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Rediscover the robust task management features in Microsoft Outlook 2010. Author Gini Courter explains the difference between Outlook tasks and To-Do Lists, and shows how to use Outlook 2010 to handle both business and personal schedules, from making appointments, to creating and completing tasks, to color-coding calendars and tasks for at-a-glance review.
So I have an Appointment to interview some new candidates and I'd like to invite somebody else to come help me. When I invite others to an Appointment, all of a sudden I have a meeting, because that's the difference; a meeting involves more people than simply myself. So I'm going to open up the existing Appointment for this New candidate interview and then I'm going to Invite Attendees. So if I know who I want to invite, I can simply go in and type their name. And I want to invite Judith to work on this with me, so I am going to simply drop Judith in here. And if I'd like to see when Judith is available, I want to be able to move this Appointment, then I can click on the Scheduling Assistant, and I can see that Judith is actually available here.
Now, what's happening is that Microsoft Outlook is going and asking the Exchange Server about Judith's information as soon as I added her to list here, and it starts filling in this section that's called the Room Finder. If this isn't showing, then on the Meeting tab in the Options Group if you click Room Finder, you'll see it. This is a combination of really two things. One is, if you use Rooms as schedulable resources in your organization, you might actually see them listed here in the Room Finder so that you could choose a Room that works.
But you can also think of this as availability finder, because what it's looking at right here is not anything to do with Rooms, what it's looking at is, when are the times that Judith would actually be available, and it will color code them. The more people you add, the more useful this becomes, because as I look at the Navigator I see that as long as I avoid the 19th and the 20th, the odds are pretty good that I'm going to be able to find a time that Judith can meet. If I go into January, it looks really, really good. And if I back up into November of course, it's great, because I can't set an Appointment in the past.
As I move to December, it will take a moment and then it will refresh this information. If you need to click in the Navigator, go ahead and do that, and notice it says, well, the 19th and the 20th don't look good. And because I have Delegate access to Judith's Calendar, I can see that because she's actually out of the office on those days. So I'll get a list that says there's a conflict here, Judith is not available if I look at the 19th or the 20th, but she would be available on the 21st, for example, there are no conflicts. And I'll be able to see the suggestions listed here in order.
So if I have days that there's some level of conflict, but that I could still hold an Appointment, those times will go further up on the top of the list. If I take a look back on my original date, on the 28th, for example, it says there's no conflicts if I hold this it at 12:30, if I hold this at 1 o'clock, but I would have a conflict later on in the day, and it won't even list, for example, starting at noon, because I'm not available and I'm the meeting organizer. The other thing you can do is, if you're trying to wedge a meeting in and you have a lot of different people and you really want to get them all at the meeting, you might find that having a meeting that lasts an hour 45 minutes is itself the problem, that if you were to choose a shorter duration, you could actually find more times.
So one of the things you could do is you could actually change this and say, well, I'm actually going to change this to a one hour meeting, for example. And then go back and click somewhere in the Date Navigator and the Room Finder here to have it refresh and show you, well, you do have some more times that are available to you as you trim the size of your meeting. So this Room Finder feature and the Scheduling Assistant make it really easy for me to find times that the greatest number of people are available when they have very, very complex schedules. Once I've invited Judith to the meeting, okay, that looks good, I'm going to go back, go back to the Appointment, it says the invitations have not been sent.
New candidate interview, My office, I'm going to go ahead and Send this off to Judith, and I will hear back from her at some point, she'll say, yup, I can do this or, no, I can't. Now, I actually have access to Judith's Calendar, so let's go see what this looks like. If I click and we look just at Judith's Calendar, what you'll find is that this meeting has not been accepted, but it's pinned to her Calendar. It's tentative, and I can tell that because the free busy status here is this stripe, which says it's tentative. The reason Microsoft Outlook does this is, if you imagine that a colleague is out of the office and you're trying to schedule a meeting with them, and you invite them to a 10 am meeting and somebody else does and somebody else does, and they come back and they're trying to sort all these meetings out.
