Recently the FMS TEL Team have been wondering how to keep tabs on events we’re not attending, without confusing the meeting organiser (or yourself!) by accepting them to keep them in your calendar. As Outlook takes a ‘decline’ response as an instruction to delete the event, this can be tricky.
For example, you may be part of a team running a series of demos or teaching, but you have split the delivery between you. It’s useful to know when the events are on, but you don’t need to go to them. Alternatively, you can use this to keep track of meetings happening when you are out of the office, in case you need to check on results, or in case your own plans change and you decide to attend.
We thought there must be a better way to decline a meeting but keep it in your calendar. We searched online and found these instructions.
In your calendar, decline the meeting request as you normally would. Then, you can go into your ‘deleted items’ folder in the mail tab and open up the meeting request again. Next, select ‘accept’ or ‘tentative’ at the dropdown arrow, choosing not to send a reply to the meeting organiser.
Doing this puts the meeting back in your calendar, but you still show as ‘declined’ in the meeting organiser’s tracking. I tend to choose ‘tentative’ so that the meetings look visually different to my other events.
Keeping your calendar full of tentative meetings may make you look more unavailable than you are. You can adjust the settings of the events to say you’re free. That way if anyone needs you, they can see that you’re available. Open up the meeting, and select Show As: Free.
This tip should help you manage complex calendars or use cases. To give your calendaring another boost, consider filtering your invitations and responses into a favourited folder using a rule.
This will let you keep on top of your availability, replies to your invitations and any changes without hunting through your inbox. Instructions on filtering with rules can be found here. You can set a rule to filter based on a ‘type’ of email, which includes calendar updates. We also have a post about email management you may find useful.
This quick guide gives you tips on how to boost the power of your Outlook searches.
The FMS TEL team was recently discussing the options for searching for emails in Outlook. Most of us are familiar with the search tool and can use the basic function. But there are ways to supercharge your searches in Outlook.
The first option is to use the Advance Search feature. To use this feature simply click on the Search bar then click on the open menu carrot on the right side of the Search bar.
Use the Advanced search options to specify criteria for your search. This interface is easy to use and understand. Search for emails based on sender, dates, subjects, attachments, and more.
You can also conduct specific searches using Outlooks search language operators. Here is a list of some of the search operators you can use to quickly search for specific results.
Anything containing the string pat including Pat, pattern, sympathy
Anything containg the string pat or the string smith, including as part of a larger word
Pat AND Smith
Anything containg both strings pat and smith, including as part of a larger word
Pat NOT Smith
Anything containing the string pat but not the string smith, including as part of a larger word
Pat OR Smith
The same as searching Pat Smith
Anything containing the string pat alone, not including as part of a larger word
Anything sent from Pat smith
from:”pat smith” about:”status report”
Anything sent from Pat smith that includes the phrase status report in the subject line
Anything with an attahcment
Anything containing an attachment called document.docx
Anything with the subject including the phrase status report
Anything received on 15 February 2022
from:pat (received:15/2/2022 or received:16/3/2022)
Anyting received from a sender with string pat on 15 February 2022 or 16 March 2022
We hope these search tips will prove useful to you in your future Outlook email searches.