Outlook Calendar as your Windows Desktop

In a Channel 9 conversation, user Dr. Herbie expressed his long-standing desire to see his Outlook calendar as a desktop wallpaper. This, I admit, has never once occured to me. The nice thing about it is that it's so amazingly simple to implement.

Ever since Windows 98 and the Active Desktop, you could use HTML as the desktop wallpaper and embed anything you want in it. For the last 4 versions at least, Outlook comes with an ActiveX control that lets you display the contents of any Outlook folder in your application. Mix the two – and you have an HTML page that embeds the Outlook View Control maximized to fullscreen, defaulting to today's date, and add two simple Javascript buttons to move back and forward in the days.

A less lazy developer can make this much nicer, with a monthly date-picker and less ugly buttons. Considered as as Proof of Concept, it works with some caveats:

1) Due to the whole Eolas/ActiveX lawsuit fiasco, you need to click on the desktop once to enable interaction with the ActiveX control.

2) You can click on desktop icons, but you can't drag them around (well, without dragging them into an appointment. :). This can be fixed by resizing the control to allow some free desktop space, I suppose.


3) This keeps an instance of Outlook permanently in memory. Probably isn't a problem, but good to know.

4) As it stands, the control will mirror the view current selected in your Outlook calendar.

Here's a screenshot of my desktop right now. Thanks for the idea, Herbie!



Download the specified attachment (CalendarWallpaper.zip) and unzip into any convenient place. My Documents, for instance.

Then, Go to your desktop properties -> Desktop -> Browse and choose the unzipped file (CalendarWallpaper.htm). Et voila!

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