Outlook hints for meeting replies and calendar analysis

Accept/Decline replies

Q. What do you recommend to deal with large numbers of meeting Accept/Declines?

A. The reason why you are keeping them would guide my advice. That said, you don’t have to keep these responses to track the information. In Outlook 2010 and 2013, you’ll see a Meeting Tracking button that allows you to view and capture this information on each meeting.

If you like to have the replies, and any additional information they might contain until the meeting has past, consider creating a filtering rule to folder them in a place that you can easily clean up daily or weekly. From the Rules button, click Create Rule, then the Advanced button. Scroll down to the uses the form name form checkbox, and check it. Click on the form link in the rule editing space below, and change the form location to Application Forms.  Add both Accept Meeting Response and Decline Meeting Response to the Selected Forms side. Then, on the next step, choose to move it to a folder. Now you can keep an eye on these without cluttering up the inbox.

Calendar data analysis

Q. I need to analyze data on my calendar from previous years. Is there an easier way to do it than manually going through the calendar month by month?

A. Calendar items can be viewed in a list similar to email or tasks. Click on the View tab, and in the Current View group, click on the Change View button. Click the List option. Now you can filter, search only for those meetings that have attachments, or a particular category. If you prefer, you can export the list to Excel (File, Import in 2010, File, Open & Export in 2013) and use all of its robust analysis tools.

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In Excel, all fields will be available. That means you can search within the body of the calendar item for keywords. Knowing that, put keywords in there that are meaningful to you, like cost center or training code.