Using overlays to colorize calendar appointments by category

In SharePoint 2010 the calendar list was tweaked with a new great interactive calendar view. A request often heard is: can you give appointments a different color based on their category? Well actually you can and it’s not even that hard, just a little trick you have to know.

A new feature in 2010 is the overlay function for calendars. This allows you to import other SharePoint or Exchange calendars and display the appointments in your calendar. For each overlay you can choose a color in which the appointments should be displayed. We’ll be using this trick to colorize our own appointments.

Suppose you’ve got three categories: birthday, holiday and other. Follow these steps:

– Create a new view for each one of the categories. Make sure the view only displays the appointments for that category by setting the filters on the view.
– Now add an overlay for each of the views. Enter the correct adress and select your calendar list and the appropriate view. Choose not to display the overlay in each view.
– Now your default view will show each appointment two times; since the overlays load each appointment a second time.
– To prevent this, change the filters of the default view to exclude the categories above. For each category add a category != “Birthday” filter to the view. Replace Birthday with your category name of course.

There it is! Now you can use the overlay configuration to choose the color for each overlay and the appointments will have different colors. You even get a neat legend on the side which displays your overlay names with the color they’ve got. Nice!

Thanks to Christophe at stackexchange for providing this cool solution: http://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/11896/changing-colors-on-calendar-view.

PS: As you can only add 10 overlays, this works for a 10 category maximum. But you’d really have to wonder if you want more then 10 colors in your calendar view anyway.

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