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Weekly Computer Tip # 99
29 January 2005

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Scheduling a meeting with people outside your company (Microsoft Outlook)

The other day I was preparing an Advanced Outlook course I was asked to run and stumbled upon a really great feature ... Have you ever had to invite people to attend a meeting who work at another company and perhaps aren't even using Outlook? Obviously, you can send an email message to invite the person to attend the meeting. Or you can include them when you send the so-called "meeting request". But in both cases they need to manually enter the meeting in their electronic calendar which might mean they forget to do so or simply make a mistake when manually entering the meeting. However,

Did you know ...

You can use Internet Calendar (iCal) to send meeting requests to people who work at another company and/or who do not use Outlook. The recipient can open the meeting request and accept the invitation to add it to their calendar, or decline it and you can track their responses to the meeting request.

Here's how:

  1. Open the Calendar folder and display the date on which the meeting is to be scheduled. (If you want to invite an external guest to an existing meeting, open the relevant meeting from your Calendar and proceed to step 5.)
  2. Choose the File, New, Meeting Request command, or expand the New Appointment button and select the Meeting Request option from the drop-down menu.
  3. On the Appointment panel of the Meeting window enter the name(s) of the person(s) you want at the meeting.
  4. Enter the subject, location and start/end times for the meeting, an optional message and any other relevant information you want to include such as a reminder. (Do NOT send this meeting request!)
  5. On the Actions menu, select the Forward as iCalendar command.
  6. Complete the message as normal.
  7. Click on the Send button.

The meeting request is sent to your guest(s) as an attachment and he/she can respond to the notification as normal (i.e. choose Accept, Tentative or Decline).

Please note the people with whom you exchange meeting requests must also be using an iCal compliant mail program such as Outlook or Lotus Notes, but hey, I wish I would have known about this years ago! Which reminds me of an email I got from Jenny Evans following last week's tip on resetting the "working folder" from "My Documents" to your own preferred location ... "This a great one. I wish I had known about it years ago!! However, it worked on Word, Excel and PowerPoint but not on Access. On Access the tools/options is not available when you go into Access. Any ideas?" Well, what I should have mentioned is that the option is greyed out unless you have one of your databases open.

That's it for this week. Next week will be - drum roll please - tip # 100. If you have any special requests for this special number, want to tell me how you have benefited from these tips or even if it's just been a long time since you said 'hello', please drop me a line. It makes all the difference to know you're out there! (Thanks, Jenny!)

Until next week.

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January 2005