|Title||Start Date & Time||End Date & Time|
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Microsoft Exchange Online, which serves as the default email and calendaring solution for all CU Boulder faculty and staff, provides a robust email management and calendaring platform. Many throughout CU Boulder rely on their Exchange Online calendar to help track where they need to be and who they will interact with. So making sure everyone's calendars remain accurate and up to date has become a critical need for many faculty and staff. There are different approaches and email/calendar clients available to manage Exchange Online calendars, but not all are equally suited or reliable.
This “Best Practice” guide provides guidance to Exchange Online calendar users on the practices and email/calendar clients that best avoid calendaring problems. They have been collected from many years of experience with Exchange and from multiple sources.
For most Exchange Online calendar users, the service and their chosen client(s) work reliably. Users who do not require complicated calendaring functionality will rarely if ever experience issues. In these more basic calendaring situations, where someone only has a handful of appointments each week and manages all of the details themselves, these best practices may not be required unless noticeable issues, such as inconsistent/inaccurate meeting information, disappearing meetings, or differences between desktop and mobile clients, occur.
For users who do require complicated calendaring, particularly those who schedule numerous meetings with many attendees or those who have delegated access to create and edit meetings on behalf of another individual, following these “Best Practices” becomes far more critical. Following these steps will lead to improved stability, predictability, collaboration, and reduce frustration and functionality issues.
The most current version of Microsoft Outlook for all platforms, including mobile devices, will provide the most robust and reliable calendaring experience.
In general, it is best to use mobile devices for “read-only” access. To the extent possible, create, edit, and reply to meetings from a desktop Microsoft Outlook client only. Although creating and editing meetings from a mobile device will work, managing your calendar from a mobile device is one of the most common sources of calendaring problems.
Exchange Online provides convenient and powerful collaboration abilities by allowing people to view the free/busy time of other users and/or resources (such as conference room or equipment), send meeting requests that will appear on each user's calendar, and track responses for who can/cannot attend the meeting. Reliably scheduling meetings with other attendees and resources requires understanding an important detail about how Exchange Online Calendaring operates: each user maintains their own copy of the meeting.
There's a common misunderstanding about how Exchange Online Calendaring operates. Many people assume that the calendar system tracks a meeting as a single copy and that any edits to a meeting will automatically update and appear for all attendees. Instead, in order to allow Exchange Online Calendaring meetings to interoperate with other calendaring systems and external users, all calendaring data requires the sending and receiving of email messages to all attendees. As each attendee receives an email message with calendar appointment information, their email and calendaring client reads the message and updates their individual copy of the meeting on their personal calendar.
Understanding this operational detail leads to several important “Best Practices” for scheduling appointments with others:
One of the advanced features of Exchange Online Calendaring allows users to delegate the ability to create and edit their meetings to another individual, usually a personal or departmental administrative assistant. Using the delegated calendaring feature, however, increases the potential for calendaring problems. Individuals who need delegated calendaring usually have the greatest need for accurate calendaring: they often are scheduled in dozens of meetings every week and rely upon their calendar to keep them on track.
Due to these complexities, if you grant another individual the ability to edit your calendar (whether the “Editor”, “Author” or any other permissions level), it is vital that both you and the person who receives the delegated permissions stick to the General Calendaring and Appointment Scheduling Best Practices outlined above, as well as:
Interested in more information? There are many in-depth and well-written discussions on the causes of and solutions for Exchange calendaring issues: