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


If you’ve ever had to share an Outlook calendar with colleagues, you 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 is now very promising that it “dramatically” improves the reliability of shared calendars in what it describes as “perhaps the biggest change in Outlook for Windows since its initial release in 1997.”

Microsoft first began testing a new shared calendar experience for Outlook last year, and it is now starting to roll out more widely. Improvements include much faster sync times for new meetings and updated meetings, meaning changes should be immediately 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 becoming out of sync, and many other calendar headaches.

“Since the summer of 2019, we’ve polished the experience and fixed bugs, thanks to many customer reports,” said Microsoft’s Exchange team. “With tens of thousands of daily users in preview, we are now confident that the experience will delight the agenda delegates.”

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

The shared calendar changes are gradually rolling out to Outlook for Windows users. Microsoft says it has enabled about 10 percent of Outlook for Windows users with the enhancements and that it 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 improvements in calendar synchronization. Now a solution is finally on the way for users of the dedicated Outlook for Windows app.