Outlook Shared Calendar Tips

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We share some of our readers’ thoughts and tips regarding Outlook’s “Shared Calendar” functionality.

A recent article in Office for Mere Mortals takes you through the basics of sharing an appointment among friends via email. While Microsoft concentrates on gee-whiz shared resources with server connections, Outlook itself will let you setup appointments for dinner with nothing more than Outlook and an email account.

That issue prompted some great tips from Outlook calendaring veterans in the corporate world:

David S writes about a long standing scheduling gripe:

” One of the irritating features of the Office Appointments Calendar is that the organizer of a meeting can’t not go to the meeting, at least as far as Office is concerned. If the organizer deletes a meeting, it is deleted for everyone. “

David is right, the originator and sender of invitations to a meeting can’t delete him or herself from the event – nor can control of the meeting be transferred.


Doug H writes from the business end of corporate meetings:

“For those of us who live and die by our calendars AND belong to an organization that actually use the feature, here’s another couple-o-tips:

Schedule a recurring meeting with yourself for lunch to be sure you have the time as unavailable.

Have a big project to finish, schedule time in your calendar so you won’t be invited to meetings.

Get your IT group to set up rooms and projectors and other resources so you can actually schedule a meeting with all the trimmings. You can set it up so the room or resource is managed by a secretary (ugh) or just auto accepts the first invitation (my preference).

Mark your trips to the head hunter as ‘private’ so nobody can see what you’re up to.

I love Calendaring and Scheduling systems – they free you from the 3 hour ‘set up a meeting circle jerk from hell’ every time you want 3 people in the same room at the same time. Getting companies to adhere to a policy that mandates use of automated systems can be an effort, but it pays off in the end.

If you work hours that are slightly shifted from your co-workers (say 7-3:30 rather than 9-5:30), schedule another recurring meeting with yourself between the time you leave work and the time everyone else takes off (3:30 – 5:30), this way you won’t get invited to meetings after you’re gone. (topical rant – if Outlook had any brains, you’d be able to build in your work day so this happened automatically – kind of like Lotus Notes oh how I miss ya – but hey, you can’t have everything).

That last tip raises another long-standing Outlook gripe. Outlook lets you define your work day at Tools | Options | Preferences | Calendar Options so you might expect that setting would define your availability or at least there’d be a warning for appointments outside that range – but no.


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