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In my experience, finding a date for a meeting is often hard if all members of the meetings have full schedules. However, one easy approach to find possible date would be to simply compute the intersection of all relevant calendars (in some kind of privatized format and within a potential time window like 8am to 8pm).

I was wondering whether there is a tool or a website that does this. I couln't find anything so far.

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Email tools like Lotus Notes do this at companies. What format is the calendar in for the people you are asking about? –  Jeanne Boyarsky Mar 15 '13 at 0:38
    
I was searching for a general tool. But we could say ical format. –  fabee Mar 15 '13 at 6:09
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3 Answers

Others have mentioned a lot of tools that can do this, but all of them are predicated on the accuracy of everyone's calendar. In certain situations, it's important to maintain your calendar in the context of a group's needs.

The first step is to make sure all appointments are up to date in all calendars. There will be a lot of rescheduling when certain members realize there was a meeting not entered.

Everyone should set boundaries on availability. Will this group adhere to business hours, or make evenings, weekends and holidays available?

You have to get everyone in the habit of always send meeting requests as a calendar appointment. Many people will put this in a plain email and never bother to check other calendars. Motiviation is difficult if some people don't keep their calendar up-to-date. These two things tend to feed off of one another.

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There seems to be a wealth of websites which handle this kind of stuff. For instance, http://www.timetomeet.info/ claims to integrate with Outlook, iCal, and Google.

However, for integrity reasons it's questionable if you should entrust unknown 3rd party websites with personal schedules. Personally I'd go for a locally installed tool. But, of course, requiring people to send their personal calendar data to you requires them to trust you a lot. For that reason, I think the old find-a-time-emailing procedure is the best.

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People working in organizations often work with organization-provided computers that are administered by an organization technician -- which in effect means that there is not private data on them anyway. So within an organization a locally installed tool accessible through the intranet would be highly practicable. I'd therefor be grateful if you would share any info you have on such tools. –  what Mar 15 '13 at 14:18
    
Me too actually. In particular if you happen to know a tool that I can install on my own web server that would be great. –  fabee Mar 15 '13 at 14:25
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Doodle is a fairly low impedance way of polling a group of people for a meeting time.

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Yes, but it needs people to click on possible dates. Either you have to offer a lot of dates and they need to compare a lot of them with their calendar, or you offer not so many but then you very likely time slots that are occupied already. –  fabee Mar 14 '13 at 20:57
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