In her regular series for Cambridge Network members, software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'. This week she explains how to find the best time to schedule a meeting (Microsoft Outlook)...
Tame your computer - simple scheduling
Some time ago I wrote a tip on how to reply to a message with a meeting request, inviting everyone who was on the To line in the original message as “Required Attendees”, and everyone on the Cc line as “Optional Attendees”.
One of the steps is to click on the Scheduling button, but as I often notice people do not use this great functionality, missing out on a convenient way to check the availability of all those you want to invite, I felt a separate tip was justified. (And – to be honest – also because the other day I did what I often do …thinking I had sent a meeting request, only to find I had entered it as an appointment, forgetting to invite anybody else.)
1. Open the Calendar and click on the New Meeting button. (Or press CTRL + 2 followed by CTRL + N.)
2. Click on the Scheduling Assistant button.
3. Click in the box under your own name which reads Click here to add a name and type the name of the (first) person you want to attend the meeting.
4. If necessary, press CTRL + K or click on the Check Names button to make sure that it is possible to send the meeting request to the person you specified.
5. Repeat step 3 and 4 for all remaining attendees.
Depending on the setup of your network, a Scheduling diagram might show the availability and busy times of all attendees.
6. If free/busy data can be retrieved, select the desired date and time from the Suggested times box underneath the Date Navigator. Alternatively, drag the green and red borders in the Scheduling diagram to a suitable new date and time where everyone is available.
7. Click on the Appointment button and add a subject, location and any additional information, such links to the agenda stored on a shared drive and/or other reading material (rather than attachments).
8. Click on the Send button.
By the way, do you add reminders as appointments in your Outlook calendar? If so, be aware they go in as “Busy” (dark blue) which means that people might think you’re not available for a meeting they are trying to organise. If you used the appointment to set aside time to get your work done or to have dedicated time to clean-out and archive messages, update tasks, and adjust your schedule … excellent diary management! Otherwise, you might be better off using Outlook Tasks.
That's it for this week! If there are topics that you'd like to see covered in future items, please let me know.
Tip 412: Respond to an e-mail message with a meeting request
Tip 350: Set a date using plain English
Tip 297: Quickly book appointments or meetings longer than half an hour
Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.
1 May 2017