OL2000: (IMO) How to Use the Internet Free/Busy Feature

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 196484 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q196484
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

NOTE: These procedures only apply if you have installed Outlook with the Internet Mail Only option. To determine your installation type, click About Microsoft Outlook on the Help menu. If you have the Internet Mail Only option installed, you see "Internet Mail Only".

For information about the differences between Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Outlook Express e-mail clients, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
257824 OL2000: Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page

Summary

Internet Free/Busy (IFB) is a feature of Microsoft Outlook that allows users to see when others are free or busy and thus to more efficiently schedule meetings. Internet Mail Only (IMO) users have the option to publish their free/busy information to a user-specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL) file server. One 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:
  • Publishing Free/Busy Information to the Internet
  • Viewing Other People's Free/Busy Information on the Internet
  • Setting the Global Free/Busy Search Path for All Contacts
  • Setting the Free/Busy Search Path for a Specific Contact
  • Planning a Meeting Using Internet Free/Busy Information

More information

NOTE: Before you can publish your Free/Busy information to the Internet, you must install the Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 Web Publishing Wizard add-on component. For details on installing this add-on, see the "References" section in this article.

Publishing Free/Busy Information to the Internet

Follow these steps to publish your Free/Busy information on the Internet so that others can see your availability for meetings and appointments:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. On the Preferences tab, click Calendar Options.
  3. Click Free/Busy Options.
  4. Click to select "Publish my free/busy information."
  5. In "Publish at this URL," type the fully qualified path to the server on which your Free/Busy information is to be published. You can use any valid URL format, such as: "http://...", "file://\\...", or "ftp://..." For example:

    ftp://Myserver/Freebusy/Myname.vfb
    Free/Busy files have an extension of .vfb

    NOTE: For servers with Anonymous Login disabled for FTP, users must use the following URL format to allow login when publishing:

    ftp://User:Password@ftp.domain.com/Usersfolder/Freebusy/Myname.vfb

    where User is the username of the account and Password is the password associated with the account.
  6. Click OK, OK, and OK to close all dialog boxes.

Viewing Other People's Free/Busy Information on the Internet

You can view the Free/Busy information for any of your Contacts who 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.

Setting 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 to select "Publish my free/busy information."
  5. In "Search at this URL" type the fully qualified path to the location you would like to search for Free/Busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as: "http://...", "file://\\...", or "ftp://..."

    Outlook supports %NAME% and %SERVER% substitutions.

    For example:

    "ftp://%SERVER%/Freebusy/%NAME%.vfb" (without the quotation marks)

    In an SMTP address, Outlook will replace %NAME% with all the characters before the at (@) symbol and replace %SERVER% with all the characters following the @ symbol.
  6. Click OK, OK, and OK to close all dialog boxes.

Setting 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. In "Internet Free-Busy Address," type the fully qualified path to the location you would like to search for this Contact's free/busy information. You can use any valid URL format, such as: "http://...", "file://\\...", or "ftp://..."

    For example:

    "ftp://Contactserver/Freebusy/Contactname.vfb" (without the quotation marks)
Internet Free/Busy information is displayed on the Attendee Availability tab of Appointments and Meetings.

Planning a Meeting Using Internet Free/Busy Information

  1. In the Calendar folder, on the Actions menu, click New Meeting Request.
  2. On the Attendee Availability tab, type the name of each attendee in the All Attendees list.
Outlook follows the URL path (as specified above) for the individuals 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.

References

Before you can publish your Free/Busy information to the Internet, you must have installed the Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 Web Publishing Wizard add-on component and carefully followed the steps in the following articles to establish the URL file server.

For information about how to add the Microsoft Web Publishing Wizard component in Internet Explorer 5.0, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

171229 How to Add and Remove Internet Explorer Components
Web Publishing Wizard 1.6 version works with Windows 2000 in some cases, depending on the network configuration. However, it is untested and not supported. The 1.6 version of the wizard can be downloaded from:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=63c2db9b-c616-46c2-8713-af9bb83c8d89
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Properties

Article ID: 196484 - Last Review: October 24, 2013 - Revision: 1.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbdownload kbhowto KB196484

Give Feedback

 

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com