Outlook desktop software from Microsoft is a versatile, feature-rich, and very popular information manager/email client. It has so many features that it is unlikely any one user is using all of them or even knows about all of them. Not to say everyone “has to” bring literally every feature into use otherwise there is no point. But there are often few sets of features that a large percentage of people either do not know about or don’t really understand how to use, or don’t really realize how they can make a difference.
Today we are talking about few of those features fall under the “view” category that lets you change how you view the events in calendar and how you view the entire calendar within Outlook.
View settings in Outlook Calendar
Calendar is incorporated without Outlook client, like Mail, Tasks, and Address Book (called ‘People’). You can add events/appointments, reminders, and create a sophisticated and detailed schedule/agenda as per your needs. But if you use Calendar quite a lot, you will find that often the default settings of viewing the appointments and everything else don’t fit your needs. You might want to check the upcoming events for the day, but also the appointments in a shared calendar at the same time. These personal requirements of an individual user can be met by modifying the temporary and permanent options for viewing data in Outlook calendar.
Below are some of the explanations of these settings and how they can help you:
Day, Week, or Month view:
One of the simplest to understand and the one that a vast majority might be using already is to see the calendar based on either day, week, or month. These can be found either in the “Home” tab (inside the ‘Arrangement” group) or in the “View” tab.
What these settings imply must be pretty obvious. When you select ‘day,’ the selected calendar expands the current date on to the whole interface. This allows for more detailed viewing of that particular day. But if you want to see the upcoming events and appointments for the whole week, you can select the ‘week.’ It won’t offer the same detailed view of the day’s agenda, but will take the entire week into account.’
For users looking for even narrower and tighter view, check out ‘time-scale’ settings explained below.
If you on a “Day” view, you can click ‘Today’ to directly focus on today. You can find it inside the ‘Go-to’ group inside ‘Home’ tab. You can also click “Next 7 Days” to show next 7 days.
Bonus-tip: Alt + 1 shortcut is for seeing a single day (whichever one was selected), Alt+2 for the next two days from the selected date, Alt+3 for the next three days, and so on. And interestingly, the hidden one that most do not know about is that Alt+0 will show you the next 10 days.
Defining Your own Work-Week:
Outlook 365, there’s an added option of work week that excludes Saturdays and Sundays by default but you can define your own working and non-working days in ‘options’ window. Click on ‘file’ à Options à Calendar. Right on the top there will be the options for defining work days and also work timings. Outlook has a few automatic/default actions and behaviors that are dependent on these user-defined work timings.
There is an additional option that lets you see only working hours and hide the rest from the view. Go to ‘View’ tab and inside ‘Arrangement’ group, click on ‘Working Hours’ and see that it is applied. Click again to show all the hours in a day.
It is one of the favorite layouts/views of the users with multiple calendars. If you too have multiple calendars, you are going to find the schedule view a big help. It is simply a horizontal view of the calendar, or of the hours, to be more specific. When you select multiple calendars to be displayed, under schedule view, all those calendars will be shown horizontally stacked on top of each other. This particularly helps in finding out any overlapping appointments at the same time and lets you adjust your schedule accordingly.
Do you find that the hourly representation is a bit too broad for your needs? Although, it is unlikely for an individual to be needing a scale narrower than an hour, but for the ones with very busy and hectic schedule (mostly for scheduling assistants), changing the time scale can be helpful. If there are changing events and appointments in less than an hour, you might need to set the scale down to 30 minutes or lesser. In 60 min view, you can still see all the entries but there is less space for details.
within the layout of Outlook calendar, there are few extra things you can add for improved management.
This is where you can see the folders or different calendars. It is shown on to the left sidebar. You can either turn it off, keep it minimized, or keep it open and pinned. If you need more focus on the calendar, especially if the schedule is too hectic and detailed, keeping folder pane gives you much more space.
When you click on an item inside a calendar, you can see the contents of that item inside a reading pane. You can either keep it on the bottom or right side, or completely off. In case you have turned it off, you won’t see any details upon clicking the item inside the calendar; then you would need to double-click everything to open the item in a separate new window.
You can choose to show ‘People’ list (only favorites from your address book), your tasks, or even ‘appointments’ in the to-do bar.
Hopefully with these few controls over how the calendar entries are viewed and laid-out, you will find yourself to be more productive in managing your schedule. It might feel overly complicated or unnecessary, but only after a few times fiddling with these features, one starts to feel comfortable and find them to be of great help in increasing efficiency.
More of such posts will be coming soon, especially on “views” regarding Outlook and how you can even better manage the layout and on understanding how specifically these options can add to the productivity and better management.