Microsoft’s Bookings with Me in Outlook is a web-based personal scheduling page that integrates with the free/busy information from your Outlook calendar. Bookings with me lets people schedule a meeting or appointment with you. Learn how to use Microsoft Bookings with me so you can create custom meeting types to share with others so they can easily schedule time with you based on your availability and preferences. You both get an email confirmation and attendees can update or cancel scheduled meetings with you from your Bookings with me page.
At the time of writing the is blog, Bookings with me is available worldwide in preview. Features included in preview might not be complete and could undergo changes before becoming available in the public release.
This writing references information provided by Microsoft at the following link: Bookings with me | Microsoft Docs. This post will also provide a walkthrough of how to use Microsoft Bookings with me page along with screenshots and examples.
Microsoft’s Bookings with me has two different views:
- Organizer view: A personal booking page where you can create meeting types that others can book with you. With Custom meeting, customize your availability and how you want that meeting shared with others. Control whether each meeting type is public to your scheduling page or if it is private and only accessible by a select group of people. You can also choose to add a Teams meeting to all meetings booked through your Bookings with me page, in addition to accessing your Bookings with me page through Outlook on the web. After you set up your page and publish it, you can share it with others. For example, you can add it to your Outlook signature.
- Attendee view: When you share your Bookings with me page with others, they will see the attendee view. If the organizer has shared their Bookings with me page link with you, you’ll be able to see all of their public meeting types. If the organizer has shared a meeting link, you’ll only be able to view that meeting.
- Public meetings are viewed and scheduled by anyone that has your Bookings with me page link. You are in control of who you share that link with. All public meeting types will be visible to anyone that has your Bookings with me page link.
- Private meetings are visible by people who have the link for that meeting type. The difference between public meetings and private meetings is private meetings can have different links and the links expire after 90 days. You can also set private links to expire after a one-time booking. When accessing the scheduling view for a private meeting, only that meeting type will be visible.
When & How to use Microsoft Bookings with Me
Bookings with me is an ideal solution for an enterprise, small business, and users in education to schedule 1:1 meetings with those outside and inside their organizations. Below are a few examples of how to use Microsoft Bookings with me.
- Schedule interviews with external candidates
- Set up customer and client meetings
- Schedule tech support
- Set up office hours
- Set up mentoring hours
- 1:1 meetings with direct reports
- Lunch and coffee breaks
If you can’t see the options that are demonstrated in the post, please have your Microsoft 365 Tenant admins review the Bookings with me documentation to ensure users are properly licensed and the necessary Microsoft Bookings App (service plan) is assigned to users that are looking to use Bookings with me.
Microsoft’s Bookings with me is only accessible from Outlook for the web. Open Outlook in your browser and then open your Calendar. Underneath the calendar on the left click on “Create bookings page”. Alternatively, you can go to https://outlook.office.com/bookwithme/me.
When Microsoft’s Bookings with me opens, start by creating a Public or Private meeting type. I’ll demonstrate using the Public example first, and click on the plus sign to the right.
Customize Bookings with Me
For the new meeting type, you must ‘Add a title’ before you can save. The other options/blanks as seen in the screenshot below, currently are the default. The default duration is 30 minutes but find the dropdown for other choices of 15 mins, 45 mins, 1 hr and Custom.
In addition, I would recommend reviewing the ‘Schedule customization’ options. It will default to ‘Use my regular meeting hours’. If you have been Outlook for a long time, you may recall setting your “Free/Busy” time but this terminology has changed. In Outlook on the web version, refer to ‘Meeting hours’ and in the desktop Outlook client find ‘Work time’. Click on the link ‘See regular meeting hours’ and view the setting. Alternatively, you can click on the drop down and select ‘Use custom availability hours’ to setup up unique custom hours.
Why might you want to create custom availability hours? You may want to have certain time blocks during the day or certain days of the week. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can set a date range that you will only accept Bookings. This is helpful if you have a crucial deadline or traveling. You could set your END date to just before your project starts or your travels begin. Eliminate days and make them ‘Not bookable’ or only allow certain hours. You might not want to allow Bookings with me meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays and maybe you want to allow only certain morning or afternoon blocks Wednesday through Friday. The flexibility is endless and gives you a lot of control over Bookings with me meetings.
Edit Meeting Duration
If you click on the ‘Advanced options’, here you can customize the ‘Buffer time’ before or after a meeting. You might have a desire to make sure you always have 10-15 mins (options exist all the way to 3 hours) before or after a meeting where nothing exists on your calendar. You can change the minimum and maximum lead time. Default is 1 hr. You may have a desire to change minimum lead time to further out, such as 8 or 12 hours, or 1 or 2 days out or some other custom time. For maximum lead time, you only want to give people the ability to book no further than 7 days or 30 days in advance, or you have the customize options here as well.
Once saved you will see your available Booking that you just created. If this is your first time setting up Bookings with me, you may see a status line of the progress of creation of your bookings page that is occurring in the background.
Microsoft’s Bookings with Me Banner
The banner image at the top of your Bookings with me page is customizable. It is currently limited to about 10 different images provided by Microsoft. It is unknown currently if Microsoft plans to allow the ability to choose your own custom banner image.
