Manage Schedules

Outlook’s calendar helps you manage your meetings and appointments. This module explains how to create and manage the calendar and calendar items. You can work with multiple calendars and share your calendars with others. We’ll also look at how to create and manage tasks and notes in Outlook.

Create and Manage a Calendar

Adjust Calendar View

Open the calendar using the icon on the Folders pane.

Here’s how to view the calendar.

  1. Select the Calendar icon from the bottom of the Folders pane.
  1. Select Day, Work Week, Week or Month from the Home tab on the Ribbon.

Note that you can also drag the divider in the left pane, which now shows the current month, plus the next month.

Set Calendar Work Times and Time Zone

Control the start and end times shown on your calendar.

Here’s how to change the work hours.

  1. With the Calendar open, select the small square in the Arrange group on the Home tab of the Ribbon.
  1. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select the Start time from the drop down list.
  1. Select the End time from the drop down list.
  2. Select OK.
  3. Scroll down to the Time zones section and select a new Time zone from the drop down list.

Create Calendar Items

Create Calendar Items

You can create calendar items right from the calendar.

Here’s how to create a new appointment.

  1. Select the date and time on the Calendar pane where you want your appointment to start. Remember that you can always change it later.
  2. Select New Appointment from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  1. Enter the Subject for the appointment. This line will show on your calendar, depending on which view you show and how much space there is.
  1. Enter the location for the appointment. This line will show on the appointment or the peek, depending on how much space there is in your current view.
  2. The Start time defaults to the date and time you selected on the calendar, but you can change it. Click the calendar icon to select a new date. Click the down arrow next to the time to select a new time.
  3. Change the End date and time in the same manner. Or you can check the All day event box.
  4. In the bottom of the Appointment window, you can enter a description of the appointment or any notes. 
  5. To control how the appointment appears when other people are viewing your schedule (such as to schedule a meeting with you), select the Appointment tab from the Ribbon and select an option from the Show As drop down list.
  1. If you want to set a reminder to go off before the appointment, enter the amount of time from the Reminder drop down list.
  2. To set an Importance or Category, select the desired option from the Tags group.
  3. If you want to attach a file, select the Insert tab from the Ribbon. Select Attach File. The procedure is the same as attaching a file to an email.
  4. When all of the appointment details are ready, return to the Appointment tab of the Ribbon, and select Save and Close.

Create Recurring Calendar Items

Use the Recurrence option to create appointments that happen on a regular basis.

Here’s how to create a recurring appointment.

  1. In a new or existing Appointment window, select Recurrence from the Appointment tab on the Ribbon.
  1. The Appointment time details are pre-filled from the Appointment, but you can change the Start and End time, if necessary. 
  2. Select the Recurrence Pattern option. You can choose Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly.
  3. Enter the Recurrence pattern details, depending on which recurrence pattern option you chose:
    1. For Daily recurrence, enter the number of days between recurrences or select Every weekday.
  1. For Weekly recurrence, enter the number of weeks between recurrences and check the box for the day(s) of the week for the appointments.
  1. For Monthly recurrence, you can choose a date of the month or a recurrence based on a specific day of the week. In either case, also choose a number of months between recurrences.
  1. For Yearly recurrence, enter the number of years between recurrences and choose a date or a recurrence based on a specific day of the week in a specific month.
  1. Indicate the Range of Recurrence from the Start drop down list. You can choose No End Date or you can end after a certain number of times or on a certain date.
  2. Select OK.
  3. Complete the other Appointment details (such as reminder options and any additional information about the appointment) and select Save & Close.

Create Calendar Items from Messages

You can quickly create a calendar item from an email message.

Here’s how to create a calendar item from a message.

  1. In the Email view of Outlook (select the email icon in the left pane to return), drag the message for the appointment from the Messages list to the Calendar icon in the Folders pane.
  1. In the Appointment window, confirm the Subject and any other details for the appointment (just as for any other type of appointment). The email message is included for reference.

