Here’s a question we got from a reader:
I am sharing my default calendar with my team, so that our calendars are fully visible to all members, including our boss.
I would like to be able to setup personal appointments so that the meeting details are private to me and unavavilable / greyed out for others. Any pointers?
Thanks for the question; i am unsure of which operating system you are running on, so appending a procedure for both Windows 7/8/10 and macOS computers.
Let’s start with Windows.
Another option to enhance your calendar privacy is using your calendar permission settings. Most probably this is already in place in your company, but anyway worth checking this out.
Everyone looking into your calendar, will be able to view if you are either busy or free, but not your appointment detail
The process for Outlook on macOS is surprisingly similar.
A colleague asked me whether a delegate could see Private meetings. The answer depends on the specific calendar permissions as setup by your IT department or whoever created the shared calendar. Hence i would assume that a delegate could potentially see your calendar meetings, private or public.
Here’s a question we got from a reader:
I use my Outlook calendar to manage my business meetings and appointments, tasks and contacts; but also my personal appointments, as well as reminders to call friends on their birthday. As such i keep constantly getting reminders and notifications from Outlook on overdue appointments, meetings and tasks which is kind of overwhelming. Once i get a reminder, i typically dismiss it one by one, or dismiss them all. I guess my question is how to disable Outlook reminders so i won’t need to get rid of them manually. I am using Outlook 365 on a Windows 10 computer.
Thanks for the nice question. Although you are using Windows, i have added another section that will be helpful for macOS users.
Please proceed as following:
You are able to get rid of reminders for appointments as well as individual or series of meetings. This will work both for meetings scheduled by 3rd parties or yourself.
Kindly proceed as following:
Outlook for macOS also allows you to suppress reminders for both individual or recurring appointments and meetings, or for all your calendars.
If opting out from reminders of specific event doesn’t meet your specific needs, then you can stop all Outlook notifications by proceeding as described below.
You can turn off notifications from shared calendar using the procedures shown above.
Outlook allows you to set a default reminder timing for your calendar meetings and appointment only.
Please proceed as following:
In case of further questions, feel free to leave us a comment.
Here’s a question we got from Dorothy:
Hello! i work as a travel agent and my availability is of utmost important to my customers. Every now and then, i am away from office due to vacations, and i would like to ensure my customers are aware of that and stuff doesn’t fall through the cracks. In the past, I used to work for a company, and i remember that there was a trick to set an out of the office auto-responder there. I now work from home and use Outlook.com and Gmail on Microsoft Outlook 2019, is there a way to setup an out of the office rule to notify others that i am away?
Thanks for your good question and good luck with your new business.
You can easily define auto reply texts when out of the office using Rules. In this tutorial we’ll explain how to do that in Windows and then in the macOS. Readers can put this in practice in order to have Outlook reply automatically in case they are away for vacation, or any other leave of absence.
For completeness we have added a short section on how to use Outlook on Exchange to send OOTO replies.
If you are using Gmail or Hotmail/Outlook.com on Outlook, you’ll need to use Rules to setup your autoresponder.
Please proceed as following:
Note: Please remember that you’ll need to deactivate your rules when back from your vacations or leave of absence; otherwise your automatic emails will continue to be sent.
If you want to disable your replies, proceed as following:
If your company is using an Exchange Server, then the configuration process is very simple:
If you are on macOS then the process is fairly simple, here are the steps:
We were asked whether you are able to set different automatic responders according to who sent the message. That’s possible,as the Outlook Rules Wizrd allows you to condition your email messages by several parameters:
In order to use multiple replies, all you need to do is build different rules and then assign different Outlook reply templates to each.
Good question, you’ll see your replies in your Outlook sent items.
This is a very important question – the answer is that the rules you are defining in Outlook are client only, meaning that they will run only when Outlook is running. This is not the case if you are using autoreplies on Outlook on Exchange.
