How to use the Group Schedules feature in Outlook


This article details the functionality of the Group Schedules feature in Microsoft Outlook.

More Information

Group Schedules enable you to view the combined schedules of individuals, resources or Calendar public folders, and schedule meetings with the entire group or with individual members of the group. In previous versions of Outlook, a meeting request was created and populated to achieve this. With Group Schedules, this grouping can be saved for later access.

How to Create Group Schedules

You can create a Group Schedule in a Calendar folder or a Calendar public folder on a Microsoft Exchange Server. Group Schedules that you create in an Exchange public folder can be used by others that have access to that public folder.

Use the following steps to create a new Group Schedule and add group members:
  1. Locate the desired Calendar folder.
  2. Click the Actions menu, click View Group Schedules, or click the Schedules button on the Standard toolbar.
  3. In the Group Schedules dialog box, click New.
  4. In the Create New Group Schedule dialog box, type a descriptive name for the new Group Schedule. Verify the name before you click OK because you cannot change the name later.
  5. Click OK.
  6. To add Group Members, type a user name, e-mail address or e-mail alias, or click the Add Others button, and then select to add users from an Address Book.
  7. After you add the desired group members, click Save and Close.
You can now open the new Group Schedule the View Group Schedules dialog box.

How to Add Public Folders

Adding a Calendar Public Folder to a Group Schedule displays the Free/Busy information for that Calendar Public Folder. This is useful when multiple users store appointments or meeting information in an Exchange Calendar public folder. To add a Calendar public folder as a Group Member, use the following steps:
  1. Locate the desired Calendar folder.
  2. Click the Actions menu, click View Group Schedules, or click the Schedules button on the Standard toolbar.
  3. In the Group Schedules dialog box, click the Group Calendar that you want to modify, and then click Open. If a Group Schedule does not yet exist, view the "Creating Group Schedules" section of this article.
  4. Click OK.
  5. To add a Calendar public folder to Group Members, click the
    Add Others button, and then click to add a public folder.
  6. In the Select Folder dialog box, locate a Calendar public folder, and then click OK.
  7. After you add the desired Calendar public folder, click Save and Close.

The Group Schedule Dialog Box

The Zoom Drop-Down List Box

The Zoom drop-down list box enables you to see additional or fewer hours in the Free/Busy information dialog box. The Group Schedule dialog box can be maximized or resized, as needed.

Options button

Clicking the Options button displays a menu. In the menu, the Show Working Hours option appears. If this option is enabled, it only show working hours, based on the setting found when you click the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Calendar Options button in the Preferences tab. Also, the Options button has the option to Refresh Free/Busy information.

The Make a Meeting Button

Clicking the Make Meeting button displays a menu. In the menu, you have options to create a new meeting with the selected Group Member or with all Group Members. If the selected Group Member is a resource (conference room, shared office equipment, etc.), you can select to schedule a meeting with that Group Member as a resource. Also, the Make Meeting button has options to e-mail the selected Group Member or all Group Members.

How to Use Group Schedules in a Microsoft Exchange Server Environment

Viewing Calendar Details

Clicking Options in the Group Schedule dialog box displays a menu with the option to Show Calendar Details. When you click to select the Show Calendar Details option, the Free/Busy details for appointments and meetings appear in the Free/Busy dialog box if the Exchange Server mailbox owner has given you at least Reviewer permissions to their Calendar folder.

Viewing Private items

Items marked as Private will not display Free/Busy details unless the shared Calendar owner gives you delegate control to their Calendar and check the option to enable delegates to view Private items. The delegate can configure that setting by checking the Delegate can see my private items check box, which can be accessed by clicking on the Tools menu, clicking Options, and then clicking the Permissions button on the Delegates tab.

Sharing Group Schedules

You can share Group Schedules by creating them in a Calendar public folder. You must have Owner permissions to the Calendar public folder before you can create Group Schedules in it. Assign permissions to the Calendar public folder for those that you would like to access that Group Schedules.

Known Issues

Microsoft ActiveSync 3.1 does not recognize Group Schedules.

When you use ActiveSync 3.1 to synchronize your Outlook Calendar, Group Schedules stored in the Calendar folder also synchronize, but appear as unrecognizable appointment items. The appointment subject on the handheld may contain a long string, similiar to "{B911D251-1842-4720-A131-F164B6C99078}" (without the quotation marks).

Do not delete the item on your handheld computer because this may delete the Group Schedule from Outlook the next time you synchronize. Also, when you create and save a new Group Schedule, you may receive the following error message:
One appointment cannot be read from Microsoft Outlook due to error 80180b04.
This item will not be synchronized with the mobile device.
Appointment {B911D251-1842-4720-A131-F164B6C99078} - My Team's Schedule
Start: 10/26/2001 5:00:00 P.M.
End: 10/26/2001 6:00:00 P.M.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Microsoft ActiveSync 3.1.
This issue was fixed in Microsoft ActiveSync 3.5. For information on how to obtain the newest version of ActiveSync, please visit the following Web site: