I got an email from Microsoft today (Office Insider) that included an article about how to add a calendar to Outlook that would give you the March Madness schedule in Outlook as an example of publicly shared calendars.
So I figured Microsoft probably wouldn’t have reinvented the wheel here and tried clicking the link in the article to see if it would fire up iCal.
Turns out that the URI in the link was very slightly different than a standard iCalendar, so instead of the normal “webcal://” it starts with “webcals://”, which interestingly enough tried to fire up Outlook (in my Windows virtual machine).
Luckily this URI isn’t yet associated with a particular app, so I was able to click on the “Choose an Application” button and pick the iCal application.
Once iCal is chosen, the dialog box shows both Microsoft Outlook and iCal:
After choosing the iCal application, and clicking “OK”, iCal fires up with a dialog asking you to enter the URL of the calendar you wish to subscribe to, with the URI from the web page showing:
Now clicking “Subscribe” of course doesn’t work, since iCal has no idea what to do with “webcals” as a URL.
So to fix this, you have to modify the URI to be either “webcal://” or “http://” (turns out “https://” works as well).
So even though the URI is not quite the standard webcal one, it is possible to open as a web calendar with iCal, and the same trick works for Google Calendar. Just copy the URI from the link in the page (webcals://calendars.office.microsoft.com/pubcalstorage/9rc05lhz2204226/2011_NCAA_March_Madness_Calendar_Calendar.ics) by right clicking and copying the link:
Going to my Google calendar, I then click the little “Add” button at the bottom of the “Other Calendars” area, and choose “Add by URL”.
Since it’s already a public calendar, I didn’t check that box, although I’m thinking that makes it a public calendar on Google, which might make it easy to find with Google. At any rate, now the calendar shows up for me both on iCal and Google (obviously it would work in Outlook as well had I followed the original link).