Setting Up a SharePoint Meeting Workspace through Outlook

August 17, 2012 |

[Note: These instructions are for Outlook 2010 and SharePoint 2010.]

Once upon a time I set up a recurring meeting workspace through Outlook.  It was a beautiful thing.  I could use Outlook as usual for managing invites, updates, etc.  However, it involved a bazillion fiddly little steps, including adding one obscure icon to Outlook on a machine I no longer have.  Needless to say, I couldn’t come close to remembering how to recreate.

Then yesterday the day of reckoning arrived.  I had to end that meeting and set up a new one in its place.  I’m happy to say I figured out how to do it, and have done it successfully not once, but twice, in the last 24 hours.

Here, without further ado, are the requisite steps.  I’m not adding illustrations (at least for now) because I don’t have time.

  1. Be sure the people you will invite to the meeting have permission to access the SharePoint site.
  2. Open Outlook and go to your calendar.
  3. Set up a meeting as you normally would (start, end, room, invitees, recurrence) but DO NOT hit the “Send” button.
    1. If you have Communicator or Lync and wish to add a conference call, this is also the time to do this — by clicking the “Online Meeting” in the ribbon.
    2. If you want the workspace URL to be short and without spaces, give the Subject a temporary one word working name.  Later you can go back and change it in both Outlook and SharePoint.
    3. Another tip: if you think you will have to do a lot of fiddling, don’t initially invite people it might confuse.  You can add them later.
  4. At the very top left of Outlook is a row of tiny icons.  Select the last icon — a down arrow.
    1. Choose the “More Commands…” near the bottom of the select box that appears.
    2. Then select “Meeting Workspace” from the left column and click add.
    3. This will add a little icon of three people who appear to be huddling around a mushroom.
  5. Click your new icon.  This will open a pane on the right side of Outlook.
  6. Click on the “Change settings” blue link near the bottom.
  7. The pane changes.  Now for #1 (the set location dropdown) choose “Other…”.
  8. In the pop-up that appears, enter the URL of your SharePoint site or subsite.
  9. Under #2 second option (select a template) choose your preference, e.g. a Decision Meeting Workspace.
  10. Click OK and then Create. This may take a minute or two.  Then…
  11. Voila! A meeting workspace block is embedded in your calendar message area.
  12. It’s ready to go, so hit the “Send” button.

One last thing I like to do in the workspace itself….  Go to “Site Actions,” then “Site Settings” and then click on “Navigation.” For the first item, change to “Display same navigation items as parent.”  In my opinion, it makes for a more integrated site.

P.S. From maybe an hour’s worth of research, I believe it’s impossible to directly associate the SharePoint calendar with a recurring meeting set up in Outlook.  Indirectly, you can set up a mirror version of the meeting in the calendar, including a link to the workspace in the description field.

 

Posted in: SharePoint 2010