A-to-Z Index

Exchange Calendaring Best Practices

Everyday Best Practices:

  • Note: Outlook 2011 users must have permissions at the level of “reviewer” or higher in order to view a calendar. Permissions at the Free/Busy level will not allow users to add the calendars to their calendar listing. Instead, they will only be able to see the calendar when using the scheduling assistant for a specific appointment.
  • Try to deal with appointments in the inbox, rather than in calendar view, but regardless, respond to all requests for one meeting the same way no matter what or how many devices it appears on.
  • Always act on a meeting invite by clicking on Accept, Tentative, or Decline.
  • Always send a response otherwise the organizer won’t know if you plan to attend or not.
  • Do not interact with a calendar request after is has been processed. Moving or deleting accepted/declined requests can result in deletion or corruption of the calendar event.
  • Outlook creates tentative calendar appointments that are not recognized as such in Outlook on the web. Accepting a meeting in Outlook on the web that was modified in Outlook will result in lost changes. Instead, accept the meeting request from within Outlook. Subsequent changes can be safely made from Outlook on the web.
  • Do not make personal notes in meetings as an attendee. Doing so will result in lost notes if a meeting is updated by the organizer.
  • Do not delete meetings from your calendar. Once you accepted a meeting and you are no longer able to participate do not delete the meeting from your calendar!
    • If you are not going to participate in a meeting that you previously accepted please use the "Decline" button to send the meeting cancelation message.
    • Accept meeting cancellations.  If you receive a meeting cancellation message, open the message and click on the "Remove from Calendar" button.

Recurring Meeting Best Practices:

  • If creating a recurring appointment, try to schedule only 6-12 months (if the appointment occurs every month).  Always assign an end date to a recurring series.
  • Send updates for all meeting instances/changes/etc. This is needed, and not an annoyance.  Since Exchange views these as “special” mail, the message must be sent for the changes to be processed on all attendees’ calendars.
  • Do not frequently change recurring meetings. Due to the way various clients process meeting requests, and the latency involved with different attendees accessing their calendars, meetings can easily become lost, mis-scheduled, or duplicated within a client after repeated updates. If a recurring meeting regularly changes time or location, cancel the meeting for all attendees and create a new meeting per occasion. If you, as the meeting organizer, are ending a recurring series of meetings, open the meeting on your calendar, set a new end date, and then send an update. This keeps the past meetings on everyone's calendars, but future occurrences after the end date are removed.  Please note, when you change the end date to a recurring meeting, any occurrences in the series that had been moved or changed prior to the end date will be moved back in accordance with the series retroactively.
  • Deleting a recurring meeting as organizer.  Do no delete the meeting from your calendar. In order to delete a recurring meeting you will need to open the series (if you open the occurrence you will cancel only that occurrence) and click on "Cancel Meeting”. Be sure to send the update to all attendees. *All occurrences of this meeting will be deleted.
  • Recurring Meeting Exceptions. A recurring meeting exception is an occurrence that is modified (date/time)at some point separate from the series. This occurrence (or exception) will no longer correspond to the recurrence pattern.

Mobile Device Best Practices:

  • Respond to all meeting requests that are in the inbox. Do not delete the request, even if you are sure you responded to it in Outlook on your computer.  Doing so can cause the meeting to be deleted, and a response will not be sent to the organizer, leading them to believe that you are still attending.  Always accept/decline a meeting invitation using the "Send a response" or "Edit the response" options.  Do not use the "Do not send a response" option.
  • Manual Sync often. When using a smart phone, calendar items may not update during a normal sync, especially if the invite was accepted in Outlook before the invite shows up in the device's Inbox  Doing a manual sync periodically of the calendar will force the device to pull down any new data since the time of the last manual sync.

Delegate Best Practices:

  • Have as few delegates as possible, preferably none. Delegates increase the potential for problems by introducing another variable into the equation.
  • A manager and their delegates should all have the same version of Outlook, including patch level. Microsoft recommends a minimum of Outlook 2010 fully patched, with a preference to Outlook 2013/2016 for Windows users, and Mac OS users should be using Outlook 2011 or 2016 for Mac.
  • Only allow one user for each mailbox to receive and process meeting requests.


Other Resources consulted: