Everyday hacks

Five things you perhaps didn't know about Outlook

As a meeting organizer, I quite often experience that people are not aware of these useful features and strange quirks. This blog post can hopefully help you to use Outlook in a more efficient way. My experience and cases below are based on the Windows version of Outlook.

2 min read


By Ane Mengshoel


December 18, 2022


When you tick off "all day" on a calendar event, the "show as" field automatically turns itself into "free".

Ex. You want to add a "day off" into the calendar, but when someone tries to invite you to a meeting and for instance uses "the scheduling assistant", you appear as availble.

In the appointment tab in outlook, the "show as" field is marked as "busy" and the "all day" box is unticked.
This is how it looks like when you start adding a new appointment.
Here the "all day" box is ticked, and the "show as" field is marked as "free".
This is how it looks like when you have ticked off "the all day event".


If you haven't heard about the scheduling assistant mentioned above, it is a tool which helps you find an available meeting slot for all your participants.

In the scheduling tab in outlook, you easily see when different people are available at the same time.
Scheduling assistant makes it easier to find a slot where everyone are available.


Somehow, everyone (aka default Outlook settings) thinks that 60 minutes is a perfect meeting duration. Also, some people think it is possible to get from one meeting to another without any breaks between the meetings. You can change the settings in Outlook to shorten appointments automatically. Go to File > Options > Calendar > Calendar options.

In Outlook options under the calendar topic and then the calendar options, you can see different settings for how to shorten appointments.
Tick off "shorten appointment and meetings" and choose your preferred settings.


Did you know that if you don't choose "send response now" when you answer a meeting invitation, the meeting organizer won't get any update if you're planning to come to the meeting or not.

When you open a calendar invitation and prepare to answer it, you can choose between "edit the response before sending", "send the response now" and "do not send a response".
As a rule, you should choose "send the response now".

I use the tracking overview quite often in order to find the responses from people.

In the meeting event and the tracking tab in Outlook, you can see the various responses from the attendandees, such as "none", "accepted", "tenative" and "declined".
Under the tracking tab you can see the responses.


Not everyone are aware that someone else can see their calendar. You can decide yourself how much you share with other people. My personal preference is that you share title and location as a default (just make sure to mark personal events as private). In general, your work calendar should not be secret.

In the calendar view in Outlook, under the home tab, you find the "share calendar" button. A new pop up window appears and under the "permission" tab you can choose between "none", "can view when I'm busy", "can view titles and locations", "can view all details" and "can edit".
If you click the "share calendar" button, you can choose your preferred privacy settings.

Pro-tip: You can share more detailed calendar information with specific people.

In the meeting event under the appointment tab, you can find the private button with a lock sign on it. You can click it to make the event private.
You can mark specific appointments as private. These will just appear as "busy" or "free" for other viewers.

I hope you had a couple of new learning outcomes from the tips above. Good luck with testing them in your daily life.