By holding the space as a tentative meeting until the point where Judith accepts it or declines it, it makes it easier for other folks looking for a meeting time to actually find an appropriate meeting time. So if I go back into my Calendar now and I say I'd like to set up another meeting on that day and I want to invite Judith to the meeting, we'll go find her information. Notice that it tentatively says she is going to be in another meeting now, and it says this to anybody else who is looking for a time that they can meet with her. When Judith goes in and actually opens this appointment, then I'll get some information back that says she's willing to come to the meeting.
I am going to go-ahead and close this and throw it away. Let's go take a look now and see what's happening in Judith's Calendar and in Judith's Inbox so that you can see what it looks like for her to accept this Appointment. Here in Judith's Inbox there's a new meeting request waiting for Judith to take a look at it, when she opens it up it shows that Olivia is the meeting organizer, shows the Subject, and it has all of these possible responses. One is simply to Accept the meeting and she can Edit the Response before Sending it, which might be when will I get information on the candidates or something like that.
She can Send it or she can Accept it and Not Send a Response, which is not a good idea, because then Olivia won't have any way of knowing. She can say, you know, Tentatively I think I can be there. She can say, no, not going to happen, I can't, and normally in most organizations, if you Decline a meeting, you're asked to Edit the Response to say why you're declining the meeting. There is also way to Propose a New Time, and if you do, there's two possibilities here. One is that you're actually saying I Tentatively can come but I prefer a different time. And an example of this might be, I can tentatively do this, but could we start at 10:30 instead of 10.
Or I can't do this at all at the time you've suggested, but I could at this time, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, for example. Another possibility is that I simply want to send an e-mail back, I don't want to commit to this meeting until I know something more. So I could Reply and say, can you let me know more about this, or am I required, or could I send someone else to this meeting, that kind of a thing. Remember that as soon as this invitation hit my Inbox and Calendar it was marked as Tentative, to prevent other people from trying to over schedule me, particularly when I am out of the office and can't quickly turn around requests for meetings.
So what Judith is going to do, Judith is going to say, okay, I will Accept this and Send a Response Now. Now, this meeting is no longer Tentative here on my Calendar. When I take a look, when I Accepted it, its status changed to Busy. If this was being held out of the office, I would need to change my status to Out of Office myself, Outlook is not aware of where are meetings being held in that way, so it will always mark meetings that I've accepted as Busy, meetings that are waiting for me to accept them as Tentative, and of course when I decline a meeting, it simply Frees up the time on my Calendar.
This is a really easy system, because now if we take a look, we can see what Olivia is going to see in response to Judith having accepted this meeting request. We're back in Olivia's mailbox and she can see that Judith has accepted this request, so opens it up and says, okay, looks good, Judith has accepted the meeting, all grand. She can reply and say anything she wants to about this, but she doesn't need to, and I'm just going to go ahead and close this. Now, when I go to the Calendar and open up this interview, notice that there's a new choice here under Show, on the Meeting tab called Tracking.
From the time I invited Judith I had this Tracking available to me so I can view the Tracking status and it tells me that there is No response from me and that Judith has Accepted this meeting. I also have the ability to Copy all of these Statuses to the Clipboard in Microsoft Outlook 2010. This is sweet, and a lot of us had been asking for it for a while, the ability to Copy this, and then I can actually Paste this in the meeting so that I can see who said they're going to be there, who hasn't, or I can circulate it to others and say, if you're showing here as having not responded, please go ahead and make sure you respond to this meeting request.
So let's go back to the Appointment. If I needed to be able to change this time, I can. If I do that, then I can send an update to others. So if I change this time, for example, to start at 10:15 or at 9 o'clock, because a candidate needed a different time to start, I can then Send this Update. Notice that when I do for the new time, and I go back to my Tracking, that it shows that nobody has responded yet, and that's because no one has responded to the new time that I've just sent out. So this gets reset whenever I change the time or the date for my meeting.
And then I can wait and see what I hear from Judith, what I hear from anyone else who I had invited. So Microsoft Outlook provides me with an entire system for scheduling meetings, a way to see who's available, and an easy way to communicate my needs for the meeting with them, and to allow them to quickly and easily respond to meeting requests and have those items automatically put on their calendar. Finally a way to be able to update meetings or to delete meetings and communicate with everybody who is involved in that meeting so that it closes the loop, a total package for scheduling meetings in Outlook 2010.
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