Outlook/Zimbra Calendar Connector Private Appointments Issue
For those of you who use Outlook and are thinking about using the Zimbra/Outlook connector, there's some information you may be interested in. This comes from my experience trying to get Outlook to play nice with Zimbra. Hopefully you will be able to avoid some of the effort I went through. This information as of 2007/03/06
The Zimbra calendar does not recognize the Outlook calendar entry "Private" setting. This has the following impact:
The ability to mark Outlook calendar events as "Private" is disabled as soon as you install the Zimbra/Outlook connector.
If you have entries in your Outlook calendar that you have previously indicated as "private", when they are synchronized with the Zimbra calendar they will no longer be tagged as private. Anybody to whom you have given access to your Zimbra calendar (even the lowest level: view) will be able to see all entries. For example, I had entries for dropping the dog off at the groomer, remembering to cancel an account, birthdays, personal flight information, things like that.
ALL of my calendar entries were replicated to the Zimbra calendar, and I had to spend the better part of yesterday afternoon and this morning going through my Zimbra calendar to remove what I would consider the "non-public" entries. The good news is that once they were removed from my Zimbra calendar, they were removed from Outlook calendar. The bad news is that this took a considerable amount of time. And probably even worse news, there is no way to keep your personal appointments and your business appointments co-mingled in a single calendar without your personal appointments showing up in Zimbra. I spoke with Zimbra technical support this morning, and although a "Private" setting at the calendar appointment level is on the product enhancement list, they do not expect it to be available until version 5.5, which is not due out until the end of the year.
You may think to yourself, "self, why don't I just create a second private calendar in Outlook? I'll keep my private items in that in the second calendar and my work items in the main calendar". Well, that's what I thought to myself as well so I created a separate calendar in Outlook put all of my private entries in there and got rid of all my private entries in the main calendar in Outlook. When I came back into Outlook this morning, my secondary calendar had been deleted, and my calendar entries from both calendar were in the remaining calendar, and everything had replicated to Zimbra.
When you hook up the Zimbra/Outlook connector, as part of his Zimbra creating a new Outlook account, Zimbra will create a new Outlook calendar, thereby wiping out all of your old Outlook calendar. Before installing the new Zimbra/Outlook connector (assuming you still do), you will want to back up your current calendar by exporting to a .pst file. That way you can import your calendar entries into the new calendar.
(Using Outlook 2003)