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Organize meetings with Outlook

Scheduling tab for meeting request with free/busy time showing; Scheduling tab for meeting request with free/busy time not showing

Fig. 1  The Scheduling tab at a company using Microsoft Exchange Server.
Callout 1 Colored horizontal bars show time constraints such as Free, Busy, or Out of Office.
Callout 2 The green and red vertical bars represent the start and end times of the meeting you're setting up.
Callout 3 To quickly find a time when everyone is available, click AutoPick Next.
Fig. 2  The Scheduling tab in a situation in which free/busy information is not available.

We mentioned that one thing that may influence your choice for how you set up meetings will be the type of e-mail system your company uses. Here's what we were talking about: If your organization uses Microsoft Exchange Server for your e-mail, you'll have the ability to check the schedules of your coworkers before you set up a meeting. You do this from the Scheduling tab.

In the pictures, we've shown you two versions of the Scheduling tab. In Figure 1, notice the horizontal bars. These bars are what you'll see if you're using Microsoft Exchange Server. They let you know who is available and when. Figure 2 shows the Scheduling tab in a non-Exchange setting. (You might also see something like this if you're working offline or if you're experiencing other network connectivity issues.) You see the names of attendees, but you can't see when they're free or busy.

Free/busy time

With Microsoft Exchange Server, people in your organization share information about their schedules automatically. In Outlook, this information is called free/busy time. The function of the Scheduling tab is to let you check free/busy time for all of your meeting participants, all at once.

We've included some links to more information about sharing free/busy information in the Quick Reference Card at the end of this course.

Note    You don't need to share calendars to be able to see free/busy time. However, if you do decide to share, you'll be able to see the details of each other's schedules, such as the subject of your meetings.

For more information about sharing calendars, you may be interested in the See and share multiple calendars training course.

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