The AgilQuest Forum Exchange Add-In provides direct access to Forum through the Microsoft Exchange interface (Outlook) available in Microsoft Office/Outlook 365. Quickly create reservations or multi-point events within the Exchange Add-in by simultaneously viewing availability of assets and attendees. Events may contain reservations for multiple locations and/or multiple assets/rooms within a location. The Forum Exchange Connector and O365 is required for two-way synchronization between Exchange and Forum. Without the Forum Exchange Connector, changes made in a Forum interface will not be reflected in Exchange, and vice versa.
Watch the short video above for an overview of the Exchange Add-in.
Admin Install as Enterprise Managed Software
First, read Microsoft's article on Deploying add-ins in the admin center for detailed instructions.
Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at https://admin.microsoft.com/
The admin center is getting updated to deployment experience with Integrated Apps. Integrated Apps is only visible to Global administrators, while for others the old experience still exists. If you don't see the Settings > Add-ins, go to the Centralized Deployment section by going to Settings > Integrated apps. On the top of the Integrated apps page, choose Add-ins, detailed below.
In the left pane, select Integrated apps.
At the top of the screen, choose Add-ins or click on Get apps.
Search for Forum by AgilQuest. Select.
You will have the following options:
Select No for test deployment. Select Entire organization unless the add-in should only be available to specific users.
After installation it may take up to 24 hours for the add-in to be available to end users in your organization.
Add-in is Available After Admin Install
If the Forum Exchange Add-in has been installed for you by your IT admin, the add-in will be pinned on the Outlook ribbon. The add-ins will be pinned on the surface where they are designed to work. You may also see an information nudge about the add-in that was newly installed.
Example while composing a message
Example while composing an appointment
For more info, refer to Using add-ins in Outlook on the web.
Our product manager, Jennifer Anderson, hosted this 20-minute Webinar on the Add-in covering the following:
- SAML Authentication
- Reservations vs. Events
- Links to Conferencing Apps
- Managing Attendees
- Finding the Right Resources
- Adding Equipment & Services
- Shared Calendar
- Email Notifications
Accessing the Forum Exchange Add-in & Adding Attendees
To access Forum's Exchange Add-in, double click on an available time slot within your Outlook/OWA calendar. This opens an appointment window. Enter a title and add the desired attendees. If desired, you can use Outlook's Scheduling Assistant to add attendees.
Attendees must be added within the Outlook window before you open the Add-in. Their availability will be displayed in the Calendar View of the Add-in. If the reservation contains multiple rooms or locations, the attendees cannot be assigned to a specific room or location. This is a limitation enforced by Microsoft Exchange.
If you need to include information in the body of the email which will be sent via Exchange, enter it in the description field of the Outlook appointment window. This may include online conference call links and details. Information entered in this field will not be brought into Forum but will appear in the body of the Exchange emails sent to all attendees. It is important to make any necessary changes in the Outlook appointment window before you open the Add-in. Making changes in the Outlook appointment window after submitting a reservation via the Add-in may result in a cancelation or lost data.
Selecting Forum Reservations in Outlook Web Application
Selecting Forum Reservations in Outlook Desktop Application
Within the ribbon or menu options at the top, select Forum Reservations. If Forum Reservations is not visible, click on the ellipses and then select Forum Reservations.
Select the Open Forum button. This will launch the Add-in window.
The first time you use the Add-in, you'll need to select your login preference: SAML Login or Forum Login. If you choose SAML, enter the Service Provider URL and follow the prompts. If you choose Forum Login, enter your Forum credentials at the top of the screen and click on the Log In button. Note that these selections must be the same as what you use for the Forum Web and mobile app interfaces. If you need to change this, press the Reset Login Preference button at the lower right of the log in screen. The email address used by your Outlook Calendar must match your Forum email address. Once your credentials are authenticated, the Forum Exchange Add-in window loads, displaying a list of assets as search results in the Calendar View. These results are based on the time slot, your Forum settings, and default settings within the application.
