Calendar updates in Outlook for Windows gives you time back

Published Apr 29 2019 02:00 PM 25.7K Views

We've made updates to the Calendar in Outlook for Windows to help you effectively manage your most valuable resource, your time. We listened to your suggestions and made improvements so you can schedule meetings faster and easier and better personalize your experience. All the enhancements are available today to Monthly Channel Office 365 subscribers!


Creating a new meeting just got easier 


Meeting form

In the meeting form, you can now choose Required or Optional attendees; you no longer need to switch to Scheduling Assistant or open the Address Book, so it’s faster to create a meeting invite. We’re rolling out this change as one of the user experience updates that some Office 365 customers have previewed through the Coming Soon feature, and this will be the experience in May 2019.



Former and new Meeting form with separate Required and Optional fieldsFormer and new Meeting form with separate Required and Optional fields

Scheduling Assistant

When scheduling meetings, we have made it easier for you to add attendees. Under the Scheduling Assistant tab in Outlook, when you type a name, Microsoft intelligent services automatically suggests names of the people you frequently work with to invite to the meeting. This makes it quicker and easier to invite attendees, so you don’t spend your time searching for names. Start typing a person’s name, and you’ll see a list of people you can quickly select.


Scheduling Assistant tab with suggested attendeesScheduling Assistant tab with suggested attendees

We have also made the All Attendees list customizable. You can expand or contract the width to see more or less of the attendee list and scheduling options.


 Scheduling Assistant with expanded Attendee ListScheduling Assistant with expanded Attendee List

Room Finder

We have received feedback from our customers that booking conference rooms, especially across multiple locations, can be complicated. We’ve enhanced the capability to reserve multiple rooms across multiple locations in Room Finder.


For example, a team meeting between several co-located offices may include conference rooms from different cities. Room Finder now lets you reserve conference rooms from more than one room list. With these improvements, each available room you select from the room list will stay in the Location field so you can add as many rooms as you need when planning your meeting. This allows you to efficiently create one meeting, send one invite to several locations, and gives you time back in your day.


Add multiple rooms across different Room ListsAdd multiple rooms across different Room Lists


Default duration

Do you ever have back to back meetings with no time in between, or know you need only 20 minutes of someone’s time but have 30 minutes blocked on the calendar? Outlook has introduced an option in the calendar to change the default duration for new appointments and meetings. You can build in buffer time between meetings and give you and your colleagues time back.


By setting to end appointments and meetings early by default, you can avoid meetings that start as soon as the previous one ends. This option can be set by you or at the company level by your administrator group policy. Meetings you already have on your calendar will not change if you update this setting. This encourages a culture of shorter, more productive discussions helping everyone get to their meetings on time and use the scheduled time wisely.  


Option to set the default duration to end meetings earlyOption to set the default duration to end meetings early

Time zones

Working across time zones can be confusing. We have made changes to make sure that when you schedule an all-day or multi-day meeting, now your attendees will see the meeting in the day and month of their local time instead of yours. Plus, we have added the option to quickly view up to three time zones on the calendar surface at a glance. To learn how to manage time zones, read this article.


Add up to 3 time zonesAdd up to 3 time zones

Tools to help manage resources and give time back


Attendee Tracking

Sometimes, the decision whether to go to a meeting depends on knowing who is attending. Outlook shows tracking information, even for meetings you did not organize. Everyone – organizers and attendees – can see who else is planning to join. This helps everyone make informed decisions and optimizes resources. If your invite is forwarded, you and your attendees will be able to see who was added and how they responded.


Tracking statusTracking status

Response Options

Have you ever organized a small meeting and it grew to a much larger one by being forwarded to others? Now you can take control of your meeting – in Response Options, uncheck the “Allow Forwarding” option to prevent required or optional attendees from forwarding the invite to others. You can avoid people from adding themselves or others to the meeting’s attendee list and prevent others from copying the invitation to their calendar directly. Now you can ensure only the attendees you want are invited.  Click here for more information about Prevent Forwarding


Allow Forwarding of a meeting invitationAllow Forwarding of a meeting invitation

Customize your meeting reminder notifications with Advanced options


Automatically dismiss reminders for past calendar events

When you've been away from your desk for a few hours, or when you've been out of the office for a week, the Reminders pop-up box in Outlook shows old meetings that have happened in the past. We’ve added a new option that lets you automatically clear reminders of meetings that occurred in the past and may no longer need. Some users like to keep these meetings in their Reminder pop-up box as a reminder or as a prompt to send notes or take other follow-up actions, so we've made this an Advanced Outlook Option to continue supporting that workflow.


Option to dismiss reminders for past eventsOption to dismiss reminders for past events

Show reminders on top of other windows

In addition, we have added an option to show Reminders on top of your active desktop windows, even when Outlook for Windows is running in the background. You can configure the reminder message to pop over other apps that you might be using so you can make sure you don’t miss your meeting. Click here for more information about keeping reminders on top.


Option to show reminders on top of other windowsOption to show reminders on top of other windowsReminders showing on top of other windowsReminders showing on top of other windows

We’ve rolled out these updates to address the feedback we’ve heard directly from you. Please continue to give us feedback in-app, in the Coming Soon preview pane, and Our goal is to continue making meeting planning easier, faster and more efficient so you can better manage life’s precious resource, time. 

