IT Services



Nexus calendaring using iCal on Snow Leopard


Contents

iCal is the calendaring application preinstalled on every Mac computer as part of Mac OS X. The version of Mac OS X that was released in September 2009, Mac OS version 10.6 also known as Snow Leopard, provides inbuilt support for connecting to Exchange servers. As a result Snow Leopard users are able to use the Oxford Nexus email, shared calendaring and address book facilities from your Mac via the inbuilt applications. So, Mac users who are running Snow Leopard can use Nexus calendaring via iCal on their Mac.

If you have already configured Mail or Address Book to use Nexus the chances are that your iCal application has already been set up for you to use with Nexus. That is because when you add an Exchange account to Mail or Address Book the default behaviour is to also set up the other components that make up the suite of programs that can be used with Exchange at the same time. This can be seen in the Account Summary screen that you get, for example, when configuring Mail (note the "Also set up:" check boxes):

Figure images/macmail-welcome-2.png [Account Summary screen listing account details]

However, if you need to configure iCal to connect to Nexus manually follow the instructions below.



1. Configuring iCal to connect to Nexus

If you have already configured Mail or Address Book to use Nexus the chances are that your iCal application has already been set up for you to use with Nexus. That is because when you add an Exchange account to Mail or Address Book the default behaviour is to also set up the other components that make up the suite of programs that can be used with Exchange at the same time. However, if you need to configure iCal to connect to Nexus manually follow the instructions below.

To configure iCal to connect to Nexus, open the programme, either from the dock or by finding it in the Applications folder. If this is the first time you have opened iCal, the Setup Assistant will start automatically.

Otherwise, you can add a new accounts by clicking on the [Preferences] from the iCal menu, and then clicking the Accounts button on the Accounts window that appears.

Figure images/ical-add-account.png [Adding a new account to iCal]

Click the + at the bottom of the screen to start the process of adding a new account. You will then be taken to a screen that is identical to the initial setup assistant. You need to select [Exchange 2007] from the Account type drop down menu. The screen then prompts you for your Full Name, Email address and Password. The Password you need to enter here is your Single Sign-On password.

Figure images/ical-welcome-1.png [First screen to add an account prompting for name, email address, and password after selecting Exchange 2007 account]

Once you have entered your details, click Create.

Once you have supplied this information iCal will be able to find all the details it needs from the Nexus AutoDiscovery server and the next screen you should see will be an Account Summary screen that confirms the account details.

Figure images/ical-welcome-2.png [Account Summary screen listing account details]

When you click Create, the account will be created on your Mac and you will be returned to the Accounts screen where the details of the newly created account are displayed.

Figure images/ical-completed-account.png [Account screen showing details of newly created account]

You can now simply close this window using the red button in the top left window corner. The new account now appears in the left hand pane of iCal showing Calendar and Tasks.

Figure images/ical-nexus-account.png [Main iCal window showing new Nexus account]

You are now ready to use the Nexus calendaring with iCal. Snow Leopard's inbuilt support for Exchange means that you can also use Mail for your Nexus email and Address Book for your Nexus contacts.



2. Sharing Calendars

Using an Exchange account such as Nexus enables you to share your online calendar with colleagues within the University.

To share your calendar with a colleague, you will need to grant your colleague permission to view your calendar. Since you manage your tasks, or To Do items as they are known in iCal, alongside your calendar you can also grant permission to view your tasks at the same time.

The concept of sharing is different from delegation, which allows others to act on your behalf. However, within iCal the procedures for sharing and delegating are almost identical, and when you add a shared calendar to iCal it will be listed as a delegate. As a general rule of thumb we can think of shared calendars or tasks as being those that you can read but not write, whereas delegated calendars or tasks are those which you can write as well as read, ie you can add new calendars items or To Do items. In other words we can think of sharing as adding a delegate that only has read access.

So, to add permission for another user to view you calendar and/or tasks from the iCal menu click [File], then click [Preferences...], and then click the Accounts button on the Accounts window that appears. Finally select the Delegation button from within the accounts view.

Figure images/ical-adding-delegate-2.png [Screen showing delegation configuration in iCal]

Click the Edit button below at the bottom right hand corner of the window to start the process of adding a new delegate. This will bring up the Manage Account Access Window.

Figure images/manage-account-access.png [Screen showing Manage Account Access window as part of adding a delegate in iCal]

Click the + button in the bottom left hand corner of the window and a new entry will appear in the window and the cursor is placed within the "Name" field for you to start typing the name of the user you wish to add as a delegate. As you type text into the "Name" field a list of possible matches will appear and you can select the correct user from the list.

