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Microsoft 365 (Outlook on the web | Outlook for Windows/Mac) - Best practices when using the calendar
The Outlook Calendar fully integrates with email, contacts, and other features. This integration makes the Calendar component one of the most popular features of Outlook. In this article, we will guide you through the use of the Calendars various functions. In addition, we'll introduce you to calendar improvements that are specifically targeted to make your experience more consistent. In addition to the calendar information below, see best practices for Outlook article.
Forwarding meeting requests
Do not forward meeting requests. If there is a user who needs to be included/notified of a meeting, ask the organizer to add this user to the original meeting.
Process all meeting requests and cancellations
Although you can delete a meeting request directly from your Inbox, you should properly process the meeting request by either accepting or declining it. Always use the Remove from Calendar command to process meeting cancellations.
Working with recurring meetings
- Set an end date.
- Limit the recurring series to a small number of occurrences. It is simpler for clients to handle a smaller number of occurrences in a series.
- If you need to make a change to a specific instance within a recurring series, it is recommended that you delete the specific instance and create a new individual event on its behalf.
End a recurring meeting before the original end date
Although you can cancel a recurring meeting, a better option is to change the end date for the series. This allows you and the attendees to keep a record of the meetings that occurred in the past. If you cancel the recurring meeting altogether, that history is lost. The best option is to set a new end date and then send the update to all attendees. This ends the meeting series early, while keeping a record of previous meetings.
Note: If you end the meeting series early, exceptions associated with the recurring meeting are lost.
Change the organizer
Outlook does not provide a way to change a meeting organizer. To change the meeting organizer of a recurring meeting, end the recurring meeting. To do this, set an earlier end date and send the update to all attendees. After you complete this step, the new organizer should create a new recurring meeting.
Avoid using a recurring meeting to share attachments
Attachments add to the complexity of recurring meeting exceptions. Each exception contains its own copy of the attachments. As exceptions are added to recurring meetings, new copies of the attachments are created. If you make changes to one set of attachments, these changes do not propagate to the other exceptions. If you require that all attendees have the most recent copy of changes for any given meeting, share the documents via a sharing service, such as OneDrive for Business.
Prevent inconsistencies in meeting notes
If you make a change to the meeting time, date, location or attendee list, and then attempt to save the meeting, Outlook only offers you two choices. Send the meeting update to all attendees or cancel the changes. This design ensures that the copy of the meeting is consistent for all attendees. However, the Notes field is not considered a critical field. Therefore, you can save changes to the Notes field without sending the update to all attendees.
Important: If you intended to use these as personal notes, any subsequent change that requires sending the meeting update will include the Notes content. To prevent accidental disclosure, store your notes elsewhere.
The same goes for meeting attendees. As a meeting attendee, you can also store your own notes in your copy of the meeting. However, if you accept a subsequent full meeting update from the organizer, your notes may be overwritten.
Avoid copying meetings
By design, Outlook removes any links between a copied meeting and the original meeting. This greatly contributes to preventing inconsistencies. Newer versions of Outlook add the text string "Copy:" to the subject. This makes it easy to identify meeting copies.
Actions related to copied meetings yield unexpected results, therefore avoid copying meetings. This applies to both meetings copied from another user's calendar, as well as those copied from another calendar folder that you own.
While it is possible to copy or move all events from one user's calendar into another user's calendar, this is not recommended. Results are inconsistent and the process does not work as expected, specifically in relation to attendees and organizers of the events.
Maintain devices that connect to your calendar
Make sure that any device that connects to your Calendar has all of the latest updates installed.
For specific mobile device best practices, view Microsoft 365 - Best Practices for Calendaring via Mobile Devices.
- Use the same client to assign permission. It is recommended that you use Outlook on the web.
- Limit the number of delegates (editor permissions). The more delegates you have, the more difficult it becomes to verify who modified an event on your behalf.
As an attendee
- Always respond to the organizer with your response. If you do not send your response back to the organizer, they will not be able to track your response. In other words, it will appear as though you have not responded even though you had accepted or declined the meeting request. Meeting organizers: The only way to know when (date/time) an attendee responded to your invitation, is to save the email message that includes the response they provided.
Updates are sent to all recipients for single and recurrence meetings when one of the following items is changed:
- Location field
- Message body
- Attendee *
- If the organizer or user editing the meeting is using Outlook on the web to add a new attendee(s) or remove an existing attendee(s), this will not trigger an email update to any of the remaining attendees, but only send the update to the newly added (or removed) attendee(s).
- If the organizer or user editing the meeting is using Outlook desktop client for Windows to add a new attendee(s) or remove an existing attendee(s), they will be prompted to send the update to all the remaining attendees or only to the added/removed attendee(s).
- If the organizer or user editing the meeting is using Outlook desktop client for Mac (old Outlook) to add a new attendee(s) or remove an existing attendee(s), all the remaining attendees will receive the update.
- If the organizer or user editing the meeting is using Outlook desktop client for Mac (new Outlook) to add a new attendee(s) or remove an existing attendee(s), this will not trigger an email update to any of the remaining attendees.
- Regardless of the client being use, the newly added or removed attendee(s) will always receive a notification of this change.
These updates are informational, and they do not require the remaining recipient(s)/attendee(s) to process (accept/decline/tentative) the change. These emails will automatically be placed within the “Deleted Items” folder of the recipient(s)/attendee(s). The attendee/recipient will need to open the specific event/meeting via calendar view to see the change.
Updates are sent to all recipients to be processed when one of the following changes occurs:
- Start/end date or time changes
- Recurrence pattern changes
- Instance of a recurrence pattern changes
- Instance or series cancellations
These updates require a response, and they do require the recipient to process (accept/decline/tentative). These emails will be placed within the “Inbox” folder of the recipients/attendees.
Shared calendars updates in Outlook for Windows
Microsoft has made major updates to the way Outlook for Windows connects to and updates shared calendars. These improvements are available to all Outlook 365 customers that are using the latest Monthly Enterprise Channel, Current Channel, or Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. Some changes/updates:
- Instant sync and view of shared calendars
- Editing series end date will not reset the past
- Accept a meeting without having to send a response
- No prompt about who to send an update to
- Can no longer add same calendar multiple times
- Duplicate calendars will simultaneously select
- Event drafts do not auto-save
- Download shared folders setting is ignored
- Automatic accept or decline
Important: Review complete list of changes/updates.