Best Practices - Outlook Calendar
Outlook, Best Practices (WIP)
Calendars under Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016
The following section will detail the recommended settings and procedures for securing or sharing your Office calendar.
Outlook calendar's have several security settings that enable or disable access to other users. By default, your calendar settings should be set to Free/ Busy Time. This means that other users trying to access your calendar can see the time blocks of your appointments, but not the details.
To access your Calendar Permissions, open your Outlook program and select the Calendar section.
Right-click on "Calendar" under the heading My Calendars. It should be located on the left side of the screen.
- Select Calendar Permission on the Ribbon
- At the top, there will be a user named Default, followed by a permission level. It
should be set to Free / Busy Time.
In the event that your Default setting is not set to Free / Busy Time:
1. Left-click Default.
2. Underneath, there will be a drop-down menu that lists all available permission levels, from Reviewer to Editor. Select "Free / Busy Time" from the list, then click Apply.
Sharing your calendar allows other users to see your schedule. Depending on the level
of access, they can view, modify, or add calendar appointments for you. This is a
two-step process. It involves the person sharing the calendar, and the person receiving
To grant access to your calendar, you must add users to your Permissions group. Follow the steps under Permissions to access your calendar settings. Then:
- Click Add...
- In the new window that appears, search for the name of the user(s) you're adding in the search bar.
- Click their name, and click Add. When you are finished adding users, click OK.
- The users will appear in your Permissions group. You can then assign access levels
based on how much control you wish to give.
Once the user's permissions have been set, your calendar can be shared. The user will have to add the calendar under his Outlook program by doing the following.
- In the Calendars sections of Outlook, under the Manage Calendars subsection, click
- Click From Address Book...
- In the Address Book window, find the user who has given you access to their calendar.
(The below example has blanked out the users list. You will see users sorted by last
- Add users by clicking on them and clicking the Calendar button.
- When you are finished, click OK.
- The user's calendar will now show up under a new subheading called Shared Calendars.
If you're using the Office 365 Web version of the Outlook Calendar, your customization is limited. You can see the effective permissions of added users, and the default access for everyone else. You cannot add new user permissions from the Web version. ETSUITS recommends using the Outlook program as your default mail client.
PSTs (also known as Personal Folders) are collections of email that have been taken off the mail server. In the past, this was to conserve inbox space.
With the introduction of the new inbox space limit (50GB), this storage method has
been deprecated. Still, you may have one or more PSTs on your local computer.
To view the contents of PSTs, you must attach them to your Outlook mailbox. Here's how.
1. Under Outlook, Click File.
2. Click Open & Export...
3. Click "Open Outlook Data File"
4. Navigate to the location of your PST. In most cases, it'll be in a folder called Outlook Files under your Documents folder. If you have trouble finding your PST files, please contact the Help Desk for assistance.
5. Once you find the PST file, select it and click Open.
The PST file will now be displayed under your Outlook Mailbox as a separate entity, either called Archives, or Personal Folders.
1. In Calendar, click the Home tab.
2. In the New group, click New Appointment. Alternately, you can right-click a time block in your calendar grid and click New Appointment.
1. In the Subject box, type a description.
2. In the Location box, type the location.
3. Enter the start and end times.
Appointments are activities that involve you, and not other people. Appointments can be a single occurrence or a repeating occurrence. Appointments may be created, modified, recur, set to private and setting may be enable to remind the owner.
What is a Delegate in Outlook? A Delegate is a mailbox assistant. A Delegate sends and receives mail, meeting request and responds as he or she were you. This level of sharing Outlook mail and calendars go beyond the typical shared calendars between co-workers.
As the person granting permission, you determine the level of access that the delegate has to your folders. You can grant a delegate permission to read items in your folders or to read, create, change, and delete items. By default, when you add a delegate, the delegate has full access to your Calendar and Tasks folders. The delegate can also respond to meeting requests on your behalf. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Allow-someone-else-to-manage-your-mail-and-calendar-41c40c04-3bd1-4d22-963a-28eafec25926 for more information.
