Outlook calendar tools

Office 365 help series – Outlook calendars

Calendar tutorials

Learn how simple appointments can be built into powerful collaboration tools. Each video in this 10 part series builds on concepts to help you understand personal use, meetings, scheduling, tasks, public and private holidays, calendar sharing, and iCalendars.

These videos use Outlook for desktop to illustrate functions. The same tools are available in Outlook Web Access. (OWA). Click on the video headers to see bullet point summaries for each video.

1. Creating appointments
  • Appointments vs meetings
  • Creating appointments
  • Attaching files
  • Status, reminders, categories
  • Dragging appointments
  • Print preview and print

2. Calendar views
  • Calendar Views
  • Display preferences
  • Reading pane
  • Search

3. Calendar meetings
  • Inviting attendees
  • Attendee status
  • Categories
  • Rooms and locations
  • Acknowledging requests
  • Managing invitations

4. Scheduling assistant
  • Attendees and resources
  • Attendee status
  • Adding rooms
  • Editing times

5. Calendar sharing
  • Invitations to share
  • Merging
  • Sharing states/permissions
  • Public vs private sharing

6. Advanced tools
  • Calendar as a concept
  • Separating content
  • New calendars
  • Categories

7. Working with tasks
  • Updating events
  • Viewing options and overlays
  • Schedule view
  • Displaying task lists
  • Moving tasks to calendar display
  • Assigning tasks
  • To-do lists and categories

8. Working with holidays

Holidays are appointments that can be used for invitation/attendee/location functions. By assigning holidays to the “Holiday” category, holidays can be managed, published, and shared using the list view.

  • Adding regional holidays
  • Holidays as appointments
  • Deleting holidays
  • Holidays in list view
  • Sorting for duplicates
  • Sort by locations

9. Custom holidays

Birthdays and anniversaries, school dates, and company holidays can be added to calendars as “custom” holidays.

  • Private holidays
  • Business/anniversaries
  • Holidays as invitations
  • Adding to holiday category
  • Copying to calendars

10. iCalendars
  • iCalendar format
  • Content as a list
  • Copy to calendar
  • Save as iCalendar
  • Distributing and email
Webmail goes offline

Webmail goes offline

For business users who want to send and receive email with the simplicity that comes with Windows Live (formerly Hotmail) and GMail, but without the dreary advertising, Office 365’s Outlook Web Access (OWA) comes with simplicity, no ads, and the same tools available to the corporate world that makes OWA a serious alternative to Outlook for Desktop.

Mentioning Outlook stirs memories of an awkward email client that is too complicated to use and impossible to back up. Nor is there a shortage of clients who have worn out two buttons in Outlook – check mail, and send: Many users are only interested in email; calendars, tasks, contacts, etc. are just bloat. If any of this sounds familiar to you, you are not in the alone, and something that many people have hoped for which provides an advertising-free webmail service for commercial use is available to Office 365 users – Outlook Web Access, or OWA.

OWA is the portal for Microsoft’s Office 365. OWA is a web version of Outlook for Desktop which provides to Exchange Email, a service providing 50 GB of email per user account which can be synced across 5 devices – including sent items, which you will never see with POP accounts. Calendars, contacts, and more are all there too, albeit ring-fenced from email. although they are bound to be there. OWA is Microsoft Exchange. Importantly, whereas Google users expose their email to data mining, Exchange email is a secure content system that restricts access to “your eyes only”. Among other reasons, this privacy feature is why Exchange email is used almost overwhelmingly in commerce.

Perhaps the niftiest trick in Microsoft’s web based email client is the facility to run their email in “offline” mode.

outlook web access has a clean interface

Wait a minute. Read that one more time. Offline? Managing email with your web browser – offline? Did Hotmail ever do that? No. Nobody else did, either. That is why everybody needed Outlook for Desktop, or Outlook Express, or Eudora or Thunderbird. In case you still do not believe the proposition, the illustration above shows how offline mode is not more than two clicks away.

Offline email management is a trump card. Do not expect to see an entire mailbox in offline mode, more like a few day’s worth of traffic, but enough to keep you with something to do on the road. It is one feature of many “gimme’s” Microsoft deploys from time to time to keep the corporate world so attached to Exchange.