Super Contributor

I have read about adding two more time zones a year ago. Anyway, some neat updates here. Although i have one observation. I have seen many many times how users were trying to put room names into Location field. Or deleting rooms in Location field, but leaving them in To field and still thinking they have removed the room. Location field is so confusing for users as they naturally think this is the place where you should put rooms. They don't understand the idea of sending an email to a room to book it. Maybe MS can do something about this. Does Location field has to be an input field? Maybe this can just show information. Or maybe you should split Attendees and Locations into separate fields completely.

Super Contributor

Another side note observation. I have never seen in the meetings people keeping track of when the meeting should end. They are used to round numbers like 1:00, or 14:30, but i haven't seen someone jumping up at 3:55 to go to another meeting at 4:00. It's not like everyone is constantly looking at their phones to see if the meeting should end now (unless that's a very boring meeting). So, unless a phone gives you an electric zap at 3:55 i don't see how this early ending is helpful. So, instead of having 3:00-4:00 and 4:00-5:00 meetings back to back, you will have 3:00-3:55 and 4:00-4:55 meetings in your calendar. How this will help in a busy meeting case? Unless you make gaps of 10-15 minutes and this gives you time to notice that this meeting is over, but then you are losing a lot of available meeting time.


P.S. there is a white space gap at the bottom of this article ;)

Senior Member

About efficient timing- I would like to see ability to show calendar in 15 minute blocks instead of half an hour and ability to default 45 minute meetings. In many cases 15 minutes is well enough to get agreed task to be done. Our office is relatively big so 5 minutes break is often not enough for switching rooms and get new one working as needed - and people's brains physically need break every now and then to work efficiently. 

Frequent Contributor

This is super frustrating that some of us with "Coming Soon" turned on and are using Office Insider builds have not been able to test/play with this feature before it rolls out. I do not have this as of today, and I have office ver1905, b11624.20000. Why are some features not more widely deployed to Insiders? Isn't that the point of the Insider program?

New Contributor

These all great changes — where can I read more about specifics around roll out or timeline. Or all O365 customers get these at the same time?


@Ed Hansberry It could be worse. I haven't seen the "Coming Soon" toggle in about six months, and I've been on Insider the entire time. I wish MS would get their act together in this area. Yes, they provided a policy to make "Coming Soon" vanish, but they also need to provide a way to make it appear if it isn't for reasons other than the policy (and I have absolutely no idea what the other reasons could be, because the whole thing is a black box).

Senior Member

What version of Outlook will this require?  Will this be available in the MSI version of Office or merely the Click to Run version?


Office 365. Office 2019 and earlier do not get new features. If there's an Office 2022, it'll probably turn up there.

Super Contributor

It says "to Monthly Channel Office 365 subscribers" in the first chapter.

@Mari - it's possible to get 15 minutes back at the end of each meeting as the values in Outlook are editable. You just type in the time you want all your meetings to finish early - you don't need to accept the defaults.


You can roll out these changes via group policy as well to all your users and change culture at your organisation.



Established Member

@Oleg K  - First off you are right, not all of these features are brand new. We knew that many people missed hearing about some of the newer options like more time zones, which is why, in part, we published this blog post!

The issue you bring up about conference room location field is something we are investigating.  We are considering updating integration between Resources and Location to make it more intuitive and simpler for Office 365 customers when editing an O365 calendar.  Thanks for the feedback and stay tuned for updates to Locations soon!

Established Member

@Oleg K - The intent of this feature is to help support organizations that are encouraging shorter, more efficient meetings. This change was based on customer feedback and reinforces their desire to create meetings in Outlook that reflects their recommended best practices.


Established Member

@Mari Siukonen, @Brian Reid - From Calendar, you can select: View (ribbon tab) > Time Scale > 15 minutes to see your calendar in 15-minute blocks.

To default to 45-minute meetings, use the new options.

Established Member

@Ed Hansberry@Brian . - We apologize for the difficulties you experienced with Coming Soon availability. Coming Soon should have remained available to you from the time you first saw it, up through the time the Outlook for Windows default experience change. It was an option for all current Monthly Channel users, Insiders through general availability, who do not have other special restrictions from their tenants, and millions have been running with it on and providing us with valuable feedback.  We'd love to investigate what went wrong in your configurations - if you're open to it, please use in-app support to report the issue (Help tab, Contact Support).

Established Member

@Saifarshad - All of these features are already released to O365 customers who receive Monthly updates. This is available for Monthly Office 365 subscribers (C2R Only).  For future updates, please refer to the Microsoft 365 Product Roadmap.

Established Member

@Wendy Haddad  - This is available for Monthly Channel Office 365 subscribers.

Super Contributor

What about recurrence? For some time MS has changed default from Forever. But now Forever is not even possible and is grayed out. So what is the point of having it in GUI then?

Senior Member

We have lower version of office like 9126 build in Outlook 2016. whether this feature will be applicable to them or this feature will be effective upgraded to the latest semi annaul update. before we send this notification to helpdek, we want to know from which build version you will see this


I have a customer that is trying to use this setting for ending appointments early.  Is there any way to do this at the Exchange server level for many users at once?  Doing this mailbox by mailbox is not going to work unless there is a way to scale this and manage it better...


thank you!


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Last update:
‎Jun 20 2019 08:11 AM
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