What are the delegate permission levels?
Reviewer - With this permission, the delegate can read items in the manager's folder.
Author - With this permission, the delegate can read and create items, and change and delete items that he or she creates. For example, a delegate can create task requests and meeting requests directly in the manager's Task or Calendar folder and then send the item on the manager's behalf.
Editor - With this permission, the delegate can do everything that an Author has permission to do and additionally can change and delete the items that the manager created.
If you want to grant Delegate permissions for the Inbox, Calendar and Contacts folder in one go, the Delegates dialog allows for setting the permissions on multiple folders.
However, by doing so, you also grant these people the permission to send out emails on your behalf (via the From field), which often isn't desired. This is the main thing to be aware of.
When you add someone as a Delegate, you only have a limited amount of permission sets to choose from:
- Reviewer (can read items)
- Author (can read and create items)
- Editor (can read, create, and modify items)
You are free to fine-tune these permissions on a per-folder basis afterwards if that fits your needs better. For instance to only show the subject and location in your Calendar or grant someone "Contributor" or "Nonediting Author" permissions.
To open the Delegates dialog:
- Outlook 2007 and previous
- Tools-> Options...-> tab Delegates
- Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
- Select the Inbox folder of your Exchange account.
- File-> Account Settings-> Delegate Access
Delegates may send items on your behalf, including creating and responding to meeting requests.There is a general setting in the main Delegates dialog to control whether or not you will still receive these messages yourself as well. In addition, you can also control whether or not a delegate will receive these messages on a per-delegate basis.
- Delegate Permissions - Delegate receives copies of meeting-related messages sent to me.
You can override the default setting for processing meeting requests and responses for each delegate that you configure.
Delegate permissions are also required when you want to grant your colleague the permission to see items which are marked as Private. You can grant this permission in the Delegate Permissions dialog of each delegate.
There is no way to grant this permission on a per-folder basis.
Fine tune Delegate permissions with the Folder permissions dialog box.
Limit the number of delegates to ONE.
Outlook does not limit the number of delegates that you can add. However, we recommend that you only grant Editor permissions to one (1) delegate. This allows you to track when and how a meeting was processed. Considering the fact that a delegate can use multiple devices to access your data, having many delegates with Editor permissions makes it very difficult to determine why meetings are missing or out of date.
Even if you grant Editor permissions to one delegate but want many folks to see your calendar, Best Practice is to share the calendar with others, rather than adding several Delegates. A large numbers of delegates may exhaust other resources and slow down processing. For example, the size limit for rule data may be reached. When you add a delegate, various changes take place:
- Outlook applies permissions to relevant folders.
- The Public Delegates Active Directory attribute is updated to add "Send on Behalf of" permissions to the delegate.
- Outlook adds the delegate to a forward rule on the manager's mailbox. This forwards meeting requests to the delegate.
- Outlook saves additional delegate information in the manager's mailbox.
Each of these component areas may have different limits. Nearing these limits can affect performance and stability.
If you have assigned permissions to a delegate so that he or she can access your Outlook folders, you can hide personal information in appointments, meetings, tasks, and contacts. Open each personal item, and on the Calendar Tools tab, in the group, click Private.
Note: If the delegate with Editor permissions must be replaced either temporarily or indefinitely, change the permissions from Editor to Reviewer or none. Then, grant Editor permissions to the new or backup delegate.
Although Outlook and Outlook for Mac cannot detect whether the manager and delegate use earlier versions of the email clients, we recommend that the manager and all delegates use Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016 for Mac, or Outlook for Mac 2011. By doing this, you improve calendar reliability. We recognize that users who cannot upgrade to the same version of Outlook at the same time may have to run in a mixed environment that combines older versions of Outlook or Outlook for Mac.
The Folder Permissions tab gives you more control than the Delegates dialog. Many folks in a department may share their calendars on limited viewing or limited editing level. When you would like to grant permissions to other default folder or sub-folders, you'll need to set this via folder-level permissions as well.
