Shared Calendars Update for Outlook for Windows is Now Available

Microsoft 365 Business Launches Alongside New Office 365 AppsAlmost two years after it first announced this change, Microsoft has issued a major update to the shared calendars feature in Outlook for Windows. It is alternatively described as “the biggest change to Outlook for Windows since its initial release in 1997” and something that users won’t even notice. So. Yeah.

“In July 2019, we announced the preview in Outlook for Windows which has remained opt-in until now, as we turn this on in production,” the Exchange Team writes in a new post to the Microsoft Tech Community. “Since summer 2019, we polished the experience and fixed bugs, thanks to many customer reports. With tens of thousands of daily users on the preview, we feel confident now that the experience is going to delight calendar delegates.”

Microsoft says that the new shared calendar experience will dramatically improve the reliability and sync latency for shared calendars and delegated calendars in all Outlook clients, and this change was already available in Outlook on the web, the new Outlook for Mac, and Outlook mobile. But now it has happened in Outlook for Windows as well.

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“Despite all the [excitement], our hope is that users don’t even notice anything changed,” the Exchange team continues. “This is one of those improvements that should be invisible because it eliminates issues but doesn’t change the core product functionality. Calendars will sync faster, and we have eliminated any reliability issues when managing a calendar. Delegates might only notice that things are smoother but no specific, obvious changes.”

You can learn more about the changes from the Microsoft Support website. And thanks to Neowin for the tip.

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Conversation 21 comments

  • crunchyfrog

    27 May, 2021 - 9:45 am

    <p>If this is the biggest change since 1997 AND we won’t notice, what does that say about Outlook as a product and Microsoft as its keeper?</p>

  • bettyblue

    27 May, 2021 - 9:53 am

    <p>I used to be a HUGE Outlook fan (on Windows). Now you could not get me to touch it. The web version is just so much faster and better in so many ways. </p><p><br></p><p>The search feature via the web is 10x better than the Windows version and 1000000000x better than the Mac version. I use the Sweep feature almost every day as well.</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft just needs to make the web versions as feature complete as possible. Stuff like password protection in Word and Excel on the web should be there already.</p>

    • will

      Premium Member
      27 May, 2021 - 11:55 am

      <p>I believe this is what the new "One Outlook" project is about and that is bringing a web app/wrapper version of Outlook to the desktop for all clients?</p><p><br></p><p>I agree the web version is significantly faster and it gets all of the new features months, if not years before the desktop client gets it, with the exception of mobile and Outlook for Mac getting new stuff as well. </p>

  • christianwilson

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 10:06 am

    <p>I do my best to respect people’s personal preference when it comes to OS and software, but Outlook is one thing my wife and I argue over. I was an Exchange administrator for many years and have grown to loath Outlook. It is truly awful. Meanwhile, I love modern Outlook (mobile, web). </p><p><br></p><p>My wife loves classic Outlook and doesn’t think there is anything wrong with it. We don’t bicker about much, and of all the things to bicker over preference to an email client is just nerdy and stupid, but Outlook is an ongoing battle at the dinner table. </p><p><br></p><p>It is all in good fun. She is wrong, though.</p>

    • SvenJ

      27 May, 2021 - 10:12 am

      <p>No, she’s right. I can get basic things done on Outlook on iOS/Android, and really don’t like using my browser as the OS for everything. The Outlook client is my go to when I really need to get something specific accomplished. Especially on the calendar.</p>

    • bettyblue

      27 May, 2021 - 11:42 am

      <p>100% agree. I have been doing Exchange administration from 4.0 – 2016 and we are just finishing up our migration to O365. Before Exchange 4.0 (which was 1.0 for Exchange) I supported Microsoft Mail up to 3.5 and CCmail (Lotus).</p><p><br></p><p>Outlook is a bloated POS at this point. I fear the same thing will happen to Teams if Microsoft has its way.</p>

    • red.radar

      Premium Member
      27 May, 2021 - 12:06 pm

      <p>I hear a lot of people exclaim that Outlook on the Desktop is awful. </p><p><br></p><p>But I never hear the specifics. What is it that makes it so bad? I use it everyday and nothing stands out to me to invoke such visceral reaction. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

      • JerryH

        Premium Member
        28 May, 2021 - 11:04 am

        <p>I use it every day as well for work and get over 100 notes a day in it and have usually between 5 and 10 meetings a day, shared calendars, and everything. I could not do my work without it. But it is basically bugs on top of bugs on top of bugs. Crazy stuff like getting a meeting reminder, double-click the meeting to open it and get "cannot open this item", then just simply try again and it works. The magic 8 ball has it right when it says, "Outlook not so good". Again, I could not do my job without out. But that doesn’t mean I have to like the thing.</p>

    • roykirk

      27 May, 2021 - 3:13 pm

      <p>I’ve administered Exchange in the past, though it was for a brief time and most of the companies I’ve worked for did not use Exchange servers. I’ve used the Outlook desktop client since the early days of Office and I still love it. Web-based e-mail and calendar clients still don’t come close to the convenience and features I get with Outlook for desktop. I’m with your wife on this one, though I understand your loathing.</p>

