Q. Does Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 have any new options or are there any Outlook 2007 add-ons for printing calendars and task lists?

A. Yes, Outlook 2007 offers expanded calendar printing options, and Microsoft released Calendar Printing Assistant, an Outlook 2007 add-on, which provides users with an easy way to customize how their calendars are printed. However, Outlook 2007 printing output is different than its predecessors, and there are a few bugs you should know about. In this article, I'll demonstrate how to set up Outlook 2007 calendar printing, point out some Outlook 2007 calendar printing bugs, and show you how to use the Calendar Printing Assistant to produce professional-looking appointment planner printouts. First I'll take you through Outlook 2007's menus, show you how to customize print styles, and walk you through how to print blank calendars, which you can use in your appointment planner or as a desk blotter.

Printing Outlook 2007 Calendars
There are three ways to open the Outlook 2007 calendar-view Print window: Open the File menu and select Print, click the Print icon in the toolbar, or use the Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut. The Print window, shown in Figure 1, displays several printing options, including the default print styles—Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Tri-Fold, Calendar Details, and Memo—which can be modified by the user. To change the print style, click the Define Styles button to open the Define Print Styles window. The Define Print Styles window has three options for customizing print styles: Copy, Reset, and Edit. The Copy button lets you open an existing style, rename it, and edit it for your printing needs. The Reset button returns edited settings to their default state. The Edit button lets you change the print styles' default settings. Clicking Edit opens the current style's Page Setup window, which is shown in Figure 2.

When editing a print style, I recommend changing the style's name first. In Figure 3, I changed the style name from "Monthly" to "Monthly Report." There are several formatting options to choose from, which will differ depending on the default style you choose to edit, including
  • font types and sizes
  • printing more than one page
  • headers or footers
  • showing notes or task sections
  • choosing the time parameters, such as printing only Monday through Friday for the monthly view
On the Paper tab in the Page Setup window, the printer output can also be formatted to accommodate physical time-management products, such as Day-Timer, Day Runner, and Franklin Day Planner, as shown in Figure 3.

Blank Calendars
Presumably, users print calendars for paper versions of their upcoming appointments and tasks. Through the same process, you can print blank calendars as supplements to your appointment planner or as a desk blotter. To print a blank calendar, create a new folder in Outlook 2007 by opening the File menu, selecting New, and then selecting Folder, or by simply pressing Ctrl+Shift+E. Either procedure opens the Create New Folder window, shown in Figure 4, in which I placed the folder name Template. In the Folder contains drop-down menu, make sure Calendar Items is selected. I chose the main Calendar folder as the location for my new folder. The Template folder will appear as a subfolder of the Calendar folder. Finally, click OK to create a blank calendar. To see the blank calendar, select the check box next the Template calendar under My Calendars. You should see the blank calendar, and any other calendar you selected. You can use any of the formatting options mentioned earlier to customize the blank calendar. Now let's look at the two Outlook 2007 calendar printing bugs I've come across.

Printing Bugs
The first Outlook 2007 calendar printing bug that I came across prevented recurring appointments from printing properly. The only solution Microsoft offers is to print the calendar using the Weekly view (see the Microsoft article at support.microsoft.com/kb/941319). Printing in Weekly view does not correct the problem, it just avoids the problem. The second bug allows only two calendar entries per day to show when you print your calendar using the Monthly format. Microsoft released a hotfix on June 12, 2007, which the company says fixes the problem, as well as other bugs not mentioned in this article. You can download the hotfix from support.microsoft.com/kb/937494. Now that you have a handle on how to print Outlook 2007 populated and empty calendars and know about the Outlook 2007 calendar printing bugs, let's look at how the Calendar Printing Assistant can help your users modify their calendars"?\].

