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Office 365 - Cross-system Calendar Event Scheduling

The ability to schedule events with Office 365 calendar users at other select UW System institutions is possible through Office 365. This article provides an overview on which UW System institutions support this functionality, how to view the "free/busy" times of Office 365 calendar users at participating institutions, and how to "opt out" of sharing your "free/busy" times.


To facilitate cross-system communication and collaboration, the "free/busy" calendar information of UWM's Office 365 users is viewable by Office 365 users at other UW System institutions that are participating in Office 365 calendar federation. Such users' "free/busy" times are, in turn, viewable by UWM's Office 365 calendar users.

By default, the "free/busy" times of all Office 365 calendar users (but not their appointment details) can be viewed. Any UWM user of the Office 365 calendar user can "opt out" by setting her/his calendar so that "free/busy" times cannot be viewed by anyone aside from that user. Additionally, only Office 365 users at participating institutions have the ability to view calendar information for users who have not opted out.

Office 365 cross-system calendar federation participants currently include:
  • UW System Administration
  • UW Colleges and Extension
  • UW-Eau Claire
  • UW-Green Bay
  • UW-Madison
  • UW-Milwaukee
  • UW-Platteville 
  • UW-River Falls
  • UW-Stevens Point
  • UW-Stout 
Viewing the "free/busy" times of users at one of these institutions can be done by entering the appropriate e-mail address into the scheduling assistant in Outlook on the web or the Outlook desktop client. Please note that some UW-Madison employees have multiple e-mail addresses tied to their accounts.The e-mail address ending in must be used for UW-Madison employees; departmental e-mail address domains such as may not work.

1. In Outlook on the Web, open your calendar and then click the New button to create a new calendar event:

Calendar Image

2. In the Add people box, enter the email address of the UW colleague(s) for whom you would like to check "free/busy" times:

Add People

3. Once you have added the UW colleague(s) as an attendee, click Scheduling assistant:

Scheduleing assistant

4. The scheduling assistant screen will appear and you will be able to see the UW colleague's free/busy calendar information. From here, you can either continue with scheduling the event or you can discard the event:

scheudling assistant screen

How to opt out of sharing "free/busy" times

If you do not wish to share your "free/busy" times, you can opt out by changing your "read" calendar permission level setting in the Outlook desktop client for Windows (2010, 2013, 2016) or Mac (2011, 2016). This setting is not accessible in Outlook on the web.

Windows (Outlook 2016 is shown here, but the process is the same in Outlook 2010 and 2013): 

1. In Outlook, in the left-hand bottom corner of the screen, click Calendar.

2. In the Home tab of the top toolbar, click Calendar Permissions in the Share section of the toolbar:

3. In the Read section of the Permissions tab, select the None radio button:

4. A warning will pop up and explain that setting the default calendar permissions to none will prevent anyone from seeing your free/busy information. Click OK:

5. Click OK to close the Calendar Properties:

 (Outlook 2016 is shown here, but the process is the same in Outlook 2011 for Mac):

1. In Outlook, in the left-hand bottom corner of the screen, click Calendar.

2. In the Home tab of the top toolbar, click Calendar Permissions:

3. In the Read section of the Permissions tab, select the None radio button:

4. Click OK to close the Calendar Properties:

  • UWM's "Office 365 Governance Group" endorsed the proposal on March 15, 2016
  • UWM's "IT Policy Committee" (UWM's campus governance body for IT) endorsed the proposal on April 1, 2016
  • UWM's Chancellor's Cabinet endorsed the proposal on April 11, 2016

Keywords:O365, Office 365, OotW, Outlook, Outlook client, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, mailbox, calendars, cross-system sharing, scheduling, free busy time, availability, calendar federation   Doc ID:62940
Owner:Help Desk K.Group:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created:2016-04-25 11:11 CDTUpdated:2022-07-19 15:06 CDT
Sites:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
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