Displaying calendar items on an external calendar including Outlook and Gmail

Professional and Enterprise editions

Within Natural HR, you can create a feed of calendar events for displaying on external calendars such as Outlook or Gmail and so on.

IMPORTANT NOTE

When using this feature there is NO authentication - in effect, this becomes a public calendar. ANYONE who knows your calendar feed address will be able to view items on your calendar. This is not an issue created by us etc - it is simply the way calendar feeds work. The calendar feed created is something which is more or less impossible to guess as we use a 32 character hash for the calendar ID which you can change at any time but, in theory, someone could enter a random 32 character ID and get a match giving them access to your calendar feed.

If you are NOT comfortable with this risk, however small, then please do not use it.

 

Calendar display settings

In Administration > Company > Settings there is an option entitled "Calendar display settings".

calendar_sharing.PNG

When you first access this, there will be no key shown which means your calendar is not being shared.

To share you calendar, you should choose which modules you wish to include in the feed and then click Generate key.

When you do the system will then generate a key which will be displayed in the Calendar key box and, additionally, an extra entry will appear which will show your whole calendar feed URL similar to below:

generated_calendar_key.PNG

There are now two URL's generated which you can use:

Static calendar URL

From here you can either copy the URL or click the copy icon next to the Static calendar URL label and then use this in Outlook, Gmail and so on.

If you use this method, this will be a snapshot i.e. it will show what your calendar looks like at that point in time only - updates, changes, additions etc to the calendar will not be reflected.

Calendar URL

Again you can either copy the URL or click the copy icon next to the Static calendar URL label and then use this in Outlook, Gmail and so on.

If you use this method, this will be an updated calendar which will what your calendar updated every hour - updates, changes, additions etc to the calendar will be reflected and the file updated each hour.

 

Note on regenerating your key

At any time if you choose to regenerate your key (to change modules for example), your old key and file will be revoked immediately but your new file will not be created until the top of the next hour - you may have to wait up to 60 minutes for file to be accessible.

 

Revoke all keys

Should you decide you no longer wish to share your calendar you can choose Revoke all keys - this will delete both your key and the corresponding ICS file from the system immediately.

 

Employee access to their calendar

As well as creating a company wide calendar which you can export, employees can also create a copy of their own calendars. They do so by clicking the drop down next to their name at the top right and selecting Localisation.

From there, the process is the same as above with the only difference being that employees can only select Timeoff and Training.

 

Adding ICS files to common programs

It is beyond the scope of this article to cover how to import an ICS file into Outlook and so on. That said, here are some useful links on how to do this for Outlook and Gmail on external sites (we cannot accept any responsibility for content on external sites):

View and subscribe to Internet Calendars (Outlook) - https://support.office.microsoft.com/en-us/article/View-and-subscribe-to-Internet-Calendars-f6248506-e144-4508-b658-c838b6067597?CorrelationId=4fb7e864-d073-4634-b41c-93a676dfbd98&ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Import or subscribe to a calendar in Outlook.com - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/outlook/calendar-import-vs-subscribe

Import events from iCalendar or CSV files (Gmail) - https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37118?hl=en

Troubleshooting

Calendar entries not being displayed in Google Calendar

Previously, google has been known to not display calendar entries following multiple attempts. If google recognises a link which has been previously imported, it may try to reload the original, failed calendars instead of loading the latest version of the file. 

To rectify this, following the ".ics" at the end of the URL, you will need to to add a '?' followed by a unique string: for example, 

"c64cfe68.ics?randomstring1"

Once this has been imported into Google Calendar, you may need to refresh the page for this to show any calendar entries. 

 

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