External Calendars

The External Calendar feature allows you to easily import and view calendars from all of your offices in the A1Law calendar without remote access.  A1Law will not allow you to make changes to the calendars you import;  this must be done at the main office from where the appointments were originally scheduled.  There are two parts to this procedure:  1.  Initial Setup.  2.  Importing calendars.

Initial Setup
 If you are configuring this for the first time, you may want to consider doing a quick backup of the critical files.  Click Tools, System, Configure System Defaults, Security, Backup Now.

This is usually a one time procedure unless you decide at some point to import another one of your office's calendars or remove one from the list.  This will be illustrated by example.  Let's suppose you have three offices:  Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.  Next, let's assume you want to import your San Diego (SD) office and San Francisco (SF) office's calendar into the Los Angeles A1Law calendar.  Next, let's assume that there is only one calendar in the dropdown at the LA office called Appearances.  Then we will use the dropdown in the calendar for #2 as San Diego and #3 as San Francisco.

Assuming that we want to view the San Diego and San Francisco calendars in the Los Angeles office, the Initial Setup must be configure in the Los Angeles A1Law office as follows:

Click Tools, System, Configure System Defaults, Calendars.  At the General Tab for Calendar Titles enter San Diego on the second line and San Francisco on the third line for calendars #2 and #3.  In the event that you already have a #2 calendar for LA (such as Follow Up/Diary Dates) and perhaps a #3 calendar (such as Statutes) then you will enter your San Diego calendar as #4 in the dropdown list and San Francisco as #5.  This allows you to click the dropdown in the calendar and now see new titles of San Diego and San Francisco.

Next - click the EXTERNAL tab at Tools, System, Configure System Defaults, Calendars.  Check the box that says Use External Calendars.  For the External Calendar Folder Names enter SD,SF  (no spaces).  On the next line where it says Force External Calendars into local calendar categories enter 2,3 (but as in the example above you may need to enter 4,5 so as to correspond with where your San Diego and San Francisco calendars are listed in the dropdown).  As an option, you may enter a Build Password or just leave it blank.

Click the Save button.  This completes the initial setup for your external calendars which may now be viewed in the Los Angeles Office.

Note:  The external calendars cannot affect the A1Law calendar in your main office (Los Angeles as in the above example) because there is no merging of files or records from the "external calendars"  (San Diego and San Francisco) with the main calendar (Los Angeles).

Importing Calendars
The following explains how to import external calendars into A1Law (Los Angeles office as in the above example).

Step 1Copy the calendar files from the external office(s).  There are 8 main files from the A1Law\Data folder called cal1.dbf, cal1.cdx, cal1.fpt, cal2.dbf, cal2.cdx, case.dbf, case.cdx, case.fpt or in other words: cal1.*, cal2.*, case.*

You may of course Email each of the 8 files individually or you may easily schedule windows to create one ZIP file every day or as often as you want by creating a batch file as follows: (Note: the COPY command is used because one may not zip files that are shared assuming others are in A1Law, but the COPY command will copy files even if they are open for shared use).  Also, we will assume in this example that the A1Law folder is located at F:\Shared\A1Law  The batch file would be as follows:

COPY F:\Shared\A1Law\Data\Cal1.*
COPY F:\Shared\A1Law\Data\Cal2.*
COPY F:\Shared\A1Law\Data\Case.*

You may of course call the zip file anything you like and may decide to call it CalExtSF for the San Francisco calendar as in the above example.

Now, we may save this batch file and then click Start, Control Panel, Scheduled Tasks and add a scheduled task and have windows run the batch file every day to automatically create the file CALEXT.ZIP which may then be sent to the Los Angeles office (as per the above example) every day via Email or ftp.  The PKZIP will do a good job compressing these files.  This batch file (as per the above example) must be created in the San Diego and San Francisco office.  These files may then be sent via Email or FTP to the Los Angeles Office.

Automatically scheduling this file for Email or FTP is beyond the scope of this article but a staff member may easily Email or FTP this file via an attachment to an Email.

Step 2:  Now that we have the files from the external offices in the main Los Angeles Office we must "decompress" or "unzip" them in their proper folders.  In the Los Angeles Office after you completed the Initial Setup in Step 1, A1Law created folders as follows:


Note the SD and SF folders per the external calendar folder names.  You will need to "Unzip" the CalExtSD file in the SD folder and the San Francisco zip file in the SF folder so that those folders contain the Cal1.*, Cal2.* and Case.* files.

Step 3:  We are almost done.  Last, we need to tell A1Law to "build" the external calendar file from the files we have in the folders SD and SF.  We will overwrite the folders every day or as often as desired.  This may all be done even when others are in A1Law.  No one needs to exit out of A1Law while any importing or exporting external calendars.  Last, go into the A1Law calendar (in the Los Angeles office).  Click the Other Features button (Alt-O) and click Build External Calendars.

You may select a different color for the external calendars if you like but they will already be in a different dropdown.  However, colors may be helpful when you click the "CALENDAR" label so as to display all the calendar appointments in all calendar categories.  You may rebuild the external calendars anytime you like whether or not you import new calendar files into the SD and SF folders.  We are building a "subset" of the calendar files in these folders.

Select starting and ending dates of appointments to be displayed and select the category you want to merge (1 for the first calendar, 2 for the second, etc) or enter 0 for all calendars.  The rest is fairly self explanatory.  Click the Rebuild button.  That's basically it.  You may change your starting and ending dates as well as colors, etc. any time and just click the Rebuild button.

Step 2 and Step 3 must be done on a daily, weekly or as often as necessary in order to import and rebuild the external calendar files.  Step 1 only needs to be done one time.