Calendar Printing Assistant
The Calendar Printing Assistant gives you more specific and advanced formatting options than the inherent Outlook 2007 calendar printing features. The Calendar Printing Assistant is a free add-on for Outlook 2007. You can download the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP SP2 version of the Calendar Printing Assistant from www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3F28D5DC-25A4-41BD-9C98-67C47C6CD8FF, and the Outlook 2007 SP1 version from www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=6D4A4E82-171D-4D9F-A32B-9EFEE09B2711. The Windows 2003 and XP SP2 version is a 14.5MB download, and the Outlook 2007 SP1 version is just over 10MB. Installation is simple. The only restriction is that Outlook 2007 must be closed when you install the add-on.

After installing the Calendar Printing Assistant, I expected it to appear in the Outlook 2007 UI, but instead it's a separate application. You can find the add-on by opening the Start menu, and then selecting All Programs, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Tools. To start the Calendar Printing Assistant, you must have Outlook 2007 running. If Outlook 2007 isn't open, the Calendar Printing Assistant will open it with the default profile or will prompt for a profile if Outlook 2007 is configured to ask for a profile when starting. If you downloaded and installed the Outlook 2007 SP1 version of the Calendar Printing Assistant, you can confirm that the Outlook 2007 SP1 update was successful by selecting the Calendar Assistant, About Calendar Toolbar Assistant option under the Help menu. The About Calendar Toolbar Assistant screen should display the text "Microsoft Calendar Printing Assistant for Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 (12.0.6212.1000) MSO (12.0.6213.1000)."

The main Calendar Printing Assistant screen is shown in Figure 5 with the Month with 2 Day Columns default template loaded. The template options are shown in the far-right column and divided into four logical categories—Day, Week, Month, and Year. I think these templates are the Calendar Printing Assistant's most useful feature. They provide numerous formatting options for printing or delivering files with more professional-looking output, such as glossy wall calendars, invitations, business cards, or game schedules. The formatting options can also be used to personalize your printing projects. For example, you could import pictures into a family birthday calendar. The formatting options include colors, fonts, calendar styles, and page setups. You can easily access the formatting options by using the Calendar Printing Assistant's Format menu or the appropriate formatting-tool, toolbar button. The Calendar Printing Assistant's Colors toolbar button is the same as Outlook 2007's All Categories button. Calendars can also be published to the XML Paper Specification (XPS) format developed by Microsoft and supported by numerous printer and imaging companies. A XPS-formatted calendar will resemble a PDF-formatted document. If you format a calendar in XPS and it requires further formatting, you'll need an XPS viewer to do so, which is available at www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/viewxps.mspx. By default, XPS is available with Windows Vista, but requires updates for XP, Windows 2003, and, most importantly, the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0. More XPS information can be found at www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/default.mspx.

The Calendar Printing Assistant works with Outlook if you're using a local PST, online with Exchange Server, or in cached mode. It uses the Outlook profile for accessing data and template rendering. The Calendar Printing Assistant then saves this configuration in its own file format, .calx. The file itself doesn't include Outlook data, only the calendar and template formatting. Outlook 2007 Calendar is referenced as a data source. You must have Outlook 2007 open for the Calendar Printing Assistant to gather the presentation data. When the Calendar Printing Assistant loads, it has read-only access to the Outlook 2007 data. Outlook 2007's calendar items and tasks remain unchanged, which means the Calendar Printing Assistant calendar data isn't portable. It requires the same Outlook 2007 profile with access to the same data store to access and edit your existing calendars.

Distribution
You can push out the Calendar Printing Assistant through normal distribution mechanisms, such as a Group Policy Object (GPO). As an Office 2007 product, it also adds some Microsoft Office Customization Tool (OCT) configuration control, as shown in Figure 6. The OCT lets you deploy the Calendar Printing Assistant with consistent user settings. I recommend deploying the Calendar Printing Assistant for your users as a complement to Outlook 2007. Together, the Outlook 2007 and the Calendar Printing Assistant offer greatly expanded options for producing, viewing, and printing calendars and task lists