Figure images/manage-account-access-2.png [Screen showing Manage Account Access with list of possible matches in iCal]

Once you have selected the correct user you will also need to select the permissions you wish to set using the drop down lists in the Calendars and Tasks fields. As we are only sharing in this example we will not be adding a delegate with full read and write access, we only want to allow our colleague to view our calendar and tasks. So, we have set Read Only permissions on both calendar and tasks.

Figure images/manage-account-access-3.png [Screen showing Manage Account Access with delegate permissions being set in iCal]

Once you have set the correct permissions click the Done button to complete the process of adding a delegate.

Figure images/manage-account-access-done.png [Screen showing Manage Account Access with delegate permissions finished in iCal]

This completes the addition of that delegate and you will be returned to the Accounts window. Your colleague will now be able to view your calendar and tasks from their Nexus account.

Private calendar events: Some clients do not fully support private items and your private items may be revealed to those you share your calendar with. Please see the "How private are my private calendar entries?" entry in the Nexus FAQ for more details.



3. Opening Other User's Calendars

As well as being able to share your calendar with colleagues within the University it is also possible for you to open another user's calendar.

To view a colleague's calendar and/or tasks your colleague must first have granted your account permission to read their calendar and/or tasks. As we have already discussed, the concept of sharing is different from delegation, which allows others to act on your behalf. However, within iCal the procedures for sharing and delegating are almost identical, and when you configure iCal to allow you to view another user's calendar it will be listed as a delegate. In other words we can think of viewing another user's calendar as acting as a delegate that only has read access.

From the iCal menu click [File], then click [Preferences...], and then click the Accounts button on the Accounts window that appears. Finally select the Delegation button from within the accounts view.

Figure images/ical-delegates-empty.png [Screen showing delegation configuration in iCal]

Click the + below the "Accounts I can access:" window to start the process of adding a new account that you wish to act as a delegate for. A new entry appears in the "Accounts I can access:" window and the cursor is placed within the "Users" field for you to start typing the name of the user whose account you will be accessing. As you type text into the "Users" field a list of possible matches will appear and you can select the correct user from the list.

Figure images/ical-adding-shared.png [Searching for correct user to act as a delegate for in iCal]

Once you have selected the correct user the delegate entry is completed and you will be able to see the permissions that the user has granted to your account. In this example the owner of the Ylva account is simply sharing their calendar and so has granted permissions to read their calendar and their tasks.

Figure images/ical-shared-added.png [Screen showing recently account to act as a delegate for in iCal]

If you add a user account that you wish to act as a delegate for before that user has added you as a delegate within their account the account entry will appear greyed out and no permissions will be displayed.

To see the shared calendar or tasks in your main iCal window you will also need to tick the check box labelled "Show" at the start of the entry. Ticking this box means that you will see a new Delegates section within the left hand pane of your main iCal window that list all the accounts that have been delegated to or shared with you.

Figure images/ical-shared-shown.png [Left hand pane in main iCal window showing list of delegates]

Finally, you can close the Accounts window by using the red cross button in the top left hand corner of the window.



4. Uploading events from your local calendar

If you have previously used iCal to keep an electronic calendar on your computer, it is likely that it contains events you might like to transfer to the calendar on the Exchange server, ie Nexus. You may be using iCal with several calendars within it, perhaps one for home and one for work. In fact it may make sense for you to transfer all of your local calendars onto the server so that you can access them wherever you are.

To transfer the contents of any local calendar onto the Nexus server you will need to export each of your local calendars and then import them into your Nexus account. The good news is that you can perform all of these tasks from within iCal.

The first step is to export the local calendar. In iCal select the name of the calendar that you wish to export from the Calendars section in the left hand pane. In this example we will export the local Work calendar:

Figure images/ical-select-local-calendar.png [Calendar view showing local calendar selected]

Once you have selected the correct calendar go to the iCal menu and select [File], then [Export...], followed by [Export].

Figure images/ical-export-calendar.png [Selecting the option to export a local calendar in iCal]

This will bring up a window that allows you to specify where the export file will be saved and what it will be called. You should save the file to a location that you will be able to find easily for the next step. We have saved the file on the Desktop and we have accepted the suggested filename of Work which matches the original name of the local calendar.

Figure images/ical-export-calendar-2.png [iCal window for specifying the filename and location for the calendar being exported]

Once you have specified the filename and location click the Export button to perform the export. In this example the exported file appears on the Desktop as Work.ics.

