How to push company events and holidays to the Outlook calendar of all Exchange users.

Exchange Group Calendar has a number of interesting features, one of them being the ability for users with administrative permissions to distribute items from a group calendar to a personal user calendar in Outlook.  As such it can be a great tool for corporate event management without anyone having to accept an invitation. Simply push the events and holiday that you want people to see in Outlook directly to their calendar (with or without a reminder).

For this to work, the Outlook calendars of the users must be set up as a member of at least one group calendar. To distribute a holiday date or (company wide) event to all the users' personal calendars one only has to create a new item in the group calendar with in the subject an astrix (press shift and 8 : *)
The item with the * in it will then be copied to all outlook users who are members of that particular group calendar.

Even while multiple users will see the event item / holiday date in their Outlook calendar, in the group calendar there will only be one item visible.
The event organizer can change or delete that item and that change will again replicate to all members of that group calendar.

Once you have the event publishing going and a new user is added to the software for whom you want the already published events to apear in their calendar do this:

- add the new user as a member to the group calendar
- from the list with users' email addresses (top right list) select one user that was already there
- at the bottom select "import only selected users"
- set the "import number of days in the past to zero
- set the "import number of days in the future" to 365 for a full year
- click "start import" button and after a while the new user will have the events in their calendar as well. 

Dedicated group calendars for events or holidays

Although not required, it can be quite useful to create separate Group Calendars for event scheduling and corporate holidays. Because users can be a member of multiple group calendars this is a great way to structure the different types of items in your group calendars. By setting filters on other group calendars one can prevent holidays and events to show up in other calendars where they are not needed keeping things well structured.

Holiday / leave -request approval

Assigning a moderator to a holiday calendar will transform a holiday calendar into a holiday request application. Users simply post their holiday requests in their personal Outlook calendar. The software automatically sends the request to the (HR) person responsible for review and the result will be posted back to the item in the calendar of the user who requested the holiday.