The Calendar View is the core of the Exchange Add-in. Similar to the Search By Calendar function in Forum Web, it displays a list of results matching the filter criteria, but for multiple locations at once. Within the Calendar View tab you can check availability, find, preview, and reserve the desired assets. To modify the search parameters, click on the filters near the top of the screen, described in detail below. Once you see what you need, simply check off the box next to it. If desired, add Related Assets like equipment and services to a selected asset by clicking the Add icon after the asset name. If you've selected assets in the Collaboration Space category, enter the number of persons expected in the Attending column. This and the Event/Reservation Name are required fields, and are also accessible in the Reservation Summary View. Click on the Reservation Summary View tab to see the list of selected assets and to add details. The Submit Reservation button is enabled when all required fields have been entered. Click it when you're ready to submit. If you're prompted by Outlook to Save or Cancel/Discard, choose Save. Once validated, the reservation(s) is saved and invitations are sent to the invitees. The reservation is then accessible via Forum and your Outlook calendar.
Date and Time
Click on the Date/Time field in the upper right to specify a single date and time or a recurring pattern. The selected date and time will apply to the entire reservation/event, simultaneously across all time zones. The local time of the reservation/event will be visible in the Calendar View. Rules in Microsoft Exchange prevent the selection of multiple start and end times for separate rooms or locations. However, when adding related (child) assets like equipment or services, you do have the option to specify a shorter span of time that falls within the time of the entire reservation/event.
- No-End Date Reservations are not supported.
- Long-Term/Continuous Reservations (reservations lasting more than 24 hours) may only include one asset from the following categories: Collaboration Space, Workspace, Parking or Transportation. Related (Child) Assets such as Equipment and Services may be included in the Reservation.
Your preferred location is selected by default. If you don't have a preferred location or you wish to change/add locations, click on the Locations filter at the upper left.
In the Search for Locations field, type either the Location Name, City, Street, Zip Code, State abbreviation or Country abbreviation and click on the desired result shown below the field. This will add it to the Selected Locations list on the right. To remove a location, click on the X next to the location or click on the X next to 'Selected Locations' to remove all. When the Selected Locations list contains your desired locations, press the Apply button. You may also remove locations by clicking on the X next to the location address in the Calendar View and Reservation Summary View.
If you need to specify a location as your preferred location, this can be done in the Forum Web application (not the Exchange Add-in) if your account settings allow you to modify your preferences. Log in to the Forum Web application. At the upper right, click on your name and select 'My Profile.' Location can be set in the Details tab or the Preferences tab. Contact your administrator if you are unable to modify your settings.
Click on the Category filter toward the upper left to choose what kind of assets you want to search for and reserve. Only one category may be searched at a time. Collaboration Space is selected by default. When you press the Apply button, assets belonging to that category will be listed in the Calendar View and any previously applied filters will be cleared.
Any previously selected assets will remain in the view regardless of their category. In the example above, collaboration space assets were selected, then the category was changed to parking.
Click on More Filters at the upper middle part of the page to refine your search by what kind of assets you need and other parameters. If you need to change your selections, click on More Filters again or view all of the applied filters by clicking on the downward pointing caret after the More Filters button.
Asset types are specific to each category. Check off those you're interested in and press Apply. The assets listed in the Calendar View will then be restricted to only those matching the selected Asset Types.
Amenities & Attributes
Amenities & Attributes are listed directly under the Asset Type options and are specific to each category. Check off those you're interested in and enter values if needed, then press Apply. The assets listed in the Calendar View will then be restricted to only those having the selected Amenities & Attributes in Forum.
Each location will be listed, with a drop-down menu containing all of that location's floors. Check off the floors that you're interested in and press Apply. The assets listed in the Calendar View will then be restricted to only those at the selected floors.
Enter a value in the Capacity filter to refine the list of assets by the number of persons the room can accommodate. This filter is only available when Collaboration Space is selected as the Category. Specify the minimum number of persons the room should hold and press Apply.
If your organization has assets with costs, the price filter can help you find the desired price range. Use the drop-down menus to select the type of currency and rate. Move the range slider to refine the amount. Press Apply.
