How to define high sensitivity private calendars, meetings, events and appointments in Outlook 2016 / 2019 /365?

Last update: October 2019

Here’s a question we got from a reader:

I am sharing my default calendar with my entire 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 unavailable / greyed out for others. Any suggestions on how to accomplish that?

Thanks for the question; i am unsure of which operating system you are running on, therefore appending a procedure for both Windows 7/8/10 and macOS computers.

Let’s start with Windows. Here we go:

Private appointments and meetings in Outlook

  • Open Outlook.
  • Navigate to the relevant Calendar.
  • Double click the specific meeting / appointment / event / task you would like to make private / hidden.
  • In the right hand side of the ribbon (Tags group), hit the Private icon, so others sharing their calendar won’t be able to see your meeting details.
  • Hit Save and Close.


Make your entire calendar private

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.

  • To do so, navigate to your Calendar tab.
  • Highlight your calendar in the left hand side.
  • Set the permission for Default to be Free/Busy time.
  • Hit Apply.

Everyone looking into your calendar, will be able to view if you are either busy or free, but not your appointment detail

macOS Outlook privacy settings

The process for Outlook on macOS is surprisingly similar.

  • Open Outlook
  • Navigate to the calendar
  • Highlight the meeting
  • Set the Private button and hit Save


  • Other looking into the calendar will see a private meeting



Additional readers questions

Can delegates see the private meetings?

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.


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