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Manage Scheduling in Microsoft Outlook 2016

Configure calendar item options

Appointments, events, and meetings share many common elements, and you use the same techniques to work with those options in all types of calendar items. The five options that you can configure for all items are:

  • Time zones You can specify the time zone in which an appointment, event, or meeting occurs. This helps to ensure that the start and end times are clearly defined when you’re traveling or inviting people in multiple time zones to an online meeting. You have the option of specifying different time zones for the start time and the finish time. This is useful when your “appointment” is an airplane flight with departure and arrival cities located in different time zones, and you want the flight to show up correctly wherever you’re currently located.
  • Availability When creating an appointment or event, you indicate your availability (referred to as Free/Busy time) by marking it as Free, Working Elsewhere, Tentative, Busy, or Out Of Office. The appointment or event is color-coded on your calendar to match the availability you indicate. Your availability is visible to other Outlook users on your network and is also displayed when you share your calendar or send calendar information to other people.

    The default availability for new appointments and meetings is Busy, and for events is Free.

  • Reminder By default, Outlook displays a reminder message 15 minutes before the start time of an appointment or meeting, or 12 hours before an event (at noon the preceding day). You can change the reminder to occur as far as two weeks in advance, or you can turn it off completely if you want to. If you synchronize your Outlook installation with a mobile device, reminders also appear on your mobile device. This is very convenient when you are away from your computer.

  • Recurrence If you have the same appointment, event, or meeting on a regular basis—for example, a weekly exercise class, a monthly team meeting, or an anniversary—you can set it up in your Outlook calendar as a recurring item. A recurring calendar item can happen at almost any regular interval, such as every Tuesday and Thursday, every other week, or the last weekday of every month.

    Configuring a recurrence creates multiple instances of the item on your calendar at the time interval you specify. You can set the item to recur until further notice, to end after a certain number of occurrences, or to end by a certain date. The individual occurrences of the recurring item are linked. When making changes to a recurring item, you can choose to update all occurrences or only an individual occurrence of the appointment.

    Recurring items are indicated on the calendar by circling arrows.

  • Privacy You can tag a calendar item as Private if you want to ensure that the details aren’t displayed when you share your calendar or send calendar information to other people.

    Private items are indicated on the calendar by a lock, and identified to other people as Private Appointment rather than by the subject.

You can specify time zones, your availability, the reminder time, and the recurrence, and mark an item as private, when you create the item. Alternatively, you can edit the item later and configure any of these options. The time zone can be specified only in the item window; the other options can be set on the item type–specific tab in the item window or the item type–specific tool tab that appears on the Outlook ribbon when you select an item on the calendar. In single-occurrence items, these tabs are labeled Appointment, Event, Meeting, or Invited Event. In recurring items, the tab names include Occurrence or Series to indicate whether you’re editing one or all occurrences of the item.

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Outlook evaluates recurring items and provides information

You can assign categories and importance to appointments, events, and meetings in the same way that you do to messages and other Outlook items. In some ways, categories are more useful in the Calendar than in other modules.

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Color categories provide information at a glance about your schedule.

To specify the time zone of an appointment or meeting

  1. Open the item window.
  2. On the Appointment or Meeting tab, in the Options group, click the Time Zones button to display the time zone controls in the Start Time and End Time rows. The time zone controls display the time zone your computer is currently set to.
  3. Click the time zone control that you want to change, and then click the time zone.

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    Set the time zones to ensure that the time is accurate from any location

To hide the time zone controls

  1. Select identical entries in the Start time and End time time zone controls.
  2. On the Appointment or Meeting tab, in the Options group, click the Time Zones button to remove the controls.

To modify an appointment, event, or meeting

  1. Display the calendar in the Day, Work Week, or Week arrangement of the Calendar view, with the appointment visible.
  2. In the calendar pane, click the item once to select it. Then do any of the following:

    • On the item type–specific tool tab, make any changes to the options or tags.
    • Drag the item from the current time slot to a new time slot.
    • Drag the top sizing handle to change an appointment start time.
    • Drag the bottom sizing handle to change an appointment end time.
  3. To open the item window, in which you can make other changes, do either of the following:

    • Press Enter.
    • On the item type–specific tool tab, in the Actions group, click Open.

To indicate your availability during an appointment, event, or meeting

  1. Open the item window, or select the item on the calendar.
  2. On the item-specific tab or tool tab, in the Options group, click the Show As list, and then click the availability.

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    The default availability for appointments is Busy

To change the default reminder for an appointment, event, or meeting

  1. Open the item window, or select the item on the calendar.
  2. On the item-specific tab or tool tab, in the Options group, click the Reminder list, and then click the time (or click None to have no reminder).

To create recurrences of an appointment, event, or meeting

  1. Open the item window, or select the item on the calendar.
  2. On the item-specific tab or tool tab, in the Options group, click the Recurrence button to open the Recurrence dialog box. The default recurrence is weekly on the currently selected day of the week.

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    When configuring a recurrence, you can change the times, days, and frequency from the Appointment Recurrence dialog box

  3. In the Recurrence dialog box, do any of the following:

    • In the End list, click the arrow and select an end time for the recurring meeting.
    • In the Recurrence pattern section, select how often you want the meeting to recur.
    • In the Range of recurrence section, select how many times you want to the meeting to occur, or select the last date you want the meeting to recur.
  4. Click OK in the Recurrence dialog box to replace the Start Time and End Time fields in the appointment window with the recurrence details.