Calendars show your schedule but your Outlook calendar can do much more. In this article, I’m going to share how to manage an Outlook calendar that helps me save a lot of time. If you also want to get more out of your calendar, just read the full post.
Personalized your calendar
- Most users just go with the default settings and then they miss out on useful customization options. Don’t make this mistake. The first thing you want to do is set your working days and hours.
- Go to File, click on Options, and click on Calendar. In the section worktime, you can specify which days of the week or work days are important to you. For example, if you are a nurse, your working days, maybe Sunday to Tuesday, can easily be set up. Just check or uncheck the boxes next to the days.
- You should also specify your regular working hours by fixing the start and end times. You can set the first day of the workweek for yourself. In my case, it’s Monday.
- The other thing I recommend is taking advantage of the option to schedule shorter meetings. Usually, meetings are scheduled for 30 minutes or full hours. Now, often this leads to back-to-back meetings where you don’t even have time to rush from one session to the next.
- In the calendar settings, you have the option to end meetings early with this dropdown here; save off 5 or 10 minutes with the settings.
- This way, when you schedule your next meeting, it’s going to automatically suggest a shorter meeting duration.
Multiple time zones
- If you are like me and you are working with colleagues across multiple time zones, it can be a pain to find the right time to meet. You don’t want to set up a meeting that’s too early or too late. Of course, you could figure out the time difference with Google every time you want to set up the meeting. But there’s a much easier way.
- If you scroll down in the calendar settings, you are going to see time zones. You should set the first one to your own time zone and add a label to add a second time zone.
- Just click the checkbox at a label and set the right time zone with the dropdown if you need it.
- You can also set a third time zone if needed.
- Next time you schedule a meeting, you are going to see the time zones on the side of the calendar. For example, I can see right away that 3 p.m. is 9 a.m. for Bryon; this makes it much easier to pick the right time.
Weak numbers and weather
- The final tweak is to add the week numbers to your calendar. In the past, people would tell me, let’s meet in calendar week 20 and I’d have to Google when that actually is, but it’s easy to do that in Outlook.
- Let’s go back to settings. This time, we’re going to take a shortcut. Just click on the arrow in the arranged section.
- This will take you directly to the settings. Scroll down to the display options and check the box next to Show week numbers in the month view and in the Date Navigator. That’s going to do it.
- Let’s do one more thing. Scroll all the way down to the weather, check the box for Show weather on the calendar and select if you want to see temperatures in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- Now, when you go back to the calendar, you always know what kind of week you’re in. It will show up right in front of us this week.
- You will even get the current weather and the forecast. That’s always good to know.
- In your calendar, you have several predefined views that you can use.
- You can look at just a single day or your work week. You can also select the week or the month, but you can also apply a custom period in the date navigator.
- You are going to see the month and you can expand it by pulling down or across. When you move the mouse over to the week numbers, you’re going to see that the cursor changes.
- Let’s say, I want to see the first three weeks of June. I just click on the first week and drag it down to highlight the other weeks. It just shows me the selected period, but it doesn’t even have to be consecutive days.
- You can also just pick a few days. Let’s say I’m interested in June 9th, then hold down control and select the other days that you’re interested in. I’m going to pick June 16th, 23rd and 25th.
View multiple calendars
- Some of us have more than one calendar in Outlook. You can choose how you want to see them. In my case, I have my own calendar but I’m also part of a group calendar for finance.
- By default, Outlook is going to show these calendars side by side, but you can also overlay them to better see availability across calendars. Just click the arrow for overlay mode.
- You will still be able to distinguish them because each calendar is going to keep its own color. Just click the arrow again.
- I’m a big fan of color coding. In a previous article, I showed you how you can color code your emails so that you’re only on cc.
- This way, you can see right away that the message isn’t directly addressed to you without even opening it.
- Another way to take advantage of color coding is in your calendar.