When absent, you might choose to automatically forward your emails to other people. You can use the Rules Wizard to define a specific rule to handle that.
On Windows, you are able to add rich text information to your replies, be it links, pictures and even animated gifs. You can also add your signature to all outgoing emails.
In case of any additional questions, feel free to let us know.
Last update: April 2019.
Here’s a question we got for a reader:
Hello there, i am a travel agent, and would like to define a custom email template to answer emails that my customer send me. I also would like to speed up my appointment scheduling process and have a template i can use to quickly create appointments and meetings. If it helps, i am using Outlook 365. Thanks upfront for any help you can offer.
Thanks for your question. Here we go ;-):
Setting up pre-defined email messages is pretty simple. All you’ll need to do is to type and format an email message and then save it as a template for future use.
Note: for simplicity, in this post, i will be using simple message and meeting template examples, however you can as well define more complex user fillable forms.
Please follow these steps:
Re-using your existing templates is pretty simple as well:
In the same fashion, you can reuse predefined formats for your meeting and appointments.
Just go ahead and define your meeting stencil and save it as an .otf file; then send your request to the meeting attendees.
From time to time you might need to modify your Outlook form / template.
In order to do that proceed as following:
Couple of readers asked us in which file path Outlook typically stores all custom stencils.
By default, the location is under your user account. In Windows 10 /8 or 7, it would be: C\:users\<your_user_name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.
You can obviously store your files in different locations in your Windows PC operating system.
Tip: If you are unsure of the exact location, you can run a Windows search for .oft files.
If you are using Outlook for macOS and would like to define your own custom template formats, proceed as following:
Quite simple. Please follow these instructions:
Note: Outlook on macOS doesn’t support appointment and meeting templates
Here’s a question we received from Donna:
Hello! just got appointed as a project manager here in my company, so i now live in Outlook :-)… One of the first things i will need to do is to setup ongoing meeting series with many of the stakeholders of the project. Those could be either one on one, of group meetings. Would be happy to get some shortcuts on how to get going with the scheduling of those recurrences. Help is appreciated upfront. Thanks!
Thanks for your question and good luck in your new job.
Managing recurrent appointments in Outlook could be a daunting task, let’s try to break it down with some best practices to get things going.
My first recommendation would be to setup a dedicated calendar for your project, so that you can have all meetings related to the project organized in a single place. Here’s a tutorial on adding new calendars to Outlook for both Windows and MAC.
After setting up your calendar, you are able to start scheduling your meeting series.
The process for MAC users is a bit different and resembles the one used in older Office versions:
You could potentially create a meeting or events series, by duplicating a previous series and adjusting the meeting subjects, participants and location. Here’s a tutorial that will help you achieve that.
Questions? Feel free to use the comments below to let us know.
Here’s a question from a reader:
I am using Microsoft Outlook 365. I have noticed that after i click on a specific email entry in the Outlook Mail tab and open it for reading, Outlook naturally mark it as read. What’s annoying is that i have noticed that items that i view in the Reading Pane are shown as being read as well… This makes it difficult for me to follow up on my email and take the required action. Now the question is the following: is there a way to modify the read / unread settings to keep my messages marked as unread in Outlook unless i explicitly set them as read (by making a right click and selecting Mark as Read). Thanks in advance for any tips.
Thanks for the question. Here we go with the answer (covering both Windows and macOS)
You can follow this procedure to turn off the single click read feature, so that Outlook will not mark messages as read:
Note: There is another interesting setting in the Reading Pane, which allows you to mark items as read when selecting different items in your Inbox. The setting is not checked by default.
To configure Outlook to stop “opening” your email automatically and marking your previewed email as read kindly follow these steps:
Kindly leave us a quick comment in case of any questions.
Updated: February 2019
Couple of days ago , we got the following question:
I found online several guides that explain how to setup GMail into Microsoft Outlook on Windows 7 and 10. None of them were targeted at MAC. I just bought a Macbook air with the High Sierra operating system installed, and need some configuration help for GMail for Outlook. Specifically i am looking for the pop or IMAP settings that I’ll need to use in order to connect to the GMail account from the MAC.
