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Information Technology - Outlook Scheduling Assistant

What is Outlook Scheduling Assistant?

Scheduling Assistant in Outlook allows you to easily schedule meetings by displaying the times when a person is busy or free on their calendar. This is referred to as Free/Busy Time. A few things to know about Scheduling Assistant:

  • By default, all users are able to view your personal Free/Busy time (no appointment details are visible)
  • You can customize permissions so only certain groups/users can view your free/busy time
  • It allows you to easily view the availability of colleagues, coworkers, etc.
  • Unlike when using online polling services, you don't have to send out additional emails, wait for responses, and worry about changes in availability while waiting for responses
  • This feature can be used in Outlook and in Outlook on the web (however, permission changes must be made in Outlook, not on the web)
  • Make the most of it  - add appointments to your calendar for recurring events like lunch breaks, or any other task that you want to dedicate time to so that other users know you won't be available (Busy)
  • Make sure All-Day events are set to Busy/Out (default is Free)
  • Mark specific calendar items as Private to hide details from anyone viewing the calendar entry

Windows Settings

Allow everyone to view Free/Busy time on your calendar (DEFAULT)

  • File > Options > Calendar tab > Free/Busy Options…
  • Select Default in the name column and set Read Permission Level to Free/Busy time
  • Under Read, select Free/Busy time
  • Click OK to save

Allow only specific groups and/or users to view Free/Busy time on your calendar
(for example, allow only faculty and staff to view free/busy time)

  • File > Options > Calendar tab > Free/Busy Options…
  • Select Default in the name column and set Read Permission Level to None
  • Click Add… and search for user or group; add and click OK
  • Select user or group; verify the Read Permission Level is Free/Busy time, click OK
  • Repeat for any users or groups that you want to view your free/busy time
  • Click OK to save

Mac Settings

Allow everyone to view Free/Busy time on your calendar (DEFAULT)

  • Select the calendar you want to change permissions for
  • Organize > Calendar Permissions
  • Select Default in the name column and set Read Permission Level to Free/Busy time
  • Click OK to save

Allow only specific groups and/or users to view Free/Busy time on your calendar
(for example, allow only faculty and staff to view free/busy time)

  • Select the calendar you want to change permissions for
  • Organize > Calendar Permissions
  • Select Default in the name column and make sure Read Permission Level is set to None
  • Click Add User… and search for user or group; add and click OK
  • Select user or group; change the Read Permission Level to Free/Busy time and click OK
  • Repeat for any users or groups that you want to view your free/busy time
  • Click OK to save