You’re Invited! Outlook Calendar Invites

It’s time to party!  Or maybe it’s time for the monthly board meeting.  Either way, you don’t need you use Evite to keep track of who’s invited, who’s coming, and who isn’t going to make it this time.  The recipient might not even need to use Outlook as his email client in order to respond or for you to track responses.  Many email clients recognize Outlook meeting invitations, and if they don’t, Outlook allows you to forward an invitation as the more generic form, an iCalendar invite.

how-to-outlook

There are multiple ways to create an invitation.  If you change to Calendar daily view, you can double click on the time slot you want and it will even fill in the date and time on the invite automatically.  Or, if you find it easier, you can create one by opening the File menu and go to New/Meeting, or click the down arrow by the New icon on your Standard tool bar and select Meeting request from there.

Once the meeting window opens you can either choose your recipients from your Outlook address book by clicking the To button, or just type their email address in the To field.  Create a subject and fill in the Location field.

If you are using Outlook on the Exchange server and your company has meeting rooms set up in their address book, you can actually click on the Rooms button to the right of the location field and select the room from there.  This serves the dual purpose of not only telling people where to go, but also reserving that room so you don’t show up that day and find out someone else has beat you to it.  Don’t worry, if the room you pick has already been reserved by someone else, you will get an email almost immediately after sending, telling you to pick a new location.

If you are sending an internal invitation to people in your company, you can use scheduling assistant to help determine what time to select.  Click the Scheduling Assistant in the ribbon bar.  All people you have included in your invite are listed to the left, and their appointments for the day, if any, will show up in the timeline next to their name.  If they have already posted something on their Outlook calendar, it will show up as either a bright blue bar for an accepted appointment, or a light blue bar with lines through it if they have tentatively accepted it.

how-to-outlook

After setting the date and times, you can enter all information needed in the body of the invitation.  This acts like a standard html email format, meaning you can do things like attach files or Outlook emails, paste text and pictures, and use fancy fonts and styles.  Just make sure your cursor is in the notes section and click either the Insert or Format Text tabs.

how-to-outlookTwo suggestions that make it easier for you and your guest to stay organized, is to set a reminder time, giving them enough notice that if they happen to forget, Outlook will pop up a reminder in time for them to grab their coat and hopefully get there on time. The second suggestion, is to assign a category to the event.  Even if you don’t have specific categories labeled, choosing one will attach a color to the event to make it stand out on your calendar.  You could choose red for business events, for instance, green for personal ones, etc.

When done, simply click Send just like you do an email.  It will add the event to your calendar and send invitations to everyone else.  As they answer, you will get an email telling them if they have accepted or declined.  If you lose track of how many people has said yes, you can always find that information by opening the appointment from your calendar and clicking on the tracking icon in the Meeting ribbon bar.  The tracking icon only shows up after the first person accepts or declines, so if you don’t see it, better get on that phone and find out why on earth no one seem to be paying attention to you.



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