Thanks for the question. As many things in Apple land, setting up GMail is relatively a breeze. Read on for the complete details, details for MAC OSX versions prior to High Sierra are similar. The procedure is equally valid for Office 365, as well as the standard Office 2016 and 2019 packages.
Note: If this is the first time you are setting up email in your MAC, you’ll initially be prompted to select an email provider, be it Exchange, ICloud, Yahoo or GMail. After making your selection skip to step 5 below.
Kindly proceed as following:
Once you added Outlook you could make some basic configurations to personalize your account.
One of the first things i do when setting up an Outlook account is to personalize my outgoing email signature. Here’s a detailed walk through with the steps.
Annoyed from incoming email notifications, here’s a guide on how to disable desktop alerts on Windows and MAC.
Enjoy your MAC
Last update: June 2019
Applies to: Outlook 2019,365, 2016, 2013; Windows 7, 8 or 10.
One reader sent us the following question:
Here’s an issue i just encountered: After launching Microsoft Outlook 365 to access my email i get stuck.. the login window comes up and stays for a while and then an error message stating that “the Outlook Window can’t open” comes up. I am using a Windows PC if that’s helpful for your troubleshooting this. I wonder my the software doesn’t open.. If it helps, a friend mentioned i should be using a specific command to launch a clean Outlook install so the installation can be repaired.. Any pointers on how to recover my Outlook access are appreciated up-front.
Thanks for the question, indeed a tricky one to troubleshoot online, but we’ll definitely try
First and foremost, i would assume that you are using Outlook 2019, although fixing this issue for earlier versions is not majorly different.
As you mentioned that the Outlook login dialog came up and stayed for a while, we’ll start out troubleshooting by looking into into any Outlook COM add-ins that are installed in your system and for some reason are not firing correctly causing Outlook to hang up when starting up.
These add-ins extend the functionality of Outlook to allow you (for example) to interact with PDF files, integrate with OneNote, work with SharePoint, launch a Skype meeting, etc’.
In order to start troubleshoot this we need to be able to launch Outlook without the add-ins firing up. That is accomplished with the so-called Outlook safe mode.
Kindly proceed as following:
Note: How do we know that Outlook started in Safe Mode? That’s written in the upper side of your screen and visible in Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks panes.
Note: You can turn off the safe mode by simply closing Outlook and opening again by hitting the Outlook icon on desktop, task bar or program list.
Proceed as following:
If this didn’t help, proceed to the next section.
In case that you have customized your Outlook navigation pane, chances are that Outlook might encounter an issue opening the default Outlook window View.
In order to reset the navigation pane settings, proceed as following:
If this didn’t help, you might need to create a different Outlook profile, we’ll cover this in one of our upcoming guides.
Here are a few follow up reader questions that we have received as a follow up on this post:
There could be times that even after fixing an Addin launch issue, Outlook will continue to launch in safe mode. If this is the case, then hit the Windows Search magnifying glass, type Run and then type Outlook.exe, this will launch the program in normal mode. If this is not helping, the there is probably a failing Add-in issue. To fix that, go through the steps outlined in the section at the beginning of this tutorial.
Kindly leave us a comment in case of questions.
Updated: June 2019
Applies to: Outlook 2019, 365, 2016, 2013; Both Windows 7/8/10 and macOS.
Here’s a question that we received from a reader who wanted to setup and update his footer signature text on Office Outlook 365:
Hello folks. A customer of mine sent me a note that had a quite fancy signature in the bottom, complete with his details, address, contact details. Wanted to ask you how can i insert a signature of my own into my Outlook email. Note that i use multiple email accounts concurrently – Gmail for business usage and Outlook.com for personal; so i would like to have couple of signatures defined. Is that possible? If so, how?