Click on the downward pointing caret after the Price filter to view all of the filters that have been applied to the search. Within the Applied Filters window, you may click on the X next to a given filter to remove it or press the Clear Selections button to remove all of the applied filters.
In the example above, filters have been applied and only one asset at each location meets these specifications.
Selecting and Previewing Assets in the Calendar View
All assets meeting the search criteria are listed in the Calendar View, under the name of their Location. If the asset is available during the selected time slot, it has a checkbox next to the asset name. Check the box to add it to your reservation. Click on the asset name to view photos, hours, policies, amenities and attributes.
If the asset is in the Collaboration Space category, there will be a field in that row in the Attending column. Enter the number of persons expected. This is a required field, also accessible in the Reservation Summary View.
Adding Related Assets (Child Assets)
After an asset has been selected, related assets like equipment and services may be added. An Add icon will appear after the asset name if it allows these types of assets, often called Child Assets. Click on the Add icon to open the Related Assets Window and begin the search.
Choose a category at the top of the window. You may now press the Search button at the bottom to see all results for that category, or select the desired filters and then press the Search button. Note that many related assets are not floor-specific, and therefore will not be shown in search results when the Floors filter is applied. So it is best to not specify a floor in your initial search.
After pressing the Search button, the assets meeting the search criteria are then listed to the right.
View the details for an asset by clicking on an asset name or checking off the box next to an asset name. Checking off the box selects the asset. The quantity is automatically set to one, but you may increase the quantity up to the available quantity of that asset. If you do not need that asset for the entire reservation time, you may modify that asset's start and end time within the constraints of the reservation time by clicking on the start or end time field. Press the Submit button to add the selected asset(s) to your reservation. They'll be visible in the Reservation Summary tab.
Equipment and services may only be reserved as Related Assets since standalone equipment and services are not supported in the Exchange Add-in. Please use the Forum Web interface to create a standard reservation for either equipment or services.
Click on the Reservation Summary tab to see an overview and add details. Your selected assets and any associated costs are listed here. Within the Comments tab you have the option to add specific comments for individual assets, like catering services, and that text will be included in Forum emails. The optional Event Comments field may contain text that applies to the entire reservation and is not currently included in Forum emails, but is visible within Forum. Comments and Event Comments are limited to 1000 characters. Click on the Add icon after an asset name to add related assets like equipment and services. Click the X on a row of an asset or location to remove it from the reservation.
Costs and Charge Codes
Pricing and charge codes can be accessed in the Charges tab. You can read more about Charge Codes here. The required number of charge code rows appear by default in the Charges tab. If an asterisk is shown next to a charge code field, then it is required. If you need to add another charge code row, click the plus icon next to the allocations field. If one or more charge codes are entered, the allocations for each asset must total 100%. If no charge code rows are shown for a given asset in the Charges tab, then that asset does not allow charge codes.
Submitting a Reservation
The Submit Reservation button is enabled when all required fields have been entered. Click it when you're ready to submit. You must press Save or Save & Close in the upper left of the appointment window in Exchange (Outlook). Do not make changes in the appointment window before saving. Any changes made to the Outlook appointment before saving may result in a cancelation or lost data. If you must edit, save the appointment first and then re-open the appointment.
Once validated, the Reservation/Event is saved and invitations are sent to the invitees. The Reservation/Event is then accessible via Forum Web, Forum Mobile Apps, and your Outlook calendar.
Creating a Private Reservation
The Exchange Add-in now has the ability to toggle whether or not a calendar event is marked Private, and pull in the sensitivity (Private) setting specified in the Outlook Desktop appointment window. This setting cannot be pulled in from the OWA (Outlook Web) interface because of limitations on Microsoft's side.
In the bottom left of the Reservation Summary tab, there's a check box that says Private next to it. The calendar event that's created will reflect the privacy status you select here.
In order to check the private status, open the event in your Outlook calendar, and the privacy setting will either be listed on the right side of the ribbon, or by clicking the ellipsis.
