Importing to Calendar from iCal file

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
swigginton
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Importing to Calendar from iCal file

Postby swigginton » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:34 pm

After spending several days between multiple people, we're about ready to give up on working with the calendar. Here's our dilemma:

We created the calendar in an external application, so it could be formatted for commercial printing with our stake directory. The calendar was exported to an iCal file. This file loads perfectly into Google Calendar, so the structure appears to be correct. However, loading into the calendar on LDS.org, we are running into a couple of significant problems:
1) All day events appear across 2 days, instead of a single day.
2) Multi-day events start and end one day early.
3) Locations do not import.

After much trial and error and searching the forum, we discovered that there is a bug when importing all-day events. This appears to be a time zone issue.
We were able to work around that by manually editing the iCal file and shifting the all-day event dates to compensate for the bug. So, that takes care of #1 and #2 above.

We are now stuck on #3. The calendar locations do not seem to be importing, even though they are included in the iCal file. The locations import correctly in Google Calendar. There are far too many events to edit the locations manually. If we can't resolve this issue, we'll probably give up and try the online calendar next year. Any other suggestions that might get us further along in this process? Has anyone had success with importing their entire calendar from an iCal file?

Thanks!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:37 am

I seriously doubt that the calendar supports importing the locations. iCal tends to treat locations as a text fields, but in the calendar system, it has to be matched to defined objects.

Looking at the iCal that's exported from the system, it only gives the building location and not the rooms which would be needed for any kind of successful import.
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swigginton
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Postby swigginton » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:06 am

RussellHltn wrote:I seriously doubt that the calendar supports importing the locations. iCal tends to treat locations as a text fields, but in the calendar system, it has to be matched to defined objects.


I think you may be right. It seems like the import should use a defined location, when a match exists. If there is no match, the location could be imported into a free-form location, since that's permitted in the online calendar. Nearly all of the locations in our calendar are simply building names (Stake Center, Temple Hill, the name of another stake, etc.), so for us, a free-form location would work fine in most cases.

As a workaround for this year, we're going to write a macro that appends the location in parenthesis to the event name in the iCal file. At least that will make the information available.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:32 am

swigginton wrote:As a workaround for this year, we're going to write a macro that appends the location in parenthesis to the event name in the iCal file. At least that will make the information available.


Note, however, that simply making the location information available is helpful in terms of informing people where events occur, but will do nothing to prevent scheduling conflicts going forward (as events are added or changed throughout the year). In order to prevent scheduling conflicts, you have to select actual locations, and actual rooms within those locations, for each event that uses a building.

I don't know what commercial application you used, and clearly it's too late for this year to make a change, but in the future, I wonder if it would work out better to do all your scheduling in the lds.org calendar, and then export it from the lds.org calendar as an iCal file, which you then import into the commercial application for printing purposes.
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swigginton
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Postby swigginton » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:51 am

aebrown wrote:...in the future, I wonder if it would work out better to do all your scheduling in the lds.org calendar, and then export it from the lds.org calendar as an iCal file, which you then import into the commercial application for printing purposes.


Yes, that's the approach we're looking at for next time. Hopefully, we'll have better success. Thanks!

cbrown11
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How to delete items imported to Ical from the LDS calendar

Postby cbrown11 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:28 am

My first time asking a question, I hope I am doing it correctly. I imported the church calendar to my Ical which saved a lot of time typing but on my Ical it says the imported calendar won't allow me to delete items that I don't want on my personal calendar. Isn't there some way to take some of these items off? Thank you

sharpep
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I have the same problem

Postby sharpep » Sat May 19, 2012 10:13 pm

I just wanted to state that I read this thread with interest because I had exactly the same problems and for exactly the same reasons. However, I have noted recently that issues 1 & 2 seem to have been resolved.

I had given up using the lds.org calendar, but I am under pressure from members to make this available. I will probably use the suggestion of using a macro to put the location information into the title. Any chance that you can share the macro and that it will work with outlook 2007?

I also want to say that from what I can see there is a use case missing for the Calendar. Going through the process of defining the calendar for the next year. This requires me to publish multiple versions to the Stake Council before we go live. I find that I can do this quite easily using Outlook and then I can transfer the events into the live calendar. I cannot do that easily with lds.org calendar and I cannot even import the output of outlook into lds.org calendar without losing information.

So please find a way to make it possible to import location information, even if it means that I have to specify the location in a specific format, e.g. <LOCATION>;<RESOURCE>

Also, I think that the scheduling feature is unnecessary for our relatively small stake and add unnecessary administrative burden on the units leaders. Can it not be switched off so that only LOCATION is required.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun May 20, 2012 5:00 am

sharpep wrote:I had given up using the lds.org calendar, but I am under pressure from members to make this available.


The LDS.org calendar gives you features no other calendar can possibly give you -- integration with other parts of LDS.org (Leader Resources), and security for all under the control of LDS Account. So I would highly recommend that you use it.

sharpep wrote:I also want to say that from what I can see there is a use case missing for the Calendar. Going through the process of defining the calendar for the next year. This requires me to publish multiple versions to the Stake Council before we go live.


In our stake, we simply use the live calendar for the next year's planning. For example, as we were planning 2012 in October of 2011, we just put events throughout 2012 as needed. We let the stake and ward leaders know that we were doing this, and told them not to rely on anything they saw in 2012 until we gave them the word that it had been approved.

By doing that, we had location/room information on our events from the very beginning, and in some cases we had to work out resource conflicts to begin with. We were able to use the repeating event features of the calendar as well, which an import process typically doesn't do very well.

sharpep wrote:So please find a way to make it possible to import location information, even if it means that I have to specify the location in a specific format, e.g. <LOCATION>;<RESOURCE>


For those who do use the import, that would be a nice addition.

sharpep wrote:Also, I think that the scheduling feature is unnecessary for our relatively small stake and add unnecessary administrative burden on the units leaders. Can it not be switched off so that only LOCATION is required.


That's already possible. When you set up a location, there's an option to "Treat this location as a single room." If you do that, you'll only be able to specify a location. Of course, that means that it is then impossible to have one event in the Primary room at the same time there is an activity in the cultural hall, but it can be done. Without going all the way to treating the location as a single room, you can specify as few rooms as you want -- you may find it works well for you to specify just 4 rooms for some locations, for example. It's very flexible that way.
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swigginton
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Postby swigginton » Sun May 20, 2012 7:45 am

sharpep wrote:Any chance that you can share the macro and that it will work with outlook 2007?

Rather than using a macro, we decided to import the file into Excel and then manipulate the location using excel functions to create the resulting strings for import into lds.org. It worked, but was a hassle. Next year, we'll try building the calendar in lds.org first.

bishophanna
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Any way to import only specific events on a calendar and not the whole calendar?

Postby bishophanna » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:13 pm

Is the ability to import only specific events and not all items on a calendar a current feature? If not, can I suggest it for future updates? It is a nice feature of Google calendars that would be helpful. Oftentimes the calendar is just full of items that I don't want to import and it would save time to have a specifc calendar item export quickly to my google calendar.

Thank you.


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