Now we have to import that file into a calendar within your Nexus account. It is possible to create more than one calendar within your Nexus account but it is only the main Exchange calendar that is used to reflect availability and updated invitations and invitee responses. So, in this example we will import the local Work calendar into our main Exchange calendar. (Of course you may wish to import a local Home calendar into a calendar on Nexus that is separate from the main calendar as availability and invitations may not be relevant to this calendar. In this case you will need to create the new destination calendar under your Nexus account before going through the Import process below.)

Select your main Exchange calendar for the import by selecting Calendar within your Nexus account where it appears in the left hand pane.

Figure images/ical-select-main-nexus-calendar.png [Calendar view showing main Nexus calendar selected]

Once you have selected the correct calendar go to the iCal menu and select [File], then [Import...], followed by [Import..].

Figure images/ical-import-calendar.png [Selecting the option to import a calendar in iCal]

The next window to appear is the "iCal: Import" window and this allows you to browse for the file to import. In our example we saved our exported calendar file to the Desktop so use the browser to locate the correct file and click the Import button to start the import.

Figure images/ical-import-calendar-2.png [iCal Import window allowing user to browse for a calendar file to import]

The import process will pop up an "Add events" window that prompts you to select the destination calendar from a drop down menu. To import the events into your main Exchange calendar make sure you select Calendar from the list, if you want to import into a different calendar as discussed previously you will need to select the name of the calendar that you have already created to receive the events from your exported local calendar.

Figure images/ical-import-calendar-3.png [iCal Add events window prompting user to select the destination calendar for the import process]

Click the OK button to import the events into the selected destination calendar. Once the process is complete you will see the new events appear in your Nexus calendar.

Figure images/ical-all-calendars.png [iCal window showing the successful import of events from a local calendar to the main Nexus calendar]

If you wish to import events from more than one local calendar you will need to perform the export and then import process for each of your local calendars in turn.



5. Scheduling meetings

Nexus calendaring not only allows you to schedule meetings easily but it also allows you to see when your colleagues are free to make scheduling those meetings even easier. Using iCal with Nexus means that you can add appointments to your calendar in the same way that you have always added appointments in iCal with the additional functionality that you can invite people to your appointments and check their availability.

To schedule a meeting follow the instructions below:

In your main iCal window make sure that you have your Nexus account selected in the left hand pane. Next bring up the new appointment window either by double clicking on the required date in the calendar view or via the menu system by clicking [File] then [New event]. Now fill in the required information for the appointment such as the title for the appointment and the date, time, and duration along with any other relevant information such as location and any notes.

Figure images/ical-new-appointment.png [The new appointment window in iCal]

Once you have filled in all the details that you would normally fill in to add an event to your calendar you can invite your colleagues to the meeting by clicking the Add invitees link. This will open a text field in place of the link with the cursor placed within this "invitees" field for you to start typing the name of the user you wish to invite. As you type text into the "invitees" field a list of possible matches will appear and you can select the correct user from the list.

Figure images/ical-inviting.png [The new appointment window showing adding an invitee to an appointment in iCal]

Once the correct user has been selected that user account is shown as an added invitee to this appointment along with a link to "Available Meeting Times..".

Figure images/ical-inviting-2.png [The new appointment window showing the added invitee to an appointment in iCal]

To check that your invitee is available for this appointment click the "Available Meeting Times.." link which will bring up a pop up "Availability" window that shows the availability for all parties of the meeting, ie the organizer and all invitees.

Figure images/ical-checking-availability.png [The iCal availability window showing the availability of all parties involved in a meeting in a grid format]

If the availability window shows that some parties are unavailable you can use the navigation arrows to step through the calendar to find a more suitable time or you can click the Next Available Time button to allow the application to find this for you. Once you have settled on a meeting date that you are happy has the required availability you can click the Done to close the availability window and return to the new appointment window. If you have changed the meeting date from the original date that you selected this new date will now be reflected in the new appointment window.

Figure images/ical-completed-appointment.png [A completed iCal new appointment window ready to send invitations]

Finally, click the Send button to send the meeting invitations. The meeting request will now be sent to your colleagues and the appointment will be added automatically to your calendar.



6. Where next?

Now that you have seen how to use Nexus calendaring with iCal you may like to have a look at some other Nexus features:

If you have any problems, in the first instance you should contact your local (College or Department) IT staff. If they cannot help then please contact the OUCS Help Centre for further assistance.