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Outlook: Show calendar as busy, free, tentative, and out of office

As an exchange user in Microsoft Outlook, you can set permission for others to view the Free/Busy information in your calendar. Therefore, other users can pick up free time for group schedules, such as meeting. Apart from the permission of viewing Free/Busy information, you need to mark your appointments as busy, free, or others. This article will guide you to show appointments in calendars as busy, free, tentative, or out of office in Microsoft Outlook.

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The following steps will guide to you show your appointments as busy, free, tentative, or out of office.

Step 1: Create a new appointment:

  1. In Outlook 2010 and 2013, please click the New Items > Appointment on the Home tab;
  2. In Outlook 207, please click the File > New > Appointment.

Step 2: In the Appointment window, click the Show As: box in the Options group on the Appointment tab.

There are five options in the drop down list of Show As: box: Free, Tentative, Busy, Out of Office, and Working Elsewhere. You can select one of them based on your needs.

Step 3: Compose your appointment, and click the Save & Close button.

Then these appointments will be marked and shown as Free, Busy, Tentative, or Out of Office, both in your Outlook and in other exchange users’ Outlook who share your calendar information. See screen shot:


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Klass · 8 months ago

    How can i apply this only for my calendar and not for all envent users?

    Thanks in advance,
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Precious · 1 years ago
    User states he's shown as blocked off all day when he is not. This is only showing for those who try to book him for a meeting. His calendar is fine however
    how to find out if this is User error
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    KnightLines · 1 years ago
    Will Microsoft PLEASE put back the dark purple color to block out calendars? Right now it's in the palest pink and I can't see the contrast against the other calendars when IN the office. I need it back, right in the body of the calendar. I usually have at least 5 calendars up at any given time. If someone's OOO, I can't see it. I've only had 2016 for less than a week and I've made three big mistakes and scheduled my people when they have PTO--BECAUSE I CAN'T SEE THAT THEY'RE OOO when next to other people who will also be on the appointment.
    PLEASE?! Calendaring is 45% of my job and Microsoft has just made my job harder.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Jean · 5 months ago
      I agree completely! I can find no good reason why they did this!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Ann · 2 years ago
    I work 3 variable days per week. Is there an easy way to choose all my days off at once and categorize them as "unavailable"?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Cam · 2 years ago
      1) Open Outlook Options; 2) Select 'Calendar' in the left sidebar; 3) the first section of options is called 'Work Time'. Here you can set your work schedule that shows up in the Outlook scheduling assistant.
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    Erin · 3 years ago
    I have to use the medical scheduling software for my practice. I have imported the internet calendar and I can see my schedule. But is there any way for others to see when I am busy based on that calendar too?