Working with Calendars in Microsoft Teams, including a simple Flow!
One of the top requests we hear from customers using Microsoft Teams is: “Can I add a shared calendar for my Team?”
In short—sort of, but also not really? However, we do have a couple of workarounds. Did you know that when you create a “Team” through Microsoft Teams, a corresponding Outlook Group is also created? Did you also know that the Outlook Group already has a shared calendar available for you to use?
We hope that Microsoft does add this capability natively, since the Team and the Outlook Group are already connected via membership—it just seems like a natural fit, doesn’t it? I would like my Team to be able to check out the “Team calendar”—which could contain a lot of important event information: PTO requests, group outings, or deadlines related to our projects, even!
Workaround #1: Add a Website
If you try to add a tab to any channel within your Team, you will be disappointed to find that Calendar is not one of the options. However, it is possible to link to a Website.
You can use the Website option to link to an Outlook calendar, or to a calendar on SharePoint. For example, if I can find the URL via Outlook on the Web, which corresponds to my Team, then I can copy and paste the URL into Teams.
The URL for Outlook Group calendars typically has this format:
The only real downside to this process is that you will be required to sign-in when browsing to the calendar using that tab. Also, it may overlay your own calendar by default, creating some annoying duplications, so this may not be your favorite option. Still, it’s just one possibility for a workable solution.
Hopefully Microsoft will eventually just add the ability to pull in calendars into Teams soon…in fact, you can go nudge Microsoft on their feedback page if you agree:
Workaround #2: Use a Flow to connect your calendar with Teams
I like this option a lot more, honestly. This instance uses a Flow to post events to the Team channel as they are added, with many variations possible—it’s also highly customizable, a very attractive component. Sign in to https://flow.microsoft.com to get started.
Go to My flows, + New, Create from blank
Your first step is to find the right trigger—search for the word “event,” and find the Office 365 Groups trigger called “When there is a new event.” Notice that you could also add triggers based on your own Outlook events.
Pick your Team from the Group ID field. Now we want to add an action for this trigger. Click New step.
Find the action for Teams called Post message. Pick your Team and Channel from the drop-down menus; then you can customize the body of the message, using dynamic content.
We can write anything we want into the body of the message here, and we can optionally pull information from the dataset referenced by our trigger. For example, you will see that based on the source of the data (an Outlook event), we have certain options available to us under Dynamic content.
This means, for example, that we can pull in the subject and location of the event, as well as the date/time. If you’re so inclined, you can also choose to write in HTML tags, to give your announcement certain formatting. Check out the example below.
Now if we save this very simple two-step flow, the next time we create an event on that Outlook Group calendar….
Cool, huh? This is just one simple example of how we can use Flow to teleport data and notifications between apps in Office 365. You could have formatted this differently, or you could choose to have messages posted to the Team based on different Outlook events/triggers. I encourage you to play around with this a bit, to find a process tailored to your needs.
A third option here might be to create Flow that uses a recurring task which checks for new events at the beginning of each workday, and posts the day’s schedule to the Team. That would be a slightly more complex Flow than what we have built here—I’ll try to figure something like that for next time. Stay tuned.
Looking to achieve more with Microsoft Teams?
Join us for our February Office 365 User Groups, where we’ll go over the fundamentals, demonstrate some unique, hidden features, and explore how different organizations are leveraging one of the most popular and fastest growing applications in Office 365.
One group will be geared towards technical administrators, and one will be formatted for the general end user. More information and registration can be found on our events page.