How to Work With Meetings and Appointments in Outlook 2013

Graphic: Outlook 2013 meetings and appointments.

Since the majority of people use Outlook 2013 for business, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with appointments and meetings. Lucky for you, Outlook 2013 has a robust calendar that integrates tightly with email to give you a trouble-free way to schedule not only appointments for yourself, but meetings that include others and even send out invitations to attendees.

Getting appointments and meetings to play nicely with Outlook can be a pain if you don’t know some key features and tricks, so, here is everything you need to know about working with meetings and appointments inside of Outlook 2013.

Outlook's appointment tab.

Create an Appointment

The big difference between an appointment and a meeting is that an appointment applies only to you and a meeting applies to multiple people.

Creating an appointment is pretty straightforward.

  • Click on the Calendar tab at the bottom of the Outlook 2013 window and then view the calendar in Week view.
  • Click on the day and time you want the appointment to start.
  • Type the name of the appointment.
  • Hit Enter.

The Outlook 2013 ribbon will change and give you some options for your appointment, including:

  • setting a reminder
  • making the appointment recurring
  • whether you’ll show as busy to other people (if you’re using an Exchange server).

If you need to change the time or day of the appointment you can drag it to where it needs to be.

If you need to change the length of the appointment, just move your cursor to the bottom of the appointment and it will turn into a double-arrow cursor. Click and drag to make it the proper length.

Create a Meeting

Working with meetings is very similar to appointments, just with more people. Here’s how:

  • Make an appointment in the Outlook 2013 Calendar.
  • Click where you want the meeting to begin.
  • Type the title of the meeting.
  • Drag the edge until it is the proper length.
  • Click the Invite Attendees button in the Outlook 2013 Ribbon.

Outlook's Invite Attendees button.

This will bring up a window similar to an email window.

Meeting Invitations

Once you click the Invite Attendees button in the ribbon, you’ll see a new window that looks like a new email. Here’s what to do:

  • Enter the email addresses of the attendees in the To: field.
  • Enter a Location for the meeting. This can be a physical location or online, Skype, conference call, or screen share. Enter the location — but not the dial-in or URL location here.
  • Type out a Description for the meeting. This will be the meat of the email invitation the attendees will receive. This is where you place specific meeting information. It’s best to mention time, location, and topic again here.
  • Click Send. The invitation will be sent the same as a regular email.

Outlook's appointment  screen.

Depending on how your specific email is set up, you can actually pick specific buildings and rooms via the Room Finder in Outlook 2013. This is great because you can see times and days that a room is available and even how many people will fit into it. Obviously these need to be set up in the Exchange server prior to your appointment, but when used correctly they are amazing tools for meeting management.

Under the Attendees section of the ribbon you can adjust response options. Ideally you always want to require a response so possible attendees are required to say yes or no to the meeting.

You can also choose to allow or deny attendees to propose new times. If you’re sending to 1-2 people this option can be great and help the meeting to work best for everyone. If you’re sending to more than two people however, allowing people to suggest new times can cause a real mess, so it’s recommended to turn this off for larger meetings.

Response options menu.

You can set notification settings for the meeting as well, and these notifications will be applied to everyone that accepts the invitation. This is a great way to make sure everyone including yourself, remembers.

Recurrence menu.

Chairing a Meeting

This refers to managing the meeting invitations and location before the meeting starts and while it is taking place. Outlook 2013’s calendar gives you some pretty useful tools to do this. Once the invitations are sent out, you should start receiving notifications of people accepting or declining your meeting. To see who has responded and whether they will be in attendance or not select the meeting and click the Tracking button in the Outlook 2013 calendar ribbon.

You will see a list of invitees and their response. You can also add new attendees to the meeting on this screen as well.

Image of the meeting-tracking menu.

A great feature of creating meetings in Outlook 2013 is the ability to share meeting notes with Microsoft OneNote. This allows you to make notes for the group before the meeting starts, and to share notes that were taken during the meeting. You can also choose to take private notes as well. The notes feature is a great way to follow-up after the meeting, too.

If you need to make updates to the meeting before it occurs, you can do this and choose to send out new emails to attendees or not. If you’re simply fixing spelling or adding a new attendee, the other people probably don’t care, but if you’re changing the location, that’s a big deal. You can also cancel a meeting by right-clicking on the meeting in the Calendar and choosing Cancel Meeting.

Meeting options menu.

This will open up the same window you originally created the meeting with, but instead of a Send button, you get a Send Cancellation button. Make sure to type a new description saying the meeting is cancelled and then send it.

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