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Calendar Best Practices

Please follow this list of Best Practices for the Exchange Calendar.  Click on each link to read more about it.

Send updates when deleting, canceling, or moving events

 If you do not send updates as a meeting organizer, attendees will not be informed of the changes.

Do not forward meeting requests to other recipients.

 Forwarding invitations does not add recipients to attendee lists, and updates will not be sent to new attendees. Instead, have the meeting organizer add the new attendee list and send an update to the original meeting. This avoids surprising the organizer with an unexpected attendee and helps prevent lost meeting requests.

Do not use Outlook Web Access to accept meetings previously edited in Outlook.

 Outlook auto-generates tentative calendar events that are not processed the same by Outlook Web Access. Accepting a meeting in Outlook Web Access 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 OWA.

Do not make personal notes in meetings as an attendee.

 As a meeting attendee, avoid adding your own private notes to the body of a meeting request in your calendar. If the organizer updates the meeting, your notes are lost.

Use the same Outlook version when multiple users are working on the same calendar (for example while using delegation)

 When working on the same calendar we recommend using the same Outlook version with the same service pack and "updates" level. In fact an Outlook client up-to-date and an Outlook client that is not up-to-date might have a different behavior while processing a meeting and conflicts might appear. The same principle applies when using different Outlook versions. When you use delegates in Outlook 2007, it is recommended that the manager and all the delegates use Outlook 2007 Service Pack 2

Always process meeting invites from the Inbox folder.

 Normally when a user is invited to a meeting, an e-mail message will appear in his Inbox folder, containing the meeting invite. At the same time the meeting will be placed in the Calendar as "tentative". These operations are automatically made by Outlook and Exchange. We recommend that the user that receives the meeting invite to process it using the meeting invite message (from Inbox) and to avoid deleting this message before processing the meeting. Deleting the meeting request message from Inbox, before manually processing the meeting, will delete also the "tentative" meeting from your calendar.  Yes, Outlook allows you to accept or decline a meeting from its time slot on your calendar, but that can leave the meeting request in your Inbox. Leaving the meeting request in your Inbox might confuse you later and definitely leaves any delegates  you appointed wondering about whether the meeting was accepted. Once the meeting is processed using the meeting invite message, you will see that the meeting will change from "Tentative" to "Accepted"

Always process meetings invites that you receive.

 

As mentioned previously when receiving a meeting request, a meeting/appointment will be placed in your calendar as "Tentative". We recommend processing the meeting request (by accepting/ declining/ etc.). This will inform the meeting organizer about your presence in the meeting or not (if you decline). The same principle applies with updates for already accepted meetings.

Leaving the meeting as Tentative without processing it will potentially create conflicts and the information in your calendar won't be accurate.

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 delete the meeting the organizer will not be informed that you declined the meeting and in his calendar you will still appear in the attendees list. 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. When you decline a meeting the organizer will receive this message and you will be removed from the attendees list.  Also if you are not able to attend to a meeting at the proposed time you can always use the "Proposed New Time" feature of Outlook in order to inform the organizer. Note: You will not receive any meeting updates for a meeting you declined.

How to move or delete a meeting.

  1. - If you are the meeting organizer:
    • Move a meeting.  If you want to move a meeting, make your changes and make sure that you use the "Send Update" button in order to inform all attendees.

    • Cancel a single meeting.  If you need to cancel a meeting, it is considerate to notify the people you invited. Delete the meeting from your calendar, click Send cancellation and delete meeting, and then send the cancellation to everyone you invited.

    • Cancel recurring meeting.  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.

  2. - If you are attendee to this meeting:  Check number 8 above

 

Don't move meeting requests.

 

Don't move a meeting request from your Inbox to a different folder before you accept or decline the request or before the meeting appears in your calendar.

Soon after a meeting request arrives in your Inbox, a piece of Outlook code - nicknamed the "sniffer" - automatically adds the meeting to your calendar and marks it as tentative. This is a fail-safe to keep you from missing the meeting in case you don't see the request in your Inbox. However, the sniffer doesn't reply to the meeting organizer. You still need to do that by accepting, accepting as tentative, or declining the request.

If you or a rule that you create moves an incoming meeting request from your Inbox before the sniffer can process the request, the meeting never appears in your calendar, and you might miss the meeting.

Accept meeting cancellations.

 If you receive a meeting cancellation message, open the message and click on the "Remove from Calendar" button. Doing so will ensure the meeting is removed from your calendar, and will help to avoid a situation where the meeting is cancelled but still appears in your calendar.

Recurring meetings.

 

In order to have a recurring meeting you will need to add a recurrence for it. This means that the meeting will take place according to the frequency you set (Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Yearly). You also have the option to set the range of recurrence starting from (Start field) to:

  • No end date

  • End After: number of occurrences

  • End By: here you can enter a date

We recommend using an "End Date" for a recurring meeting.  Failing to do so can result in corrupt meetings if the recurring meeting is regularly modified.

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.

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 the "Cancel Meeting" (this is the option for Outlook 2007). The next step is to send this information to all attendees in order to update also their calendar. To do this, use the "Send Cancellation" button. Attendees will receive in their Inbox the "Cancellation" message and will have the possibility to remove the meeting from their calendar (with the Remove from Calendar button). Important: All occurrences for the meeting will be deleted.

Changing the organizer of a recurring meeting.

 It is not possible to change the organizer of a meeting or recurring meeting. If a recurring meeting is changing to a new organizer, there is not a way to reassign the ownership of the meeting. The original organizer should send an update with a new end date - the past meetings remain on everyone's calendars, but future occurrences after the end date are removed. The new meeting organizer should send a new meeting request for meetings in the future.

Recurring Meeting Exceptions.

 A recurring meeting exception is in fact an occurrence that is modified (date/time). An exception will no longer correspond to the recurrence pattern.

Create meetings on the Exchange calendar.

 In order to view your calendar data from both Outlook and OWA, you need to store your data (calendar items, messages, etc.) on the Exchange server. When creating new events, be sure to create them with your Exchange account calendar selected, not the calendar labeled "Calendar [On My Computer]" To move an event from one calendar to another, highlight the event and select Event from the menu bar, then Move To or Copy To and Choose Calendar.

Using an iPhone/Smart phone.

 Respond to all meeting requests that are in the )nbox  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.  If you have the sync options on your phone set to manual, you will not see any new calendar entries that you have accepted until you do a manual sync.  This can cause issues if you receive a large number of invites and accept them in Outlook or OWA, but do not sync the device.

Only interact with meeting requests from one client.

 Due to the different methods of synchronization by various clients, it is easy to have multiple or conflicting replies to a single request which will result in a deleted or otherwise corrupted calendar entry. Only interact with meeting requests once, whether it be from Outlook, Entourage, a BlackBerry, iPhone, Outlook Web Access (OWA), or other clients.