Meeting Schedulers
December 10, 2004 5:34 AM   Subscribe

What do people use to schedule meetings. I'm told it can be done with Outlook, but I hate Outlook. Is there a web site that makes this painless. I'm envisioning a calendar where people can mark the times that they can't attend a meeting so that it's easy to see when the meeting CAN be scheduled. Any help appreciated.
posted by Outlawyr to Work & Money (12 answers total)
What is it you hate about Outlook? Just a Microsoftophobe? Because Outlook does precisely this. Is it that it's not a web service like UReserve? (Which I've never used, it was the first paid Google result)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:53 AM on December 10, 2004

You should use what everyone else is using, otherwise you're going to be forcing people to maintain two diaries. That alone will guarantee that they'll drop it faster that you can imagine.

The whole reason I shifted my diary to Outlook was so that I could keep my PDA and PC diary in sync with each other. The last thing I want to do is update a web-based calendar with every single meeting request or change I get (which is about 25-40 a week) and then ensure that it is copied back into my calendar.

Additionally, with Outlook notifications of changes or new meetings are sent to me as and when. Unless the web-based system sends you emails, you're going to have to keep logging onto it to check for updates which would completely interrupt my working day.
posted by ralawrence at 6:28 AM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: SSF: What I dislike is I started Outlook this morning, went through a confusing set up where it kept trying to become my default everything, and then when I was done I read the help menu on how to do this, and then tried it, and the menu entry I was supposed to click on under Actions wasn't there. I have no idea why, and don't want to spend hours figuring it out, then fixing this on the computer of everyone in the office. I just want something simple I can point people to and say, here, mark out the times you can't make the meeting here.

And ralawrence, no one is using anything right now. That's the problem. My office uses the random method of scheduling right now, and it is causing huge problems. I need to find something simple that I can convince everyone to use.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:31 AM on December 10, 2004

You could set up something like PHProjekt. Or you could you could use something like BaseCamp. Or if you are Mac based, you could just use iCal.
posted by spilon at 6:36 AM on December 10, 2004

I just want something simple I can point people to and say, here, mark out the times you can't make the meeting here.

I'm confused. Outlook does this, assuming people mark out their "busy" time accurately. You just have to have some patience and finish setting it up. If you're like me, you have every little task scheduled on your calendar, your out of office days are entered, meetings are if someone is scheduling a meeting, they click on a little radio button that says something about availability, and it shows you graphically when there's a free spot for everyone.
posted by suchatreat at 6:47 AM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: Alright, if I were to use Outlook, can anyone solve this problem. I go to Calendar. Click Actions, and have these choices:
New Appointment
New All day event
New recurring appointment

None of these choices allow me to set up a meeting. What's the problem?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:11 AM on December 10, 2004

Go to your inbox, click "file", "new", "meeting request" - at least that is how it works for me.
posted by caddis at 8:26 AM on December 10, 2004

On second look, I also have the "meeting request" option from the calendar. Perhaps it was not installed on your machine, or perhaps it is not installed if you do not install or set-up the email function as the meeting request is a combined calendar and email process.
posted by caddis at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2004

New Appointment should open up a window with a tab "appointment" and a tab "Attendee Availability." Go to the latter and start adding people. It will show graphically what their free times are, so you can adjust the meeting time. Go back to the appointment tab and it will look like an email to the people you invited. Send it, and they'll either accept or reject.

All this assumes the people you want to meet with are set up on the same exchange server you're on. If you're not using Exchange server, you can't use Outlook to do meetings. Which makes sense, because how else would Outlook know about other people's availability?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2004

On preview - I had a whole thing here about needing an exchange server - if you don't have one - You might find other helpful suggestions here
posted by Wolfie at 8:34 AM on December 10, 2004

stupidsexyFlanders got it. Outlook is great for groupware if your backend is an Exchange server, which keeps track of everyone's free/busy information and so on. If you are using Outlook as a simple POP/IMAP client, you can't really expect it to provide this functionality - it only knows about its own data island.

For a small enough group, you could use Hotmail calendar (or yahoo) - this would require everyone to either have a free account with them already or sign up for one.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 8:35 AM on December 10, 2004

Response by poster: Well, adding email information solved my initial problem, but now you guys mention this exchange server. Whatever that is, we ain't got one, so Outlook is useless.

This morning I tried out which is not exactly what I had in mind but pretty painless. Any other suggestions still greatly appreciated.
posted by Outlawyr at 8:48 AM on December 10, 2004

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