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Best Practices: Calendars

This page lists suggested best practices for scheduling meetings and sharing calendars.

Meetings and Invitations

Act on invitations as you receive them (Accept, Accept as Tentative, or Decline). Do not just delete meeting requests even if you intend to not attend. By making a choice, you keep the meeting organizer apprised of the meeting attendance and reduce the chance of lost meetings.

Do not decline a meeting until you are certain you will not be attending. When you decline a meeting, the meeting invitation moves to your "Deleted Items" folder. If you then empty that folder, the meeting invitation will be lost.  If your schedule changes so that you can make a meeting, you will no longer have the meeting details available to you.

Do not drag an instance of a recurring meeting to a new date or time. If you need to change the date or time for a single instance of a recurring meeting, delete that instance  for all attendees, then recreate it in the new location.

Always have an end date for a recurring meeting. Failure to do so can result in corrupt meeting data if the recurring meeting is modified.

Avoid modifying the end date of a recurring meeting. Even if your recurring meeting has an end date, if you modify the end date of the meeting series, exceptions associated with the recurring meeting are lost.

Avoid changing details about a recurring meeting. Changes to recurring meetings do not propagate to mobile devices.

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 attendees and send an update to the original meeting.

Only accept or decline meetings from the Inbox; don't do this from the calendar or other mail folders. Meetings responded to from outside the Inbox may result in missed updates or meetings.

Only make personal notes in meetings as the organizer; not as an attendee. Doing so as an attendee will result in lost notes if a meeting update is sent later.

Only interact with meeting requests from one piece of software - Outlook (Macintosh or Windows), Entourage, a mobile device, Blitz Web Access, or other clients that you may be using. Due to the different methods of synchronization by various clients or web browsers,  it is easy to have multiple or conflicting replies to a single request which will result in deleted or otherwise corrupted calendar data.

Mobile Devices

Use mobile devices (iPhones and other smartphones, iPads) as calendar VIEWERS only. Do not use them to add, change or delete items on your calendar, nor to respond to meeting requests. This is especially important if your account is not configured to use Exchange Activesync on your mobile device, if you are modifying a calendar for someone that you are a delegate for, or if your device has limited or no connectivity at the time you are making a modifications.

Turn off syncing of your calendar from your mobile device to your account. This is not an option of all mobile devices, but if it is on yours, disable this sync.

Delegates and Owners

A delegate is someone who would respond to ALL meeting invitations for your calendar. They do not have your calendar open all the time, but would receive all meeting invitations for you in their account. They can send and respond to meeting invitations for you as if they were you. An owner is someone who is in your account all day and has full access to add and remove items from your calendar and accept or decline meeting invitations for your calendar, but they cannot send nor reply to meeting invitations as if they were you.

To avoid having meetings not sync, have as few delegates as possible, preferably one. Set others you want to help with your calendar as "owners." While delegates can be very helpful, they can also be the source of many conflicts and inconsistencies with calendars. Having multiple delegates dramatically increases the probability of missed appointments, duplicated meetings, unseen invitations, and conflicting attendance responses.

A manager and their delegate should all have the same version of Outlook, including software updates.

If you have a delegate, use him or her. If you have set up a delegate for your account, he or she should process all your meeting requests. Duplicate interactions with a meeting invitation from both you and your delegate can result in various failures of the calendaring software, including lost meetings.

Do not auto-accept requests if you have a delegate. If you have granted someone delegate access to your calendar, or if you are a delegate, turn off automatic acceptance of meeting requests.

If you are a delegate for someone else's calendar, make sure your account is configured appropriately. In Outlook 2010, on the File ribbon, click Account Settings, then Account Settings, then the E-mail tab. Click the account whose settings you are modifying then click Change. Make sure the Used Cached Exchange Mode field is checked. Next, click the More Settings button, then the Advanced tab. Remove the check from the Download Shared Folders field. This setting is not available in Outlook 2011.

 Delegate Setting

Sharing Calendars Between Cloud and On Premises Exchange Systems

You can specify different permissions to your account only for those people who are in the same system as you (i.e., with you in the Cloud or On Premises). Anyone in the other system can view your calendar only with the privileges set for the "default" user.

Calendar Training

See http://libcal.dartmouth.edu/compcal to sign up for classes on using the calendar within the Blitz system.

Last Updated: 4/30/13