Respond to Invitations

When others send you appointment or meeting invitations, you can respond from the Message Reading pane.

Here’s how to respond to an invitation.

  1. Highlight the invitation in the Messages list in the Email view.
  2. Select one of the buttons to Accept, Tentative or Decline the invitation.
  1. Select Edit the Response before Sending to include more information with your response.
  2. A new Meeting Response window opens for you to finish the message. Adjust the recipients, Subject and message details as for any email message and select Send.
  1. Once you’ve responded, the message is removed from your Messages list and added to your calendar.

Manage Calendar Items

Update Calendar Items

You can change the subject of a calendar items right in the Calendar pane, or open the item to change other details.

Here’s how to change the appointment from the calendar pane.

  1. To change the subject, click on the appointment in the calendar pane. Click again on the text to activate it. You can now add or delete text and even highlight text and type over it.
  1. To change the duration of the appointment in the calendar pane, click on the appointment. Notice the handles at the top and bottom of the appointment. You can drag either handle up or down to change the duration of the appointment. The cursor changes to a double arrow pointing up and down while you change the duration.
  1. To move the appointment to a new date and/or time on the calendar pane, simply drag it to the new location. Notice the small square next to the cursor and the rectangle preview of the item you are moving, just as when you moved email messages.

Here’s how to edit the appointment details.

  1. When you click on the appointment in the calendar pane, the Calendar Tools Appointment tab becomes available on the Ribbon. You can set the same Busy/Free, Reminder, and Tags as when you created the appointment. You can also select Open or simply double-click the appointment to open it and make changes in the Appointment window.

Manage Reminders

Outlook can help you stick to your schedule with reminders.

Here’s how to use the Reminders window.

  1. Outlook opens a popup window at the scheduled time for a reminder set on one of your items. Outlook must be open to show the reminder, but it could be minimized while you are working in another application.

Highlight the desired appointment (if there is more than one displayed). Then you can either:

  • Select a time increment to receive another reminder. Click the down arrow next to Click Snooze to be reminded in, and select the time from the drop down list. Then select Snooze.
  • Select Open Item (or double-click the item) to see the appointment details, including any attachments.
  • Select Dismiss to close the Reminder for that item. If it is the only item in the Reminders window, the window closes.
  • If you have several items in the Reminders window (for example, if Outlook has been closed without providing reminders to more than one appointment), you can dismiss all reminders at once by selecting Dismiss All.

Forward Calendar Items

You can forward an appointment to someone else as a message or an iCalendar file.

Here’s how to forward an appointment. Use the following procedure.

  1. Open the appointment.
  2. On the Appointment/Meeting tab of the Ribbon, select Forward
  3. Select Forward to forward the item to someone else. Select Forward as iCalendar to forward the appointment as an attachment.
  1. Outlook opens a new message. Enter the address of the person you want to send it to, as well as any other message details, and select Send. The item is included as an attachment.

Work with and Share Multiple Calendars

Create a Blank Calendar

You can have multiple calendars to segregate certain types of appointments so that you do not have to view everything on your calendar at the same time. For example, you could have a birthdays calendar or separate work and personal calendars.

Here’s how to create a new blank calendar.

  1. In the Calendar view, select Open Calendar from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
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  1. Select Create New Blank Calendar.
  2. Enter a Name for the calendar.
  3. Select a location to store the calendar.
  1. Select OK.

Add an Internet Calendar

The Open Calendar command also allows you to connect to an online calendar, such as a Google calendar.

Here’s how to connect to an internet calendar.

  1. Find the link for the calendar you want to connect to. The location may look something like this example from Google calendar.
  1. Select all of the text for the link and copy it.
  2. In the Calendar view back in Outlook, select Open Calendar from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
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  1. Select From Internet.
  2. In the New Internet Calendar Subscription dialog box, paste the link.
  1. Select OK.
  2. Outlook contacts the Web server and asks if you want to subscribe to updates. Select Yes if you want to keep the internet version and the Outlook version in sync. You can select No if you want to download the current state of the internet calendar to Outlook and not update the internet version from Outlook.
  1. Outlook processes the calendar subscription and opens the calendar next to your existing calendar.

