calendar

How To: Using Resource Calendars in Exchange Online (Office 365) Best Practice

Tech How-To Office 365 How To: Using Resource Calendars in Exchange Online (Office 365) Best Practice
By James Hart | Posted in Office 365

This document outlines how Resource Calendars (booking meeting rooms and other resources) are intended to work in Office 365 / Exchange Online.

Creating Resources

A resource is anything in your business which has limited availability and you wish to be able to reserve using your Outlook calendar. A typical example would be a meeting room but you can also create things like AV systems or specialist equipment for reservation by your staff.

You can create resources using the Exchange Online email and calendaring system, accessible through the Office 365 Admin Portal (https://portal.office.com)

By default, all resources can be queried by all users to check if they are free or busy.

Booking / Reserving a Resource in Outlook

Let us assume that most commonly, a resource is a Meeting Room and this has been set up in Exchange Online.

There is a common misconception that you need to be able to ‘see’ the Meeting Room’s calendar before being able to set a suitable meeting time.

In fact, the process should be as follows, using the Availability Checker.

1. Set Up a New Meeting

  • In Outlook, switch to your Calendar view
  • Click Meeting in the toolbar to set up a new meeting
  • In the To… field, add the email address for all attendees
  • Also in the To… field, start typing the name of your meeting room then select it from the list

2. Define the Time and Date

At this stage you have defined who is required to attend the meeting, and the room in which you intend to hold it.

Now, click the Scheduling button in the toolbar.

This will load up a panel indicating when all invitees are free, including when the room is free. In this way, you can easily choose a meeting time which you know can be met by everybody, including the room availability.

Complete the other details of your meeting and then Send the invitation.

The meeting room will automatically accept the booking if you chose a time when it was available. Your other attendees will of course have the choice to accept or reject the invite.

Common Questions

What if I just want to see quickly if the room/resource is free?

Using the same technique as above, you can quickly interrogate the meeting room calendar without actually setting a meeting. Just go to set up a meeting with the room as the only invitee, then hit the Scheduling button.

Can’t I just open / view the resource’s calendar directly?

You can, but it usually the relevant permissions and calendar has to be set up manually for every single person in the company. This is not a very scalable solution and runs the risk of users making manual entries in to the resource calendar to make bookings, which is not supported and may cause breakages or double-bookings.

We recommend this is only used sparingly in special cases, for example where an office administrator needs to very regularly see the availability of a resource across a number of weeks.

I prefer to choose my meeting time and then invite the people, why can’t I do it this way?

The logic is that there is no point setting a meeting room and time/date if the system is able to tell you that required attendees cannot actually make the proposed time.

As such, the recommended method is to use the Scheduling button to identify a time after you have defined who needs to attend the meeting.

Real-Time Feedback

When we solve a support ticket, clients are given the choice of leaving good or bad feedback along with an optional comment. We post the 10 most recent comments here automatically and in real-time. You can view even more on our reviews page.

Date Name Comments
Jan 16th Jacqui F Fast and efficient.
Jan 8th Karen W Thank you so much Happy New Year Kind regards Karen
Dec 31st Laura D Exceptional support yet again had me back up and running in 15 minutes from me discovering problem and you were meant to be closed for Christmas. Thank you Lochie
Dec 19th Emily C Helpful and quick service as always, thank you
Dec 16th Fiona S Dean was able to retrieve the information that we needed. Saved me a lot of time, thanks
Dec 13th Lydia F Very Good , I am satisfied, very quick respond and help with problem. I hope I will not have this problem again. Many thanks Lydia Forder-White
Dec 3rd Simon D Always quick and successful. Thanks.
Nov 22nd James A James Did a great job getting me back up and running. Thanks
Nov 21st Tracy N Very quick response and early resolution. Thank you
Nov 21st Justin Superb response, fast and effective as always, many thanks James!