Keep your calendar clear by hiding private appointments like reminders to take medicine.
Sometimes we have appointments or events that we want to keep private or at least hide from the regular calendar views. You can have appointments in Outlook which will pop-up reminders when necessary but not show up in your regular calendar view.
A common example of this are recurring reminders to take medicine. Once, twice or even more times each day you can get Outlook (or linked device like a phone or tablet) to remind you to take various potions or pills.
However those reminders can clutter up your calendar view like this:
Medication reminders are a great use of Outlook, here’s how to show an appointment as ‘Private’ and hide from calendar view.
Making a Private appointment
We’ll use a medication reminder for our example. Create a new recurring appointment from New | Appointment . First setup the basic details.
Subject: anything you like. Keep it short so the message shows on a small phone screen.
Start and End time: are the same.
Free/Busy: show as Free so you don’t get any conflict warning with other appointments.
Reminder: set to ‘0 minutes’ (not ‘None’) this will trigger a reminder exactly at the Start time.
Now let’s make it a daily reminder using the Recurrence button to the right of the Free/Busy and Reminder choices. This is another Office dialog that hasn’t changed much, or at all, for many years.
Recurrence pattern: Daily – every 1 day
Range of recurrence: No end date
Finally, let’s tag this as a Private appointment. This gives us something to filter in the Calendar view.
Go to Appointment Series | Tags and click the little ‘lock’ icon.
Filter the calendar view
Finally, switch to calendar view.
Go to Calendar | View | Change View | Manage Views.
Select the view that you want to filter – for example ‘Calendar’ – click Copy to clone it and give a new name like ‘No Private Appts’.
Then click on the newly created view and choose Modify then Filter.
This is part of the process that’s way more complicated than it should be. You’d think that, having put a ‘Private’ button on the ribbon, Microsoft would make it easy to find or filter by that criterion – but no. In all the appointment Filter options available – ‘Private’ isn’t on either of the main tabs.
Go to the Advanced tab
Field: click on the pull-down list and choose ‘Sensitivity’ from the Frequently Used Fields list.
Condition: not equal to
Click ‘Add to List’ to have it appear in the ‘Find items that match these’ list as shown above. Click OK a few times to get back to calendar view. Select your custom view from View | Change View and lo! it’s free of clutter and medicine reminders.
Just because you can’t see the appointments in this view won’t stop them reminding you, as configured.
There you have it. A simple calendar view filtering. You can do it for other purposes, for example use Categories to tag Travel events (flights, hotels etc) then show a view with just your travel details.