  • mattbg

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 10:52 am

    <p>Re: "the biggest change" – they need to stop this type of hyperbole.</p><p><br></p><p>I’ve just installed 21H1 which was similarly promoted as follows: <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">"The features we are releasing in this update are focused on the core experiences that customers have told us they’re relying on most right now."</span></p><p><br></p><p>I can’t see a single difference, and the three headline features that followed that sentence do not match the sentiment at all.</p><p><br></p><p>And then we had Satya Nadella’s Build keynote, where he mentioned video talking about "the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators" that are on the way without any specific examples or screenshots to support it.</p><p><br></p><p>You can’t continue regularly overstating things to this extent before people just stop believing you.</p>

  • lwetzel

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 10:56 am

    <p>I for one am lost in the Outlook THIS and Outlook THAT and Outlook on my DESKTOP and iPhone.</p><p>What exactly are the terms for the many iterations of Outlook and what platform are they on?</p><p>Basically I have not idea when I see "Outlook for Windows" which one we are talking about.</p>

    • bettyblue

      27 May, 2021 - 11:50 am

      <p>Exactly….not to mention on the consumer side you go to Outlook dot com for your email. The "Outlook" word is over-used and confusing as heck at this point.</p><p><br></p><p>Outlook used to man the Windows email client for Exchange server and that was it. You did have Outlook Express for a bit, which was formerly Microsoft Internet mail and news (?) then Outlook Express, then just Windows Mail.</p><p><br></p><p>Now "Outlook" is slathered over too many products. Microsoft is the THE MASTER at product confusion. </p><p><br></p><p>Example when we started moving users to Office 365 we told the OneNote users that the OneNote 2016 was being discontinued and they needed to move to OneNote in Windows 10. Then a Office 365 update rolled out 6-8 months later and brought back the Win32 OneNote 2016 and now we have both and users are confused as to which one to use and we do not really want to say one or the other as we have no idea as the to future of the two products.</p>

    • munch365

      27 May, 2021 - 4:35 pm

      <p>Labeling seems straight forward to me…Outlook for "insert platform/OS name". Each version would need to be written/optimized for what it is running on. If Microsoft simply referred to it as just Outlook people would be complaining about the lack of clarity, they can’t keep everyone happy.</p><p><br></p><p>I think some people just like to be outraged over the smallest of things….you see it all the time.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • darkgrayknight

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 11:51 am

    <p>I use Outlook Desktop daily and I like it better than the web version.</p>

    • navarac

      27 May, 2021 - 12:00 pm

      <p>I prefer the desktop version. Less chance of being bombed by adverts or other tracking crap that MS might shove into (Cr)edge.</p>

  • ronh

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 12:37 pm

    <p>I wish rules on Outlook web would work better. I use desktop Outlook before I retired, and had about 20 rules in outlook that i use to highlight import emails, sort, auto reply etc..</p>

    • kevinbouwman

      Premium Member
      27 May, 2021 - 3:15 pm

      <p>Yes. This is a very old problem. For example, in each email there is the sender’s address and then there is an alias for that address. By default, the alias will be set to be the same as the sender’s address. When you set up a rule based on the sender’s address, Outlook looks at the alias…not the actual address. It is not hard to change the alias…which spammer’s always do. There is no way to create a rule based on the actual sender’s address. This is just one of many weaknesses in Outlook’s rules feature. The way in which rules work has not be changed since at least Outlook 95 as far as I know.</p>

  • davidallen

    27 May, 2021 - 3:11 pm

    <p>I used to love outlook, so much so it was the only client I’d consider for many years. Now I don’t even open it. The web version and the desktop version need to have a way to sync/match EVERYTHING rules, interface accounts. I want to set things up ONE time and adjust things ONE time from ANY device/location and everything sync/matchup, with my permission of course. Microsoft taunts the cloud, but doesn’t use it for basic productivity tasks. </p>

  • ebraiter

    27 May, 2021 - 3:16 pm

    <p>I’ve been using the Outlook Windows app since 1997 and wouldn’t go back.</p><p>Most were fine. Cringed a bit at 2007.</p><p>Outlook on Android and the web based are too different for me. On my android I’m using the built in Samsung Email app and not Outlook. It’s lightweight.</p>

  • ekim

    Premium Member
    27 May, 2021 - 4:56 pm

    <p>We receive 200+ emails a day. When Outlook on the web can be programed like Outlook on the desktop – VBA macros, inbox rules add-ins etc. I can switch. Too much of my business processes depend on the automation I’ve setup over the last 10 years.</p>

  • stevek

    27 May, 2021 - 11:36 pm

    <p>Outlook Desktop IS bloated cause it was meant to be able to use different back-ends in a modular fashion…and really never did this well anyway.</p><p><br></p><p>Outlook Desktop is pretty great for a business email/scheduling/groupware software WHEN it is connected to an Exchange Backend. The mail sync is still one of the best sync’ing systems I’ve used for mail period…when used with Exchange.</p><p><br></p><p>Outlook Desktop is basically awful and cumbersome as a client to a SMTP/IMAP system or a web mail backend system. Most people who say they hate desktop outlook are trying to use it with an IMAP server…and they are 100% correct…it’s pretty terrible then. (And to be fair…IMAP is fairly terrible with any client anyway…but its even more so with Outlook as its client).</p>

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