder. If you want to share calendars using a folder on your local computer, right-click the folder in Windows Explorer, click Properties, and then go to the Sharing tab to configure the folder for sharing over your local network.
Step 3 - Share to Local Network
In VueMinder Pro, right-click the name of a calendar you'd like to share, and then click the "Share Calendar to Local Network" command from the Share sub menu.
The "Sharing" tab of the "Calendar Properties" window will appear. Click the "Share this calendar to local network" checkbox. Since this is your first shared calendar, you'll be asked to select a shared data location. Luckily, you're following a step-by-step guide, so you already determined the location in Step 2. Browse to that location and then select it by clicking OK. Note, this is the only time you'll be asked for the shared data location on the current computer. If you later need to change the location, this can be done from the Program Options window.
After selecting the shared data location, the Calendar Properties window will appear as shown below. By default, all users on the local network will have "Reader" permission to your shared calendar.
Congratulations, you've shared your first calendar! Yes, that's all there is to it. If you need to change permission levels, continue to the next step. Otherwise, click the OK button and then skip to step 5 to learn how your shared calendar can be accessed from other computers.
Step 4 - Customize User Permissions
By default, all users will have "Reader" access to newly shared calendars. This is the default permission level, but it can be modified, or overridden for individual users. If you don't need to modify permission levels, you can skip to the next step.
Here's a definition of the 3 permission levels provided by VueMinder Pro:
Contributor - The user can add, remove, or modify events belonging to the calendar. Event colors and reminders can be changed and shared with other users. The user can also change the calendar's defaults for new events.
Reader - The user can view events and add personal reminders, but those reminders are not shared with other users. The user can also change event colors, but changes are only on the local computer. Any other changes, such as modifying or deleting an event, will not be allowed.
No Access - The user will not have any access to the calendar. If this is set as the default permission level, nobody else will be able to access the calendar unless overrides are added. If you login to multiple computers, you'll be able to access the shared calendar, but other users will not see it.
To change the default permission level, click the Permission Level value for the "(Everyone)" row, and select the desired value. To override the default permission level for an individual user, enter the user's Windows login name for the User ID, and click the Add button. The user ID will be added to the permissions table, and the permission level can be adjusted as needed. There's no limit to the number of overrides that can be added. Also, if user ID names on your network aren't easily remembered based on the person's real name, you can enter a more descriptive name in the Name column. This name will be shown on other computers, or when assigning permissions for other shared calendars.
In the example below, the default permission level for all users is Reader. Users Michelle, Travis, and Scott have customized permissions that override the default.
When you're done assigning permissions, click the OK button to close the Calendar Properties window.
Step 5 - Add the Shared Calendar to Other Computers
Now that you've defined a shared calendar, it can be added to the calendar list on other computers. This needs to be done first before it will be visible, since there could be many shared calendars and its up to users to pick which shared calendars they want to see in their list. In other words, simple sharing a calendar isn't enough to make it automatically appear on all other computers. However, as with setting up the shared calendar, adding it to the calendar list is quick and easy.
To add a shared calendar to the calendar list, click the aptly named "Add Shared Calendar From Local Network" command on the File menu. If no calendar has been previously shared from the computer, you'll be prompted to select the shared data location. Select the location that was determined in Step 2 and used in Step 3. It's important the same shared folder is selected, otherwise you won't be able to access the shared calendars. If you mess up, or if the shared location ever changes, you can change the shared data folder on the Program Options window.
After selecting the correct shared data location, a list of calendars will be displayed. The list will consist of only calendars the currently logged in user can read or modify, and that haven't already been added to the calendar list. The calendar owner and current user's permission level will be shown. In the example below, Michelle followed steps 1-4 and shared 2 calendars. Dan has reader access to one and contributor access to another.
To add one or more shared calendars to the local calendar list, use the checkmarks. Calendars that are checked will be added after clicking the OK button.
Conclusion and Other Nerdy Info
That's all there is to it. See, I told you it was easy! If you have any questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to help!
If you're curious how this works under the hood, a database is stored in the shared data folder. To preserve the privacy of shared calendars, the contents of the database are encrypted and/or not human-readable. Syncing between computers is automatic and happens whenever a change is made, within 8 seconds. Multiple people can modify the same calendar at the same time, and the database handles all the related concurrency issues. Calendar sharing can also be performed while disconnected from the network, in an "offline mode". Any changes will be timestamped and synced with the network as soon as a connection is restored. Shared calendars, even ones you don't own, will be available while offline.