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Outlook Web Apps – time zone change

How to change the time zone setting in Outlook Web Apps and how it’s a workaround for an Outlook problem.

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Anyone who has Outlook Web Apps can use it to workaround a long-standing problem in Outlook – multiple time zone display.

Outlook has always given limited time zone support. For some reason Microsoft doesn’t seem to think that their customers stray beyond their home or office far enough to warrant proper travel features in their main calendar software. It took many years for Outlook to expose time zone settings in appointments (even though the underlying database could handle it) and, even in Outlook 2010, the ability to show a calendar in another time zone is extremely lame if not effectively useless.

This is important if you’re planning a trip, the ability to show your calendar in time of your destination makes scheduling a lot easier. For example, let’s say you work in Redmond, WA, USA and your huge software company wants you to visit its large office in Ireland. To plan your Irish visit you’d like to display your appointments in Irish local time but sadly your huge software company (known as Microsoft) has not put that feature into the ‘Outlook’ software they make you use. You could change the time zone in Windows to update the Outlook calendar display but that ‘fix’ creates its own problems.

Outlook Web Apps (OWA) offers anyone using Exchange Server (including Office 365 or Small Business Server) an alternative time zone to display the same calendar.

There's a setting to change the time zone of the calendar display in the browser version of the calendar. This is how it looks in the latest version of Outlook Web Apps, there’s a similar setting in earlier versions of OWA.

Office 365 - OWA change time zone display image from Outlook Web Apps – time zone change at

Simply change the ‘Current Time Zone’ to the one you want, then open up the calendar in your browser to see your appointments nicely arranged for the location you’re visiting.

When you do that, you may notice another long-standing bug in Outlook – that all-day appointments can’t be changed to fit a different time zone. But that’s just another example of Microsoft’s failure to deal with the concept of time zones.

Note: this change does NOT fix the Office 365 read receipt bug.

Article posted: Monday, 13 February 2012

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