Supercharge Your Outlook Calendar With These 15 Tips & Tricks calendar tips

Updated Oct 3rd, 2023 by   Nicolas Zenker

Microsoft Outlook is a major part of today’s workplace. It can help users prioritize and respond to emails, keep track of their schedules, and even organize reminders, contacts, and to-dos. It makes sense that if you’re using Outlook in your everyday life, spending a bit of time to learn about all of its features is a worthwhile investment. 

In particular, Outlook’s calendar features boast many functionalities, some you may be familiar with, and some that may surprise you. A well-organized and well-structured calendar can dramatically boost your productivity and efficiency, so it’s critical you get the most out of yours.

To help you out, we’ve brought together this handy list of calendar tips and tricks that will help supercharge your Outlook calendar. From importing calendars to facilitating communication with your coworkers and more, we’ll help make sure your calendar is working for you. 

1. How to share an Outlook calendar 

Sharing an Outlook calendar with your coworkers can be a great way to quickly and clearly communicate the details of your schedule, all while getting everyone (literally) on the same page. The good news is it’s pretty easy to do:

  1. In Outlook, you’ll select Calendar, and then Share Calendar.
  2. If you have multiple calendars to choose from, select the one you want to share. 
  3. Select Add, and then click on the people you’d like to share the calendar with.
  4. Then you’ll select OK. At this point, you’ll also have the option to adjust each added user’s permission level. 

And just like that, you’ve figured out how to create a shared Outlook calendar with your coworkers or anyone else. 

2. How to Export an Outlook calendar

Exporting an Outlook calendar can be a valuable tool if you’re working with someone who doesn’t have access to Outlook — whether that’s a contractor, a freelancer, or another company entirely. 

  1. In Outlook, select Calendar, and then choose the calendar that you want to export. 
  2. Select File, and then Save Calendar
  3. You can use the default name for the calendar or rename it now by typing a new name in the File name box. 
  4. By clicking on More Options, you can adjust the Date Range for the calendar, or click Specify dates to enter a specific date range. 
  5. When you’re satisfied with these adjustments, you’ll click OK, and then Save.

Now your Outlook calendar will be accessible as a file that you can send to others, or upload to other calendar services, just like AddEvent.

3. How to add a Google Calendar to Outlook

Sometimes you need to move information the other way. Importing a Google calendar into Outlook might be a little bit more complex than exporting an Outlook calendar, but it’s still pretty simple if you know the steps.

And that’s great news because many people’s first instinct is just to manually copy the entries from one calendar and paste them into another — talk about a waste of time! To export your Google calendar, just follow these steps: 

  1. Select Calendar, then My Calendars, then Settings
  2. Click on Export calendars and then select a location where you want the file to be saved. 
  3. Go to that location in your files and unzip the file by right-clicking on it and clicking Extract All.
  4. Locate the calendar file and save it wherever you want it to be located.

From there, you’ll take this calendar file and import it into Outlook. Here’s how you can do that: 

  1. Open your Outlook calendar and ​​select File, then Open & Export, then Import/Export
  2. Select Import an iCalendar (.ics) or vCalendar file, and then click Next
  3. Find the extracted calendar file wherever you saved it (make sure to pick the file that ends with and then select OK.

*Note: this shortcut will only work on the desktop version of Outlook, not the Outlook Web App. 

4. How to create a new calendar in Outlook

Knowing all the fanciest tricks to get the most out of your calendar isn’t worth much if you can’t quickly and easily create a new calendar to meet your evolving needs. Follow these simple steps to create as many new calendars as you need:

  1. In Calendar, locate the Folder tab.
  2. Under the New group, select New Calendar.
  3. Type a name for your new calendar in the Name box. 
  4. Finally, in the Select where to place the folder list, you’ll click Calendar and then OK.

From there, you’ll be able to access your new calendar in Outlook’s Calendar Navigation Pane. 

Now you’ve just set up your new calendar and need to make sure your coworkers have access to it – time to jump back to tip #1 to refresh yourself on how to share an Outlook calendar. 

5. How to set up calendar groups in Outlook

If you’re working with a lot of different calendars, it can be great to sort them into groups based on different departments, projects, and even access levels. Fortunately, Outlook offers the perfect feature for just that need: Calendar Groups. 

Creating a Calendar Group is simple. All you’ll need to do is:

  1. Go to your Calendar navigation pane in outlook, and in the Home tab, in the Manage Calendars group, select Calendar Groups.
  2. Select Create New Calendar Group, name your new Calendar Group, and then click OK

To add an existing calendar to one of your calendar groups, you can simply go to Outlook’s Calendar navigation pane and then drag the calendar you want to add to the group that you want to add it to. 

6. How to make an Outlook calendar private

Marking a meeting or an appointment in Outlook as private can be a useful trick to know, allowing you to hide some of a meeting’s details from other parties. The same is true of making a calendar itself private — you can keep details of meetings and processes private, granting access only to individuals directly involved with the project you’re tracking. If you import your calendar to AddEvent, you can maintain the privacy of the calendar by adding a passcode to the calendar landing – here’s how!

If you’re wondering how to make an Outlook calendar private, it’s probably easier than you think. All you’ll have to do is:

  1. Click the Calendar icon in the Outlook navigation pane.
  2. Select the specific calendar that you want to hide, and then click on the three dots next to that calendar’s name.
  3. Select Sharing and Permissions.
  4. Next to the option People in my organization, select Not Shared to keep information private.
  5. Your changes will save automatically when the window is closed. 

