Meeting room reservation from a SharePoint calendar

The Calendar E-Mail Extension gives you the ability to invite attendees directly from a SharePoint calendar to your events. You can then view their responses in the calendar and edit any information if needed. The meeting room reservation feature additionally allows you to check the availability of Exchange rooms and equipment and then book them straight from your SharePoint calendar.

This feature has now been updated allowing you to book Exchange rooms and equipment directly when scheduling meetings in a SharePoint calendar.

Book Exchange rooms and equipment from a SharePoint calendar.

[The following content is deprecated – please read the new version]

In a previous post I talked about how to invite attendees to a meeting from a SharePoint calendar using the Calendar E-Mail Extension. In this post I will show you how you can also book meeting rooms or other resources directly from a SharePoint calendar using the same solution.

Configuring the SharePoint calendar

Guests can be invited by simply entering their e-mail addresses separated by semicolons or by entering one address per row.

Invite guests by entering their e-mail addresses

As all Exchange resources also have e-mail addresses, you can use the guests column to book meeting rooms and other Exchange resources. Of course you can’t expect your users to enter the e-mail address of an exchange room or equipment mailbox, that’s why I would recommend to change the type of the guests column to choice or multi choice and configure all Exchange resources that can be reserved as possible options.

Go to the list settings of the calendar, click on the guests field and change the name and field type. In my case I changed the name to “Rooms and equipment” and the type to choice displayed as multi select checkboxes. I assume that you also don’t want to enter just the e-mail addresses but also the name of the conference room and the equipment. Here you can use the following format:

Conference Room A <>

Change the field type to choice

If you like, you can also allow ‘Fill-in’ choices to be more flexible and allow organizers to enter additional e-mail addresses separated by semicolon.

That’s it for the changes in the SharePoint calendar, now lets talk about what happens if you invite an Exchange resource.

Book an Exchange resource from the SharePoint calendar

If you now schedule a meeting in the SharePoint calendar and select one of the meeting rooms or any equipment, a meeting request will be send to the associated Exchange mailbox.

Invite attendees, meeting rooms and other resources.

Depending on how the mailbox is configured, the resource will be booked and replies to the SharePoint calendar.

If you want to automatically book the resource and send a reply back to the SharePoint Calendar, you have to make sure that:

  1. AutoAccept is set for AutomateProcessing
  2. ProcessExternalMeetingMessages must be configured
  3. there is a contact with the sender alias in the global address list (GAL)
  4. that the receive connector that receives emails from SharePoint is externally secured (Exchange Server 2010/2013)

Otherwise the Exchange resource will be booked as tentative and a delegate has to accept manually.

Set AutomateProcessing to AutoAccept

The resource must be configured to automatically accept the request. You can use the Exchange Management Shell to set the AutomateProcessing to AutoAccept.

Exchange 2007

Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Conference Room A" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept 
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Conference Room A" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept 

Exchange 2010/2013

Set-CalendarProcessing "Conference Room A" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept
Set-CalendarProcessing "Conference Room A" -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept

Configure ProcessExternalMeetingMessages

The resource must be configured to process requests from external senders. You can use the Exchange Management Shell to set the ProcessExternalMeetingMessages to true.

Exchange 2007

Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Room 1" -ProcessExternalMeetingMessages $True
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity "Room 1" -ProcessExternalMeetingMessages $True

Exchange 2010

Set-CalendarProcessing -Identity "Room 1" -ProcessExternalMeetingMessages $true
Set-CalendarProcessing -Identity "Room 1" -ProcessExternalMeetingMessages $true

Create a new e-mail contact in Exchange

Create a new e-mail contact in exchange with the e-mail address of the SharePoint calendar as an external e-mail address. For example, create a new e-mail contact with the alias with the external address (the address of the SharePoint calendar).

In the “Calendar E-Mail Extension” settings of the SharePoint calendar you now have to configure the alias as the alternative sender.

Calendar E-Mail Extension settings

Now you have to configure a transport rule to redirect e-mails sent to the e-mail contact, to be sent to the same e-mail contact. This redirects all e-mails sent to the alternative sender to the calendar’s e-mail address.

Create a externally secured receive connector (Not necessary in Exchange 2007)

  1. In Exchange Management Console, create a new receive connector in Server Configuration/Hub Transport.
  2. Define a name and click next.
  3. Click Next on the Local Network Settings screen.
  4. On the Remote Network Settings screen remove the entry and add the IP address of the SharePoint server.
  5. Click New and Finish to create the receive connector.
  6. Open the settings of the newly created connector and select Anonymous and Exchange Servers in the Permission Group tab.
  7. Next click on the Authentication Tab and select Transport Layer Security and Externally Secured.
  8. Apply the changes.

So if the resource mailbox is configured correctly and the room or the equipment is free, it will be booked automatically and send an acceptance back to the SharePoint calendar. If it is already booked, it will decline the meeting request. The reply status is visible directly in the SharePoint event.

The invite status is visible directly in the SharePoint calendar event

If the organizer wishes to be notified about the result, they can add themselves to the “Forward Attendee Status Replies To” column. This will forward the status replies of attendees, the meeting rooms and any other Exchange resource to the organizer.

Forwart status replies to

I also recommend changing the schedule of the immediate alert timer job to get the results as fast as possible, as this is the timer job that picks up the e-mails from the drop folder and processes them. By default this timer is configured to run every 5 minutes. Open Central Administration, go to Monitoring, Review job definitions, look for “Immediate Alerts” and change the schedule to 1 minute.

As you can see meeting room reservation is also possible directly from a SharePoint calendar. The Calendar E-Mail Extension is available for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

If you have problems configuring the solution or your Exchange resources, send an e-mail to

Try it out for free

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