Dec
15

I posted earlier today about synchronizing an Entourage calendar to other macs and to my iPhone. Well, I've found what I believe is a better solution though not free. Spanning Sync is software made specifically for synchronizing your calendars and address books across multiple macs. What's nice about this solution is you only need Spanning Sync on your computers and nothing on your iPhone. This solution does assume you're already using MobileMe for calendar syncing. The problems I mentioned earlier, namely Calgoo Connect crashes and calendar changes not filtering back to Entourage, are not present with this setup.

To get started, download Scanning Sync from http://spanningsync.com and then follow the steps below.

  1. First, you need to get your Entourage 2008 calendar into iCal. Microsoft doesn't like to play well with others (are you surprised?) so you must use iCal as sort of a calendar proxy to all the other places you'd like it to live. Turn on iCal syncing in Entourage by accessing Preferences -> Sync Services and choosing Synchronize events and tasks with iCal and .Mac
  2. Wait a minute or two for all your data to be created in iCal and then launch iCal to ensure it's all there properly. The new iCal calendar should be called Entourage.
  3. In order to get your calendar to all the places it needs to go we're going to use Google Calendar. Create a new calendar in Google called whatever you want (I chose the name Entourage)
  4. Create a new Google calendar. In my case I called it Entourage
  5. Install Spanning Sync. After I completed the last installation step, Spanning Sync launched automatically. If for some reason it doesn't launch for you, the software is located in a preference pane in System Preferences -> Other -> Spanning Sync
  6. Press the Sign In button and enter your Google account info
  7. Press the Calendars tab and pair your local iCal Entourage calendar with your new Google calendar
  8. Wait for your local iCal data to sync to your Google calendar with Spanning Sync
  9. If you have another mac computer (like I do) you can install Spanning Sync on it and walk through the same configuration steps. On any additional computers, you'll need to create an empty iCal calendar before pairing it with your Google calendar. You have to have a place for all those meetings to go you know!
After going through the steps above I had my work Macbook Pro syncing the Entourage calendar to iCal. I had the iCal calendar syncing to a Google calendar also called Entourage. On my person Macbook Pro I created an empty iCal calendar called Entourage and directed that calendar to sync with the Google Entourage calendar. All syncing is handled by Spanning Sync. An added bonus of setting up the calendar syncing on my personal Macbook Pro is the Entourage iCal calendar is automatically synced with my iPhone via MobileMe. No additional setup or configuration (i.e. Nueva Sync) was necessary. MobileMe sees I have a new calendar and sets it up appropriately on my iPhone within minutes. Nice!

To test all this calendar goodness out I went through the following steps:
  1. Add a new event to personal Macbook Pro iCal Entourage calendar
  2. Check Google Entourage calendar to see if the event showed up. It did, really quick in fact
  3. Check iPhone to see if the event showed up. It does, relatively fast with automatic MobileMe syncing
  4. Check work Macbook Pro to see if the event showed up in iCal. It does, but it took a while due to the default 1 hr sync interval of Spanning Sync
  5. Check Entourage for the event. I was really surprised to see the event. My previous assumption that Entourage / iCal syncing was one way was incorrect
  6. Caveats: Event alerts only made it to my iPhone (MobileMe gets the thanks for this) and not my work Macbook Pro, Entourage, or Google calendar. This is okay if new events are created on either Macbook, directly in iCal. Events created in Entourage will not have built-in alerts when they make it to iCal or iPhone unfortunately.
  7. Perform additional testing by deleting the event on the iPhone
  8. Check Google Entourage calendar to see if event is gone. It was.
  9. Check personal Macbook Pro iCal Entourage calendar to see if the event is gone. It was
  10. Check work Macbook Pro to see if the event is gone from iCal. It was.
  11. Check work Macbook Pro to see if the event is gone from Entourage. It was.
In summary, Spanning Sync gets the nod as the best and most simple way to get calendar data from Entourage to just about anywhere else you need it. The software footprint is minimal as it uses a simple OS X preference pane and it doesn't create any strain on your system. If you can afford $25/year or $65 for a one-time lifetime licensing fee, I recommend you go with Spanning Sync.

Aaron West's Gravatar
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This entry was posted by Aaron West on December 15, 2008 at 11:00 AM. It was filed in the following categories: Productivity, Mobile & Devices, iPhone, MobileMe, Mac. It has been viewed 14127 times and has 0 comments.

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