- There are two ways that you can visualize your events with color. The first one is manual with categories. When you right click on the meeting, you are going to see the option categories. Let’s go with all categories.
- There are some predefined ones that you can rename or create a new one. I will just rename the orange category to formal.
- If you want, you can also assign a shortcut key with a dropdown. When you’re done, click on Ok.
- Now, I can apply this category to any other formal meeting. This way, when I check my schedule in the evening, I’ll know if I need to dress up the next day.
- An even better way is to use conditional formatting. Here’s how. Let’s say you want to highlight all meetings with your boss in the menu. Click on View and then on view settings. Select conditional formatting. Click on “Add” to create a new rule, give it a name and pick a color.
- We need to assign the condition. In this case. It’s easy. We want each meeting that’s sent by my boss to be in red so you just need to add your boss’s name in the organizer field.
- Click on OK and OK again. Now, you are going to see right away for which meetings you have to be extra prepared.
- There are many more possibilities with conditional formatting. You can create a rule if a meeting is in a certain location for specific meeting names and so on. Just give it a try.
- Let’s talk about some tips to make scheduling meetings a lot easier. I often see people constantly switching back and forth between the inbox and the calendar or their tasks, but you can easily pop them out and show them side by side.
- Let’s say, you want to have email and your calendar open next to one another. When you are in your email, just right click on the calendar button in the navigation window and select “Open in New Window.” This is going to open the calendar.
- In a second instance of Outlook, just position the windows the way you want them. That’s it. Now you can quickly go back and forth. Of course, this works for contacts or tasks just as well.
- One more thing: when you close Outlook, don’t click the X in the corner of the window.
- Instead, go to File and select Exit. This way, it’s going to remember and next time you start Outlook, it will open it the same way you left it.
- The other thing that can come in handy is duplicating meetings. Let’s say that you are recruiting someone and you have several people that you are interviewing for the position.
- Now, of course, you need to set up individual appointments in Outlook but the content of these different meetings, like your subject, location, notes, and so on, is all the same.
- The only things that change are time and the person so once you set up the first one, you can just click on it.
- Use the shortcut Control C, Click on the time and date that you want your next meeting to be and use the shortcut Control v.
- This is going to create a copy of the first meeting. Now just go in and change the invite, hit send and repeat the presses as you need.
Create meeting from email
- Another great feature is the ability to schedule meetings directly from an email. Let’s say, you get an email but you can’t answer it right away because you need to do some research first.
- In this case, I always recommend scheduling some time in your calendar to get it done. Otherwise, you are probably going to forget.
- Simply drag the email down to the calendar icon. It’s going to create the meeting for you. Take over the title and add the content of the email. Now you just need to find a time slot to get it done.
- Scheduling a meeting with lots of different people in your organization can be a challenge. You don’t want to just pick a time, send out your invite and hope for the best. Let’s increase the chances that everyone is going to be available by using Scheduling Assistant.
- Let’s say you need to schedule a meeting with two other colleagues. Create a new meeting and add the attendees either as required or optional then click on Scheduling Assistant. You will get a view where you can see the availability of the participants.
- The proposed meeting time will be displayed and if the time doesn’t work for an attendee, you can just click on the timeline and select a slot that works for everyone or you can use autopick to let Outlook find the next time that everyone is available.
- If you are meeting someone outside your organization, you can simply send them your calendar and let them do the work. Create a new email and click on “Insert.” Click on more options and select “Calendar.”
- Now, you can select a date range that would be the range where you want to find the right time for your meeting.
- You can either use the presets or you can specify the dates then you can select the amount of details that you want to share.
- You have the option to just show time within your working hours and this way you can eliminate weekends or late hours from the options. When you are done, just click Ok.
- It’s going to insert your calendar into the email. Now, you can send this off and the other person gets a full overview and can easily pick a date.
To learn more about Outlook tips, visit the Microsoft website.
These are my favorite tips for manage Outlook calendar. I hope these tips will be helpful for you to make better use of the calendar in Outlook.