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Microsoft’s ‘biggest change’ to Outlook for Windows improves shared calendars

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Dramatic sync improvements should finally fix Outlook shared calendars

If you’ve ever had to share an Outlook calendar with colleagues, 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 problems with Outlook for Windows were a daily problem. Microsoft is now promising that it is “dramatically” improving the reliability of shared calendars in what it’s describing as “arguably the biggest change to Outlook for Windows since its initial release in 1997.”

Microsoft first started testing a new shared calendars experience for Outlook last year, and it’s now starting to roll out more broadly. Improvements include much faster sync times for new meetings and updated meetings, meaning changes should instantly be reflected in everyone’s version of a shared calendar. In the past, Outlook for Windows has often taken too long to sync calendar changes, resulting in meetings disappearing, calendars getting out of sync, and lots of other calendar headaches.

“Since summer 2019, we polished the experience and fixed bugs, thanks to many customer reports,” says Microsoft’s Exchange team. “With tens of thousands of daily users on the preview, we feel confident now that the experience is going to delight calendar delegates.”

Microsoft has been testing these calendar changes for nearly a year.
Image: Microsoft

The shared calendar changes are starting to roll out to Outlook for Windows users gradually. Microsoft says it has around 10 percent of Outlook for Windows users with the improvements enabled and that it will “keep expanding 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 sync improvements. Now a fix is finally on the way for users of the dedicated Outlook for Windows app.