Permissions which you set for a folder aren't directly inherited by sub-folders; you'll have to specifically set them on any sub-folder as well if you want to allow access to it. However, when you create a new sub-folder, any permission that is set on the parent folder will automatically be set on this new sub-folder as well. Also, note that to enable sharing of Sub-Folders (calendars), the parent folder (calendar) must also be shared.
Note: If you want to let someone know about a meeting, but not invite them, simply drag the meeting request from your calendar to the Mail icon on the lower left side of Outlook. This opens an email with information about the meeting that you can send out. Note that this email doesn't add the recipient(s) to the meeting, and it only contains meeting information such as date, time, subject, and agenda.
- Process all meeting requests and cancellations. Although you can delete a meeting request directly from your Inbox, you should properly process the meeting request by either accepting or declining it.
- Always use the Remove from Calendar command to process meeting cancellations from your Inbox. Avoid processing meetings directly from the Calendar module.
- Working with recurring meetings
- Set end dates and limit the number of occurrences
Outlook makes it easy to schedule a meeting that has multiple regular occurrences. We recommend that you always set an end date and limit the recurring series to a specific number of occurrences. Most likely, recurring meetings will require modifications at some point. For example, attendees will be added to or removed from a single occurrence, or the meeting location or time will change due to vacation dates or unforeseen circumstances. Outlook saves each of these unique changes as a meeting exception. Meetings with a very large number of exceptions result in a meeting series that is difficult to manage. Additionally, it can introduce unexpected behavior. You can always create a new meeting series when the current one ends. When thinking about the number of occurrences, consider the frequency. In the period of a year, a twice weekly meeting will have about 90 more occurrences than a monthly meeting during that same period.
Although you can cancel a recurring meeting, a better option is to change the end date for the series. This allows you and the attendees to keep a record of the meetings that occurred in the past. If you cancel the recurring meeting altogether, that history is lost. The best option is to set a new end date and then send the update to all attendees. This ends the meeting series early, while keeping a record of previous meetings.
Note: Avoid using a recurring meeting to share attachments.
Attachments add to the complexity of recurring meeting exceptions. Each exception contains its own copy of the attachments. As exceptions are added to recurring meetings, new copies of the attachments are created. If you make changes to one set of attachments, these changes do not propagate to the other exceptions. If you require that all attendees have the most recent copy of changes for any given meeting, share the documents via a sharing service, such as OneDrive. Enterprise users can take advantage of SharePoint or other shared file server on the network.
Best practices for using Outlook and Outlook Web App
Reading, writing, and organizing email is a big part of everyone's day. Both Outlook and Outlook Web App (OWA) offer offline support. Using an email app on your smart phone is another useful alternative. Use the following options that best fit your needs:
Upgrade to Outlook 2013 SP1 or later for substantial performance improvements over previous versions.
Outlook Web App lets you create offline messages, contacts, and calendar events that are uploaded when OWA is next able to connect to Office 365. For more information about setting up and using OWA in offline mode, see Using Outlook Web App offline.
Outlook lets you work in cached mode, in which it automatically connects whenever possible. You can have Outlook download your entire mailbox, or just a portion of it. For more information, see Turn on Cached Exchange Mode and Change how much mail to keep offline.
Outlook also offers an offline mode. To use this, you must first set up cached mode so that information from your account is copied down to your computer. In offline mode, Outlook will try to connect using the send and receive settings, or when you manually set it to work online. For more information, see Work offline to avoid data connection charges, Change send and receive settings when you work offline, and Switch from offline to online mode.
If you have a smart phone, you can use it to triage your email and calendar over your phone carrier's network.
Note: If disk space is not an issue on your device, Outlook desktop software has a full set of features and might work best for you. If disk space is an issue on your device, consider using OWA which has a subset of features, but also works best in an online situation. Of course, you can use either and both because they work well together.