Tag Archives: check names

Tame your computer – simple scheduling

9 May

Some time ago I wrote a tip on how to reply to a message with a meeting request, inviting everyone who was on the To line in the original message as “Required Attendees”, and everyone on the Cc line as “Optional Attendees”.

One of the steps is to click on the Scheduling button, but as I often notice people do not use this great functionality, missing out on a convenient way to check the availability of all those you want to invite, I felt a separate tip was justified. (And – to be honest – also because the other day I did what I often do …thinking I had sent a meeting request, only to find I had entered it as an appointment, forgetting to invite anybody else.)

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Calendar and click on the New Meeting button. (Or press CTRL + 2 followed by CTRL + N.)
  2. Click on the Scheduling Assistant button.
  3. Click in the box under your own name which reads Click here to add a name and type the name of the (first) person you want to attend the meeting.
  4. If necessary, press CTRL + K  or click on the Check Names button to make sure that it is possible to send the meeting request to the person you specified.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 for all remaining attendees.

Depending on the setup of your network, a Scheduling diagram might show the availability and busy times of all attendees.

  1. If free/busy data can be retrieved, select the desired date and time from the Suggested times box underneath the Date Navigator. Alternatively, drag the green and red borders in the Scheduling diagram to a suitable new date and time where everyone is available.
  2. Click on the Appointment button and add a subject, location and any additional information, such links to the agenda stored on a shared drive and/or other reading material (rather than attachments).
  3. Click on the Send button.

By the way, do you add reminders as appointments in your Outlook calendar? If so, be aware they go in as “Busy” (dark blue) which means that people might think you’re not available for a meeting they are trying to organise. If you used the appointment to set aside time to get your work done or to have dedicated time to clean-out and archive messages, update tasks, and adjust your schedule … excellent diary management! Otherwise, you might be better off using Outlook Tasks.

That’s it for this week! If there are topics that you’d like to see covered in future items, please let me know.

Related tips:
Tip 412: Respond to an e-mail message with a meeting request
Tip 350: Set a date using  plain English
Tip 297: Quickly book appointments or meetings longer than half an hour
Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.

Tame your computer – handle holiday traffic

1 Aug

With the holiday season upon us, doesn’t it sound tempting to set up a rule that will send all your email received during your time off straight into your bin? Far-fetched? The German company Daimler encouraged setting up the following automatic reply:

I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office. Danke Schoen.

(See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28786117 if you want to read more about this novel idea.)

As it probably isn’t very likely you will be able to get away with this where you work, here are five top tips to prevent email overload upon your return

1. Switch on your Out of Office message a day early, so you can clear out your inbox before you leave.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Automatic Replies.

2. Forward your mail to a colleague.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Automatic Replies.
  • Click Rules, and then click Add Rule.
  • Tick the Forward check box and enter the name of your colleague who has agreed to keep an eye on your email in your absence.
  •  If necessary, click on the Check Names button.
  • Consider clicking the Delete check box. (You can always rummage through your recycle bin upon your return.)
  •  Click OK three times.

3. Automatically move messages where your name is in the Cc box to a folder named when I have time to read this.

  • Right-click any of your messages.
  • Select Rules, Create Rule.
  • Click on Advanced Options.
  • Tick where my name is in the Cc box (11th from the top).
  • Click Next.
  • Tick the first check box (move it to the specified folder).
  • In the Step 2 box, click on the underlined specified link.
  • Click on the when I have time to read this folder you created earlier or click on New to create a folder “on the fly”.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Finish.

4. Agree with colleagues so they all mark messages about meetings or events to expire after a specific date.

  • Create the message as normal. (CTRL+N, anyone?)
  • On the Options tab click on the dialog box launcher  (the tiny arrow) in the More Options group.
  • Tick the Expires after check box.

Upon your return any messages about meetings or events that happened during your absence have a strike through the subject line and will be easy to spot for you to delete.

5. Send out a message to your main contacts one or two weeks prior to your holiday.

Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free break.