Hey – thanks for the question. Creating (or editing) custom signatures for your outgoing email messages is pretty simple with Outlook. As i am now setting up my Outlook 2019 account, i would like to explain the process using that version. The process is almost identical for other Outlook versions eg- 365/2016/2013.
Here’s how you create and edit your E-mail signature:
From time to time you might need to update an existing signature or to add a new signature for a new email account that you’ll access using Outlook. If so, kindly proceed as following:
Note: This might be a great opportunity to update your business card file (*.VCF file) and attach it to your new signature.
Couple of readers asked me about where does signatures get saved in Windows, so that they can backup their Outlook email signatures when needed. When switching computers, the already defined personalized signatures can be copied over the network/hard drive or OneDrive.
In Windows 7/8 and 10, the Outlook signatures are located at: C:\Users\<your_user_name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures folder. When creating a signature several files are created in that folder, each corresponding to the different Outlook message formats: htm, rtf and txt. Additionally a folder containing additional files related to the signature is created.
So when switching computers, just make sure that you copy the relevant files mentioned above into the same folder in your new computer; and you’ll be all set.
Using the HTML format is supported in both Outlook for Windows and MAC.
In Windows just make sure that your email body format is set to HTML (Text Fomat tab and then hit the HTML option).
You can add a personal touch to the signature by inserting picture (bmp, jpeg, png), animations (gif) and hyperlinks.
When editing your signature in both Windows and MAC versions of Outlook, you’ll find both the Insert Picture and Insert Hyperlink buttons that allow you to accomplish exactly that.
In order to insert an image proceed as following:
Note: Animated files (in gif or swf formats) can also be added, however chances are that policies of different email providers might quarantine messages containing animations or delete the animated files from the email before delivering to its recipients.
In general, we don’t recommend to auto generate signature using services found on the web. We believe that using this tutorial you can create great looking and professional signatures for your email.
Inserting an hyperlink is somewhat similar, just ensure that the url is correctly typed before adding it to the signature text.
That’s it for today, feel free to leave as a comment in case of questions.
Here’s a question from a reader:
I am setting up my new Outlook installation, and started to get emails from different people. One thing i notice is that i started also to receive those small black alerts that keep popping up on my Windows 10 desktop. The alerts also play an annoying beep sound. I have also noticed that small envelope popping up in the right side of the task bar whenever unread email is available for me to start reading. So i guess my question to you guys is whether there a way for me to hide new email notifications and sounds; as my incoming notification settings on GMail doesn’t seem to apply to Microsoft Outlook.
Thanks so much for your question. Actually this one is kind of timely, as i am coincidentally setting up my new Outlook 2019 install. I also feel that new message alerts can be a productivity-killer as those keep popping up and get you out of your flow. So, with the aim of maintaining focus and be more productive, i usually go ahead and modify the default Outlook settings, and get rid of incoming message pop up alerts. Actually, this is probably the first thing i do immediately after setting up my Outlook.com and Yahoo email accounts on a fresh Outlook install.
In this post i would like to go ahead and explain the configuration of the new email alert settings using an Office 2019 install, both for Windows 10 and MAC OSX. That said, the process outlined below will work on previous Microsoft Office versions.
As expected, not much change here when compared to Outlook 2013/2016 which i use through the Office 365 package.
Here are the steps:
Note: couple of readers asked us whether it’s possible to cancel Outlook new email notifications; however keep those notifications when incoming email from certain people hit your inbox. Basically, the process outlined above will suppress notifications for all your inbox emails and can’t be overwritten. That said, you could potentially define a new Outlook rule that will route email to a specific folder that you’ll create, say Important Email, and then you could write a short VBA macro that will pop up a notification when a new message hits that folder.
If you are interested to revert the changes you have mode just modify the settings mentioned above. Outlook will immediately reinstate the desktop alerts for you.
In case of any question, feel free to leave us a comment.