Office 365 is the mainstay of thousands of offices.
Meaning both Outlook — and the Outlook calendar — are central to many companies’ cloud computing services. Still, few people know how to get the best out of the calendar feature despite its widespread use. If only you knew every function, you’d be able to manage your time more efficiently and get more from your Office 365 plan.
Today, we’re sharing 15 things you might not know you can do with your Outlook calendar. Ready?
1. Color-coordinate Your Calendars
When your days overflow with appointments, you can return a level of sanity by creating separate calendars for different parts of your life. That may mean using a green calendar for work appointments, orange for side-project-related affairs, and blue for anything personal: doing so can even help highlight when you’re devoting too much time to one particular area.
2. Use A ‘Work-week Only’ View
Or perhaps you want to eliminate the weekend from your work calendar altogether? You can do this by creating a ‘week-only’ view. Go into ‘Settings’ > ‘Calendar Appearance’ and choose which days of the week you want to see — suppose you only work Monday-to-Thursday, you can now set your calendar to reflect your working week.
3. Update Your Working Hours
For those who work less regular hours, you can also customize what time you start your day. Do this by clicking ‘Settings’ > ‘Set Your Working Hours,’ punch in the time you start and end, then your calendar will update its time-blocks to match your working hours.
4. Skip Between Calendar And Email
If you’re using your calendar, you’re probably using your email too. And it’s easy to skip between the two without clicking, just use these two shortcuts:
- Go To Mail: Ctrl+1 or Command+1
- Go To Calendar: Ctrl+2 or Command+2
5. Access Everything Online
Not everyone uses Outlook on their desktop, especially when out of the office. But it’s easy to set up a shortcut to access your information online.
- Click ‘File’
- Click ‘Info’
- Click the web address link to open it in the browser
- Bookmark the page
Hey presto, you have a shortcut to access your email — and your calendar — online.
6. Sync Your Details With Your Phone
Let’s face it. We all do less on computers these days as smartphones take over. That’s especially true for email and schedule management, making calendar access essential on your phone. No sweat: simply go into your phone settings, select ‘Add an Outlook account,’ then enter your details to sync email, calendar, and all.
7. Share A Calendar With Colleagues
When you’re working with a group, it can help to work with a shared schedule. One way to do that is to create a new calendar per project and grant the relevant people access. Just click the name of the new calendar and select ‘Sharing Permissions’ — from here, you can enter the email addresses of anyone who needs to see it.
8. Let Others Access Your Calendar
What if you’re out-of-office, but you still need someone to manage your schedule? That’s easily done by granting temporary access to a colleague.
- Click ‘Tools’ > ‘Accounts’
- Find the account to give access, then click ‘Advanced’
- Select ‘Delegates’ to set permission levels
A few things to note: you can only do this from the desktop app. While you can only delegate permission to someone who uses the same version as Outlook as you.
Plus, you’ll need to store items on an Exchange server to make sure they are accessible.
9. Turn An Email Chain Into A Meeting
Unwieldy email chains often signal, ‘It’s time for a meeting.’ Instead of manually scheduling one with an entire group, why not ‘Reply All’ with a meeting request? All you have to do is select the dropdown next to ‘Reply’ and hit ‘Reply All By Meeting’ — it’s a quick-fire way of inviting everyone in the ‘To’ line as ‘Required Attendees’ while those in ‘CC’ remain ‘Optional.’
10. Turn A Note Into A Calendar Item
If you’re the kind of person who likes hiding a to-do list in their notes, this feature’s for you. You can quickly turn a series of notes in OneNote into scheduled tasks in your calendar — with deadlines, reminders, and all — making you a little less likely to forget where you wrote the list in the first place.
11. Let Others Schedule Meetings From Your Email Signature
If you know people will want to meet you, remove the back-and-forth availability chat by adding a link to a scheduling app like Calendly, right in your email signature. Calendly lets you set your preferred meeting times and duration while hiding the details of all your other appointments — and any meeting in its calendar syncs straight to your Outlook schedule.
12. Help Others See Your Timezone
Nothing makes it harder to schedule a meeting than an awkward timezone; with this calendar feature, you can make life simpler for all. If you’re working remotely, traveling, or talking with clients across the globe, you can display a timestamp of your local time across both email and your calendar, keeping everyone in the loop if it’s night or day where you are.
Just hit ‘Settings’ > ‘Calendar’ — and from the menu bar on the left-hand side, hit ‘General’ before picking your ‘Region and Timezone.’
13. Keep Track Of The Timezones Of Others
Letting people know your timezone is one thing.
Alas, if only others were so forthcoming. But even if someone doesn’t share their timezone: if you know where they’re based, you can still track their local time.
- Click ‘File’ > ‘Options’
- Click ‘Calendar’ > ‘Timezones’
- Check ‘Show A Second Timezone’
Now label the second timezone with a name, then confirm the local time: no more guessing if it’s day or night, the time is right there in front of you.
14. Avoid The Timezone Headache Completely
Why not eliminate the timezone headache once-and-for-all when apps like Calendly handle it so well? Calendly shares your availability in the meeting requestor’s local time, meaning they’ll only book a slot that suits you both — no more burning the candle at both ends or needless back-and-forth, just a meeting time that works for all.
15. Sync Outlook And Google Calendars
If you’re a Gmail enthusiast, but work has you buried in Outlook, you have a guardian angel. Zapier lets you sync two apps, helping you connect your Office 365 and your Google calendars so that you no longer have to copy one event into the other — thanks to the Zapier integration, every meeting will always appear in both, as if by magic.
Get More With Cloud Computing Services
Cloud-based IT services like Office 365 offer the flexibility and variety that modern-day businesses need, but there’s plenty more to the cloud than Microsoft’s productivity suite.
If you’re looking for more office 365 support, give Mid-coast Tech a call on 207-223-7594 — we can give you free advice on the right Office 365 plan for you.