5. Understanding the Calendar Interface

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Become familiar with the layout of the calendar interface and how to choose from several levels of detail for your calendar


Lesson Goal

Explore the calendar interface.

The calendar pane

As with the change from email view to calendar view, the calender interface has the same layout as the other views, but the details are different.

This time the main view is a calendar which is based on our preferred scale. At its closest, we can set this view to represent an entire day. This will show a breakdown of the hours of the day on the left side of the pane. The time is also represented by a series of lines representing the hour and dotted lines representing half past the hour. Also, we can see our working hours represented here in white, while other hours are in grey.

The size of appointments in our calendar refers to how long they last. Using the time grids, we can quickly glean the length of an appointment

If we switch to the work week view, our scale is broadened out to Monday to Friday, although this can be changed, as discussed in a later lesson. Other than that this view is structured the same way as the day view. The week view is also similar, however it displays the full week, not just working days.

If we switch to the month view, we lose the ability to see the breakdown of hours in a day. As a result, all appointments are the same size, regardless of length.

Finally we have the schedule view which is displayed in a gantt chart like format. This gives a better view of overlapping events, appointments and meetings.

The folder and reading panes

This folder pane separates our accounts into different calendars. Here we can show and hide our own calendars as well as calendars shared with us by other people. We’ll cover sharing calendars in a later lesson.

To the top of the folder pane, we can see a small calendar covering two months. The current day is represented by a blue square and any days with scheduled events are bolded. Clicking a day in this small calendar also jumps the main calendar to this day. This is much faster than scrolling week by week, or day by day.

By default, the reading pane is disabled when we navigate to the calendar view. This is to maximise the size of the main calendar pane and also because the preview usually covers all the details of the event.


So far, we've been learning about Outlook Contacts.

We'll now move on to the next stage of this course, exploring Outlook Calendars.

In this first lesson on calendars, we'll explore the calendar interface.

Calendars in Outlook enable us to manage our time and workflow.

Outlook Calendars consist of three different item types.

We can book events which encompass whole days such as holidays.

We can also add appointments for slots with specific start and end times such as a doctor visit.

Finally, we can add meetings. These are similar to appointments, but they can include other participants.

We'll cover how to schedule events, appointments and meetings in later lessons.

For now, we'll focus on how these are displayed in the calendar interface.

As stated earlier in this course, the default view when opening Outlook is the mailbox view.

When we switch to the calendar view, the layout of the ribbon and panes almost completely changes.

By default, the reading pane is disabled in order to maximize the size of the main calendar pane.

Also, the event and appointment previews provide more than enough detail.

In place to the mailbox pane, we have the calendar pane.

At present, we can see that the view is focused on the current work week.

We can use the left and right arrows on the top left to switch between weeks.

This calendar represents time on the left axis. The grid helps us visualize the breakdown of the day.

Solid lines represent the start of an hour and dotted lines represent half past the hour.

The white portion of the calendar represents working hours. By default, this is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are a few appointments here that are of varying sizes.

The size of the appointment represents its length of time.

We can change the focus of this view by using the commands in the arrange group. Day focuses on a single day and can be useful if your calendar contains lots of appointments and meetings.

Work week expands the calendar to Monday through Friday.

Your work week and working hours can be adjusted in the settings. We'll cover that in a later lesson.

Week expands this view to include the weekend and month expands the view to entire months.

Note that when we view our calendar in the month view, Outlook can no longer represent time.

All appointments regardless of how long they last take up the same amount of space.

Finally, we have the schedule view.

This visualizes the hours and days in an entire month in a horizontal format.

It's particularly useful when trying to schedule multiple meetings at once while viewing multiple calendars.

Week or work week are the most commonly used views.

They give us an overview of multiple days while also allowing us to see the breakdown in time.

We'll use work week for the remainder of this course.

To the left, we have the folder pane.

At the top of the folder pane, we can see a compacted view of our calendar.

This calendar serves two purposes.

First, it allows us to quickly change the week being displayed in the main calendar pane.

This is much quicker than clicking the arrow keys when changing the view to a distant week.

The second purpose is to give us a brief overview of our schedule over the current and following months.

We can move to different months by selecting the left or right arrows on either side of the top month.

The current day is highlighted by a blue square.

The selected week is highlighted in light blue.

Any days containing at least one appointment are represented with bold text.

Now that we've gone through the basics of the calendar interface, we'll stop the lesson here. In the next lesson, we'll learn how to schedule events and appointments.

Managing Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks


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