If you’ve ever had to share an Outlook calendar with coworkers, you’ll know how painful it can be when things go wrong. I spent a decade of my professional career in IT support, and shared calendar issues with Outlook for Windows were a daily problem. Microsoft now promises to “dramatically” improve the reliability of shared calendars in what it describes as “arguably the biggest change from Outlook to Windows since its initial release in 1997.”
Microsoft started testing a new shared calendars experience for Outlook last year, and it’s now starting to roll out more widely. Improvements include much faster sync times for new meetings and updated meetings, meaning changes need to be instantly reflected in everyone’s version of a shared calendar. In the past, Outlook for Windows often took too long to sync calendar changes, causing meetings to disappear, calendars out of sync, and many other calendar headaches.
“Since the summer of 2019, we have refined the experience and fixed bugs, thanks to numerous customer reports,” explains the Microsoft Exchange team. “With tens of thousands of daily users on the preview, we are now confident that the experience will delight calendar delegates.”
Changes to the shared calendar are starting to roll out gradually to Outlook for Windows users. Microsoft says it has about 10% of Outlook for Windows users with enhancements enabled and “will continue to expand gradually throughout the spring and summer.”
Users of Outlook on the web, the new Outlook for Mac, and mobile versions of Outlook are already benefiting from these calendar synchronization enhancements. A fix is finally underway for users of the dedicated Outlook for Windows application.