We use Outlook to handle our schedules and the current way we inform people who have a vested interest in our absence is by creating a meeting request for the time out of office and including people who might want to know as "Optional" attendees. This is greatly informative, but it ruins the ability to schedule meetings with coworkers since it shows the time as booked in the calendar for everyone involved. Is there a way to take off, show only myself as out-of-office, and inform people without marking them as out-of-office too? I suppose I could send two different appointments but this is cumbersome to maintain so ideally one appointment would be best.

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    I usually make sure SHOW AS FREE is on the one I send to my coworkers and then put one in for myself that is out of the office. I can't think of another way to do it.
    – HLGEM
    Sep 26 '14 at 17:37
  • @HLGEM - That seems to be what Microsoft recommends, but I just wanted to see if anyone in the community found a better way to handle this.
    – Joel B
    Sep 26 '14 at 17:40
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's an Outlook usage/support question, not a workplace question as we have been using the term. What do the user manuals and user communities suggest?
    – keshlam
    Jun 16 '16 at 23:30

Under new items, instead of "New meeting" select "New appointment" and make sure you select Busy under the Show As: option. Select the dates according to your vacation and voila.

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Whenever someone else tries to schedule a meeting, only you will be listed as unavailable during the conflicting times. As long as you don't check private, they can even see the name of your appointment too, such as "Vacation - Out of office until X"


Is there a way to take off, show only myself as out-of-office, and inform people without marking them as out-of-office too?

Schedule it as a 0-hours, all-day meeting.

It should end up as a 12:00 AM event on the invitees calendars.


No. Don't do this. This has become a popular way to show others that you are OOO. In a MS Exchange environment, I only want things that I am doing to be on my calendar. That is why we have individual calendars associated with our account. What happens in most IT shops is that about 30% of your co-workers forget to mark appointments as free, forget to un-check responses, etc..I have missed a few meetings in my office because the organizer though I was at my co-workers doctor appointment. Also, if you frequently use your all-day area, these appointments can get lost or ignored in a sea of other people's summer vacations. I wouldn't even call this technique a work-around, because the technology already provides multiple ways to easily view who is out. My favorite way is to create a group calendar. When you create you out appointment (on your own calendar) add the group calendar as an attendee. When I click on my calendar, I have my personal calendar open side-by-side with our group calendar. This is also helpful in that you can show when someone is out for part of the day. So... If you have a dentist appointment tomorrow, please do not put it on my calendar. Thank you


At my last company, we created a resource named OutOfOffice (same way you would create a meeting room). You scheduled your vacation using that resource, and anybody who wants to see the list of people who are on vacation now can look at the resource's calendar. (If they only care about you they can look at your calendar.)

At my current company, while we use Outlook/Exchange for real meetings, we also have a shared Google calendar for out-of-office notices (whether vacation, customer meetings, conferences, or other stuff). People can show or hide that calendar on top of their personal ones. This does assume that most people are already using Google calendar for personal stuff -- true for us, might not be true for you.

Putting stuff on other people's calendars that isn't about those other people is generally considered to be a bad practice, in my experience. Say you work at a place with several hundred people -- do you really want your own calendar to be junked up like that?

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