The great thing about OWA is that if you only want to run email, the browser interface does just that, and beautifully so on iPads. OWA connects directly to Exchange 2013, though, so all the tools that high end users need like shared address books, distribution groups, rules, instant messaging, administrator tools like mail policies and even in-line archiving, are there if you want them too.

You might be disappointed that this does not mean the end of Outlook for desktops. Outlook still has a place, and if anything has upped the ante  as a portal not only for email, but for user access to Office 365 to document folders and Sharepoint mind boggling services ..but that is for another few articles.

For a thirty trial of Microsoft Exchange and OWA, contact Steve Galloway on 07834 461 266 or Fred Dreiling on 07919 340 570. No credit card required for trial services.

Office 365 mobile/tablet support

As users distribute more content to multiple mobile devices, issues of data leakage, data privacy, and data protection become increasingly important. Microsoft Exchange can cope with connectivity to a maximum of 5 devices per user, so the number of devices exposing an organisation to liability under data protection laws extend far beyond the number of an organisation’s “on-premise” workstations.

In the event of a lost mobile phone, laptop, or tablet which contains your customers’ personal data by way of contact information, emails, and/or documents, it is not enough to ask a mbile phone supplier to stop a SIM card – many smartphones can continue to connect to cloud services wirelessly to access organizational information and contact information even after disconnection from telco services.

ComStat is an authorised Microsoft Clour Partner, and is additionally authorised as a qualified network administrator. This means our engineers have a thorough working knowledge of advanced Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 technologies to help organisations subscribing to our supported services to deal rapidly with “won’t happen to me” events like lost mobile phones so that policies can be established to configure devices by brand, model, or individual, invoke keypad security, and restrict or wipe organisational data in the event of loss, including overseas travel.

Outlook Web Access (OWA)

Microsoft Outlook Web App (or Outlook Web Access) is a browser-based email client. Outlook Web App (OWA) lets users access their Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox from almost any web browser. The tools has proven immensely popular, and in some cases organisations forego the deployment of desktop versions of Outlook in favour of OWA’s clean and intuitive presentation.

Additionally, OWA connects you to your contacts, calendars, tasks, and Office 365 tools like Sharepoint, Word online, Excel online etc., and other management facilities for handling your Office 365 accounts. Depending on user rights, some users have access to advanced services which permit network administration of in-house and third party installations.

‘Appy Days for Office 365

‘Appy Days for Office 365

Office 365 users can tap into the Office Store’s app inventory to customise Office 365.

The facility enables authorised users to install apps from the Office 365 store.

Popular apps include Microsoft’s “Bing Maps”, which detects addresses in email content and gives users options to open maps within Outlook Web Acces (OWA). Another app which admins love is a tool for rendering email headers, which for some reason Microsoft have made so difficult for engineers to access in later versions of Outlook.

The real value comes for organisations whose admins can install apps within their Office 365 environment, and either make apps optionally available to end users, or push apps directly to end user accounts. This “server room” capability hints at Office 365’s more extensive features available to administrators, who have access to Exchange 2013’s full suite of management tools, which range from user account management to archiving policies and even options for managing, restricting, or wiping data on user’s connected mobile phones and tablets,  following loss or theft.

For a thirty trial of Office 365, or for a demonstration of services, please contact Steve Galloway on 07834 461 266.

Message Header Screen shots

The Message Header Analyzer runs as a drop down windows in OWA’s email reading pane.  Users click open the tool for a fully featured report on transport, anti-spam data, and other headers which help engineers isolate delivery issues. This screen shot shows summary header information – click on the images to see full res detail :

The Message Header Analyzer for OWA is a fully specified tool for examining various header types not normally available. This imge shows the summary header.

Message Analyzer also reports on header information not usually available in mainstream services like GMail, Windows Live, and Yahoo. Data is broken down into categories to help engineers understand present or potentially developing spam problems and transit information. In this screen shot, we have opened the “Original Headers” tab to capture raw data which is meaningful to engineers when troubleshooting. Click on the images to see full res detail:

appy_days_message_header_2