7. Schedule blocks of time with no meetings

Productivity isn’t always about cramming as many meetings as possible into a day — sometimes, it’s about knowing when to step back and give yourself the space you need to complete a project or task.

When coworkers have access to your Outlook calendar, it’s easier than ever to communicate in advance when you expect to be unavailable or when you need time to yourself to hunker down and focus. On your calendar, you can easily label chunks of time when you’re unavailable for meetings and other tasks.

Similarly, you can clearly indicate on your calendar when you have out-of-office (OOO) time. Imagine you have a non-work appointment or task that regularly comes during business hours. In that situation, you can even create recurring OOO time on your calendar, which will help keep coworkers in the know about your availability. Here’s how to do that:

  1. In Outlook, open a meeting that you’d like to set as recurring.
  2. In the Meeting tab, click Recurrence
  3. Choose the desired frequency, and click OK

8. Integrate your business contacts directly into Outlook

You probably haven’t been using Outlook for the entirety of your professional life, so it stands to reason you have some business contacts that aren’t in Outlook. And when you meet new business contacts, individually inputting their information into Outlook can be a hassle.

Fortunately, the platform offers an easy solution. By integrating your Outlook calendar with your contact list you can make sure all of your business contacts are safely stored in Outlook, where you’ll have easy access to them. 

If you’re happier taking things one by one, you can easily add individual contacts to Outlook from your email messages in Office 365. Just open an email message, right-click on the name of the contact you’d like to add, and then select Add to Outlook Contacts

9. Keep better track of your time with automatic workflows

Keeping track of your time isn’t just about making sure you get everything done that you need to in a given workday. It can also be a great way to help optimize your workload and make sure you’re being as productive as possible. In other words, if you know how long particular tasks usually take, you’ll be better equipped to effectively manage your time. 

If you’ve got a time-tracking app that you like to use to stay on task, for example Clockify, you can sync it up to your Outlook calendar and create an automatic workflow. Whenever a particular blocked-off piece of time in your calendar starts, your time-tracking app will automatically begin to time how long it takes you to complete it — ultimately giving you a better picture of how you can get the most out of every minute. 

10. Make meeting prep easier than ever

When your week’s crowded with meetings, it can sometimes be a challenge to make sure you’re fully prepped for all of them. The good news is that you can easily integrate your Outlook calendar with whatever task management tool works best for you. That way, you’ll get reminders about when to put in a little bit of preparation time throughout the week, making it just another part of your day’s to-do list. 

11. Cross-post between calendars

Let’s face it — you probably manage multiple calendars on a daily basis. From personal calendars to a variety of work calendars, it can be difficult keeping track of when potential meetings and tasks can overlap. That’s why finding a simple way to guarantee your calendars are synced up is critical.

Fortunately, Outlook makes it easy to cross-post between calendars with its Copy To My Calendar Feature. (Note that new events and meetings are usually automatically added to your default calendar in Outlook.) To take advantage of this trick, just follow these simple steps:

  1. In Calendar, open whatever non-default calendar that you want to add the meeting or appointment to. 
  2. Select Home, and then New Appointment
  3. Create the appointment that you want and then save it by clicking the Save button in the Quick Access Toolbar
  4. Finally, select Appointment, and then Copy to My Calendar

Even better, if you import your calendar to AddEvent and use Outlooks Copy To My Calendar feature, all of your new appointments/events are automatically synced to save you time.

12. Keep your coworkers up-to-date

When it comes to working together, it’s critical that everyone’s on the same page and kept in the loop with the latest information. But with a busy schedule, it can be difficult to communicate well. 

The great news is that with your Outlook calendar, you can automatically send messages in whatever chat app you and your coworkers use whenever there’s a meeting coming up. It’s one of the best ways to guarantee that no one misses a meeting. 

13. Get your priorities straight

Your Outlook calendar can crowd up fast, and that can make it difficult to determine which tasks are urgent and which can wait. Setting up a quick system for yourself — it could be as simple as labeling each calendar entry on a scale from 1 to 3 in terms of importance — and sticking to it can help you prioritize your daily and weekly tasks, so you always know what you need to do next.

On a similar note, Outlook’s Categorize feature will let you easily label and color-code items all across the platform — though the feature is extra handy when it comes to organizing your calendar. You’ll be able to create categories and assign calendar entries to them, making it easier than ever to prioritize events and tasks. 

14. Create events from your email

If you’re like us, we are constantly receiving emails daily. Sometimes, when juggling emails, calendar invites, and chat, it’s easy to forget to put events that come through via your email on your calendar. Instead of racking your brain to make sure you add it, you can automatically create these calendar events from your email! The whole process on this is to go to Settings > Calendar > Events from Email. At this point in time, there are four types of events supported: package deliveries, flight reservations, hotel reservations, and rental car reservations. 

15. Take advantage of a calendar management tool

Maybe the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your Outlook calendar is to take advantage of an integrated calendar management tool like AddEvent.

AddEvent unlocks even more functionalities to supercharge your Outlook experiences – from easily sharing events to collecting RSVPs, AddEvent has a solution for your needs. If you have multiple events that your team needs to attend, like team meetings or employee resource groups, allowing team members to subscribe to your calendar makes everyone’s lives easier! Lastly, importing your Outlook calendar into AddEvent to easily share your events will allow for higher event attendance.

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