Today I discovered that I could send an appointment from Outlook to someone running Mail.app, and integrate it into iCal just as if someone had sent me a double-clickable iCal attachment.
I’ve been doing some work at work trying to learn how to send, from a script, an email with an appointment request attached to it so that if you receive it with an Outlook client, it’ll show up as an appointment request, and give you those nice set of Accept/Tenative/Decline buttons across the top. What I had learned was that the appointment details were encoded in the iCalendar format.
Over the course of my investigation, I sent an appointment email to my home email to see what it looks like, and, unsurprisingly, I get the non-Outlook presentation of the appointment, but no iCalendar attachment. “That’s odd,” I thought, I knew from my tests that there’s a valid iCalendar file as one of the possible presentations, but it wasn’t showing up as an attachment in my email. So, on a whim, I went to
View > Message > Previous Alternative, and what did I see? the iCalendar file, packaged up as a nice little iCal attachment - double-click, and the appointment is added to your iCal calendar.
So it does seem that you can use Mail.app/iCal with Outlook/Exchange - at least for receiving appointments. I’ll continue to investigate whether you can set up an appointment with other people from iCal.
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