E-mail, Calendar, and Contacts
SBS 2008 includes Exchange 2007, which provides E-mail, Calendar, and Contact functionality. This is available through Outlook, over the Web via Outlook Web Access and on mobile devices. If the user makes a change to one, it will be replicated to Exchange and then to the other locations. How to access from the other locations will be covered later in this article.
I'm going to presume that you understand how to send and read email and create and use contacts, but I will share some useful scenarios that many small businesses benefit from, but don't always understand are present in SBS 2008. Some of these will rely on Office 2007 with Outlook, while others can be seen via the web-based interface too. The scenarios are:
- Viewing your calendar and other people's calendars
- Scheduling a meeting for multiple people and ensuring their diaries are all free for the time period
- Telling people when you are going to be away or unavailable
- Finding emails that have been filed
- Recovering emails that have been deleted and removed from the deleted items folder
All of the actions in this section are carried out on a user's computer, logged in as that user. Only where SBS 2008 is explicitly mentioned, is there an action that is carried out on the server.
Outlook 2003 and 2007 connection configuration
To configure Microsoft Outlook 2007, you should simply have to open Outlook as it should auto-configure itself. Outlook 2003 will require configuring, but I'm only going cover the important sections here. For full instructions, click on the link How do I use Outlook Anywhere, on the Remote Web Workplace main screen.
The links on Remote Web Workplace point to addresses that begin with https://sites/..., which is not accessible from outside the SBS 2008 network. This should be changed to https://remote.yourdomain.co.uk/... as described later in this article. If this has not been done and a user needs access to the information, then they can edit the address in their browser replacing the first part of the URL as described above.
If you need to manually configure Outlook, you will need to select the server as an Exchange server. The name of the Microsoft Exchange Server is the name of your SBS 2008 server. In the following screenshot, the name of my SBS 2008 server is davidoverserver and this is entered into the Microsoft Exchange Server section, along with the User Name of the user I am logged in as on their computer.
You can either click on Next to finish the settings, or if this is a laptop or a machine that may access SBS 2008 from a remote location, click on More Settings. Click on the Connection tab and then put a check mark in the Connect to my Exchange mailbox using HTTP check box. Finally, click the button Exchange Proxy Settings. Once the proxy settings are open, you will need to type in the remote access URL for your server and also check the Mutually authenticate the session when connecting with SSL, and then enter the name of your remote access server, preceded by msstd:.
Clicking on OK will enable you to finish the configuration.
Once these changes have been enabled, Outlook will connect to the network without any further action—provided you have an Internet connection, and should work offline until it gets an Internet connection.
SBS 2008 provides each user a calendar that they can use to manage their diary and which they can choose to share with colleagues if they desire. The level of details shared can be from very basic free and busy time slots through to enabling someone else to have the ability to see and change the diary.
This availability of information does concern some users, which is why they can also mark any appointment as private and no details will be shared with others, even if the calendar has been fully shared.
Outlook on the desktop enables access to both your and other's calendars, while Outlook and Windows Mobile devices offer much less, if any, access to other people's calendars. I will only describe each task from Outlook in this section, and will provide more information on using Outlook Web Access later in this article.
Start Outlook from the Start menu. Once Outlook has loaded, click on the Calendar button or go to the Go menu and select Calendar from the menu.
You will see your calendar displayed, normally in the Day format with today showing. In the example below, you can see the padlock for the private appointment that others can't see, two normal appointments, and the tentative appointment that is not confirmed at 17:00.
To open another person's calendar, click the Open a Shared Calendar link on the lefthand side and then type in the name of the person whose calendar you want to see. If you have permission to view their calendar, you will see both calendars side by side as follows:
If you do not have permission and you are running Outlook 2007, you will be prompted to send an email requesting permission. The email will look like this:
If the person receiving this email has Outlook 2007, they simply click on Accept to enable you to view the calendar.
If you or they have an earlier version of Outlook, then the person whose calendar you want to view will need to carry this task out by hand. To do this, get that individual to open Outlook and then their Calendar and right-click on Calendar under My Calendars and then select Properties from the menu. When the properties appear, go to the Permissions tab and either add the user and assign specific permission, or to make life easier, simply set the default access to reviewer.
You can now view both your and other's calendars to identify opportunities to meet. You can open more than one other person's calendar, but things can get confusing with so many open.
With Office 2007, you can overlay the calendars by clicking the arrow next to someone's name. For all versions of Outlook, you close a calendar by removing the check mark next to their name in the lefthand navigation pane.
Using Calendars to schedule a meeting
Add appointments to your calendar by clicking on the time (when you want the appointment to start) shown on the lefthand side, and then dragging your mouse to select the time period. Right-click the selection and choose New Appointment to block the time in your diary.
You then fill out the details of the appointment, ensuring that the Subject, Location, and Start time and End time are all correct. I normally also put in some details in the pane below so I know why I am meeting and what the agenda is.
To send this to other people without viewing their calendars, click on the Invite Attendees button and add their email addresses.
If you need to schedule people from your own business whose calendars you do have access to, click on the Scheduling Assistant button on the ribbon bar. This will enable you to see if others are free or busy during the planned timing. You can see in this example that Kate has given us the ability to see more details from her calendar than David.
To get back to the appointment, click on the Appointment button and you will now see that the To button and list have been provided. If you had clicked on the Invite Others button, then you would not have been shown other calendars, but you would have the option to invite others by adding their email addresses to the To list.
To send this to the list of people who you want to attend, click the Send button. They will then either accept, decline, or tentatively accept your request.
Telling others when you are unavailable
The Out of Office Assistant is not a calendar feature; however, setting expectations as to when you might be able to respond is a good business practise. Whether you are going to be in a deep planning meeting, on holiday, or just very busy telling people what to expect sets the correct level of expectation and often leads to more satisfied customers and colleagues. You can also tell them who to contact in the interim.
To access the assistant, go to the Tools menu in the person's Outlook and select Out of Office Assistant. You can then set up the message, when it should start and stop, and if desired, any rules. Once you have completed this, click OK.
This can also be configured using Outlook Web Access.
Finding information using search
I used to find myself filing everything in Outlook, but then trying to find it was a difficult task, especially if I was searching for the information in a different location to where I filed it. Now, Outlook has Instant Search, which can search across all folders in Outlook in a second or two. To use it, type a few key words into the search box and it will search the current folder.
To search with greater granularity, click on the double arrow to the right of the search window and the drop-down query builder will appear. Typing in any of those text boxes will refine the search.
Finally, if you do want to search all folders rather than just the current one, click the link Try searching again in All Mail Items.
User email recovery
Being asked to recover something from a backup is a slow process for the administrator and user. However, as a user, you can recover deleted items without having to ask anyone to get involved.
When you delete an item, it is placed into the Deleted Items folder. If you then empty your Deleted Items folder, it appears to have gone; however, you can recover these items for another 30 days by going to the Tools menu and selecting Recover Deleted Items. This will show you all the mail items that were permanently deleted from that folder. For most situations, this means you must be in the Deleted Items folder before you go to the Tools menu. You will then be presented with a list of items that you can mark for recovery by selecting them and clicking on the button with the picture of the envelope and an arrow on it. The emails will be restored back to the folder they were deleted from, so normally the deleted items folder again.
You users will gain benefits from professional email, calendars, and contacts using Exchange 2007 with Outlook, over the Web or on a mobile phone. This level of connection anywhere often enables significant business benefit by itself. In Part 2, we will discuss File Management and Remote access to the server, network, and services functionality provided by SBS 2008.