Microsoft Outlook's Scheduling Assistant is a tool which allows you to invite groups of people to meetings or events without having to email them individually. You may complete a new meeting request which Outlook emails to the desired recipients in the form of an invitation. When the invitation is sent, a tentative appointment will appear on the invitees' calendars. Potential attendees can then accept or reject the invitation. If an individual accepts, Outlook will automatically mark the time as busy on his or her Calendar. This document covers the process involved in using Outlook's Scheduling Assistant.
Outlook 2013's Scheduling Assistant is capable of taking a great number of variables into account when helping you to schedule a meeting. This section will explain how to create a new Meeting Request and schedule that request using the Scheduling Assistant.
In Outlook, at the bottom left of the screen, click Calendar.
From the Home tab, at the top left of the screen, click New Meeting and select New Meeting from the dropdown menu.
A new window appears. From the Meeting tab, select Scheduling Assistant.
The Scheduling Assistant view appears, which looks something like a spreadsheet. You will see your name and schedule in the top row.
Note: On the right-hand side, you will see the Suggested Times list. As you had attendees to your meeting, this list will adjust to provide possible meeting times when all required attendees and/or locations are available. The times correspond to the date and meeting duration you have currently selected (more information on this can be found below).
There are multiple ways to add attendees to your meeting requests:
If you know the name of the person (or people) you wish to add, click in the space under your name that says Click here to add a name, and type in the person's name or username.
Example: Smith, John
If you wish to look up a person's name instead, click Address Book in the Meeting tab at the top of the screen and use the search box. Click OK to add the person to the scheduling view.
Click Add Attendees near the bottom left of the screen and use the search box to find names. Click OK to add the person to the scheduling view.
Note: By, default, the Name only option is selected. When in this view, it is easiest to search by a person's last name. If you wish to search by username, select More columns.
Optional: Some rooms on campus are available for reservation, and therefore have their own calendars. To reserve one of these rooms, click Add Rooms near the bottom left of the screen and choose the desired room. A meeting request will be sent to the calendar of this room.
At the bottom of the screen, you can set the start and end dates and times. To change the date you are viewing on the screen (and the date for which times will be suggested in the Suggested Times list), click the calendar icon and select the appropriate date. To change the time, use the dropdown menus.
Note: When you change the time, you are changing the duration of the meeting in the Suggested Times list: it will only suggest openings that fit that duration.
From the Suggested Times list, choose the desired time. Conflict-free times appear at the top of the list.
If you are having a difficult time finding an available time for all required attendees, click Options | AutoPick, then click Required People. The meeting date/time will automatically be adjusted to the next available slot.
Click Appointment in the Meeting tab at the top of the screen. This will return you to the Appointment screen. You will see the details for the date and time you selected. Add a subject and location in the appropriate text boxes. If desired, enter text to appear in the body of the message.