Private setting in Outlook Desktop Application
Private setting in Outlook Web Application
When you open an existing reservation in the Add-in, available actions will be displayed in the Actions tab within the Reservation Summary. These include Check in, Check out, and End. Action buttons shown on the row for a given asset will apply only to that asset, while actions shown on the bottom row apply to all. The action is performed at the moment that the button is pressed and will be reflected immediately in the status of the asset, which is shown in italics after the asset name. You do not need to press the Save Modifications button in order to perform actions. Some actions like Check out and End all are not available until after the start time has passed.
If you need to sign out of the Add-in, click on the Sign Out icon at the upper right of the screen. This is optional. When your session expires, you will automatically be logged out.
Shared Calendars / Make and Manage as a Delegate
If sharing and permissions have been configured in Outlook, users can make and manage reservations on calendars to which they have the appropriate permissions. A user must be a delegate to make reservations for others. Users who can edit have the ability to manage/modify reservations for others. To successfully modify reservations on a shared calendar, the data must be fully synced in Exchange. This process can take 3-4 hours for some interfaces. Outlook Desktop takes the least amount of time to sync, so AgilQuest recommends using Outlook Desktop when working with shared calendars. OWA may still be used to modify a reservation that was created in Forum Web or Outlook Desktop, but the changes may take 3-4 hours to sync.
Modifying a Reservation
You can make changes to a Forum Reservation via the Exchange Add-in, and these changes will be synched in Forum as long as an Exchange Connector is in place for all top-level assets (rooms). Double click on the reservation in your Outlook Calendar to open the appointment window.
Modifying Forum Reservations in Outlook Web Application
Modifying Forum Reservations in Outlook Desktop Application
Within the ribbon or menu options at the top, select "Forum Reservations." If "Forum Reservations" is not visible and you are in the appointment window, click on Edit in the upper left of the window, click on the ellipsis and then select "Forum Reservations." The Exchange Add-in opens to the Reservation Summary View. Make necessary edits here or in the Calendar View. Click the X on the row of an asset or location to remove it from the reservation. Changes in the Date/Time and assets must be validated by Forum and Exchange before they can be applied to the Reservation. Press the Save Modifications button when you're ready to submit. Once validated, the changes are applied to the Reservation.
Be sure to press Save or Save & Close in the upper left of the appointment window. This will ensure that any changes you made within the Exchange Add-in are also saved/synched in Exchange (Outlook).
It is possible within the Outlook Calendar window to drag and drop a Reservation/Event to a different time slot or to change the time/date within the Outlook appointment window, however this is not recommended. First, asset availability is not visible in that window and the asset(s) may already be booked for the new time slot. Second, if the Reservation/Event contains Related Assets (aka Child Assets), they will be removed. When the Reservation/Event time is changed outside of Forum or the Exchange Add-in, the Related Assets are automatically canceled because of limitations in the Exchange Connector. To avoid this, make any necessary modifications to the Reservation/Event via the Exchange Add-in or Forum Web.
There can be a delay in the confirmation emails from Exchange. If you make a reservation via the Exchange Add-in and then cancel the reservation before the accept email is received, the reservation is recreated when the Exchange email does come in.
You may cancel or remove locations and assets from a reservation by clicking the X on that row in the Reservation Summary View. If you remove the location, all assets for that location will be removed. If you remove a "parent" asset, the related "child" assets under it will be removed.
To cancel the entire reservation/event, right-click on the appointment in your Outlook calendar. Select Cancel in OWA or Cancel Meeting in Outlook Desktop as shown below. This will remove the reservation/event from Forum and Outlook. Note that if you cancel a reservation from within any other Forum interface such as the web application or mobile apps, the Forum reservation/room/asset(s) will be canceled but the appointment will remain in Outlook, enabling you to keep/manage the appointment without the room/asset(s).
- Exchange Connector
The Forum Exchange Connector is required for two-way synchronization between Outlook and Forum. Without the Forum Exchange Connector, changes made in a Forum interface will not be reflected in Exchange, and vice versa. Forum's Exchange Connector uses O365, therefore Microsoft Office/Outlook 365 is required. On premise, Mac, and older versions of Outlook are not supported.
Please contact us for support or for more information on using AgilQuest Forum for your room booking solution.