Manage and Display Multiple Calendars

You can display one or more calendars at a time, either side by side or stacked in one view.

Here’s how to display the calendar.

  1. In the left pane on the Calendar view, check the box for the calendar you want to display. Local calendars to the computer (the Outlook default calendar and any blank, new calendars you’ve created) are shown under My Calendars. Internet calendars are shown under Other Calendars. Calendars are shown side-by-side by default.

To hide the calendar, clear the check box.

You can click the arrow to the right of the calendar name to stack the calendars in one view (overlay mode). 

While the top calendar is active, any new appointments are added to that calendar. Click on the tab to activate a different calendar. Click the X in the tab to close a calendar.

Share a Calendar in an Email

You can send an invitation to subscribe to your calendar in an email message.

Here’s how to share a calendar.

  1. In the Calendar view, select Email Calendar from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
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  1. In the Send a Calendar via Email dialog box, select which calendar you want to share from the drop down list.
  1. Select the Date Range from the drop down list.
  2. Select the level of detail you want to share.
  1. Select OK.
  2. A new message opens with the iCalendar file attached. The message includes the date range and detail level you selected. Complete the message address(es) and any additional message details and select Send.

Delete a Calendar

You can remove a calendar you no longer want to use.

Here’s how to delete a calendar.

  1. Right click the calendar you want to remove in the calendar list.
  2. Select Delete Calendar.
  1. In the confirmation window, select OK.

Create and Manage Tasks and Notes

Create a Task

The Task view can help you keep track of items on your to do list.

  1. Select the Task icon from the bottom of the Folders pane.

Here’s how to create a new task.

  1. Select New Task from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  1. Enter the Subject for the task. This line will show on your task list and your To-Do Bar in other modes, depending on which view you show and how much space there is.
  1. The Start Date defaults to none, but you can change it. Click the calendar icon to select a new date.  Click the down arrow next to the time to select a new time.
  2. Change the Due date and time in the same manner.
  3. In the bottom of the Task window, you can enter a description of the task or any notes. 
  4. You can change the Status to provide additional information about the task. Just select a new Status from the drop down list.
  1. You can change the Priority to provide additional information about the tasks. Just select a new Priority from the drop down list.
  2. You can enter a number to represent the Percent Complete or use the up and down arrows to adjust the number.
  3. If you want to set a reminder to go off before the task is due, check the Reminder box and enter the amount of time from the Reminder drop down list.
  4. If you want to attach a file, select the Insert tab from the Ribbon. Select Attach File. The procedure is the same as attaching a file to an email.
  5. On the Tasks tab of the Ribbon, select Save and Close.

Change Task Views

Outlook includes a number of different views to help you manage your tasks.

Here’s how to change the view.

  1. Select an item from the Current View section of the Home tab on the Ribbon.

Manage Tasks

Manage your tasks from the Task view or by opening a task.

Here’s how to change the task details from the tasks pane.

  1. In the tasks list, click on the task in the tasks pane. Click again on the text to activate it. You can now add or delete text and even highlight text and type over it.

Here’s how to edit the task details by opening the task window.

  1. Double-click the task to open it.
  2. In the Task window, you can edit any of the details just as you did when you created the task.

Notice the warning if the task is due today.

  1. Select Save & Close from the Task tab on the Ribbon when you have finished.

Create and Manage Notes

You can make notes in Outlook.

Here’s how to create notes.

  1. Select the three dots icon from the bottom of the Folders pane and select Notes.
  1. Select New Note from the Home tab of the Ribbon.
  1. Begin typing.
  1. You can resize a note by dragging the bottom right hand corner to the new size.
  2. Select the X in the top right hand corner to close. Or you can press the ESC key.