To edit the banner, click on the ellipses next to the ‘Share’ button, and click on ‘Edit banner image’.
The ‘Select an image’ window appears. Select the image of your choice and then click on the ‘X’ on the top right to close.
You will then see your updated banner on your Bookings with me page.
Share your Bookings with me page
You can ‘Share’ your Bookings with me page via several methods
- Copy link – copy the link to your clipboard and use it elsewhere such as a document, chat, email, etc.
- Share via email – this opens a built-in simple email window to send the link
- Add to email signature – this will allow you to quickly add to your Signature templates in Exchange Online web
‘Share via email’ is a simple built-in interface. Just type in the recipient(s) email(s) and add a message if you like and click on ‘Send’.
When using ‘Add to email signature’ you will see nearly the same interface that exists in Outlook settings for on the web ‘Compose and reply’
If you have an existing signature, the default signature will appear in the ‘Add to email signature’ dialogue.
Select ‘Include a link to my bookings page in my signature.‘ Find the ‘Book time to meet with me’ link and insert it below your signature. Click SAVE and signature you selected will update.
You can create a new signature specifically for Bookings with me links to avoid including a link to your Bookings page in all your emails. To do so, simply copy the text of your default signature, then click on ‘New Signature’. Provide a name for your new signature, then paste the text you copied in the rich text editor box. After that, select the ‘Include a link to my bookings page in my signature’ and click SAVE at the bottom of the dialogue.
Now, when you are composing emails, go into Insert > Signature and select your Bookings signature.
Bookings with Me End User Experience
Now that you have it all set up, let’s look at the experience of a user, Alex Wilbur, that is attempting to book time with Adele Vance. When Alex goes to the Bookings with me link he was provided, he will go to Adele’s Bookings with me page and will be able to choose the meeting type of his choice. In this case, Alex is wanting a “30-minute meeting with Adele Vance”.
The ’Available times’ will be shown when Adele has availability for the 30-minute meeting. You can select different days in the calendar grid. On days where Adele and Alex have matching available times, the day will show a green circle around the date. If Adele is not available on any day, those dates will appear greyed out. If a day doesn’t show a green circle, that means Alex does not have any available times that would work for him or Adele. On the listed timeslots to the right of the calendar, will display a green check mark indicating where Alex has time on the date selected.
Alex selects 3:30pm on the 13th, and then clicks on ‘NEXT’.
Alex will then be prompted with validation information and an option to add any notes for his meeting request to Adele, and then clicks on ‘BOOK’.
The Booking request will be processed, and when completed will provide a confirmation and inform Alex that he should check his inbox for a meeting invitation from Adele. Alex will click on ‘X’ to close the dialogue and can proceed to check his Inbox for the invitation.
NOTE: Microsoft appears to have built in some spam/impersonation protection where if the same person attempts to book another meeting within a short time of another booking, they will be prompted to enter a verification code that gets sent to the email of the user making the booking. This looks like the following, and after entering the verification code, Alex would click on ‘SCHEDULE’.
When Alex checks his Inbox, he opens the Invitation that came from the booking. He will then accept the meeting by clicking on ‘YES’. That will send a confirmation back to Adele that he’s accepted. NOTE: If at anytime before the meeting occurs, if Alex wants to reschedule or cancel the meeting, he can go back into the Invitation and click on the link for ‘Manage meeting’. [I’ll demo that experience a bit further down.]
Now, let’s look at the process from Adele’s perspective. After Alex completes the Booking with me invite, Adele will get a message in her Inbox that looks like the following.
When Alex has accepted the invite, Adele will get the accepted email confirmation. TIP: If you get a Booking email like above, but you don’t see an accepted response, it might be good to follow up with the booker, and make sure the Invite that was sent didn’t slide into the Junk Mail folder. I have experienced this in early preview days.
As mentioned earlier, Alex has the option of managing the meeting and either rescheduling or canceling through the Booking with me interface. Alex just needs to open up the invite, and then click on the ‘Manage meeting‘ link.
After Alex clicks on ‘Manage meeting’, he will see the below page. There are options for ‘Reschedule’, ‘Cancel meeting’ and also ‘New meeting’. ‘New meeting’ allows Alex to book an additional meeting and leave the current one in place, or first book a new meeting, and then come back and cancel the original.
One observation I’ve noticed, that if you ‘Reschedule’ the existing meeting, you only have the option to reschedule for the exact same meeting type. In this case, since it was the ’30-minute’ meeting type, that is the only option. This is where the ‘New meeting’ option will allow you to go back and schedule a different meeting type, if Adele has made other meeting types available. After Alex selects a new time, he will click on ‘UPDATE’.
Alex will validate and enter any notes, and the click on ‘UPDATE’
Alex will get a confirmation just like earlier, and then will need to go to his Inbox and accept the updated invite that will look like below.
Adele will also get a notice that the booking was updated, and then after Alex accepts the updated invite, Adele will also get that accepted confirmation.
Why Microsoft’s Booking with Me?
I hope you find this guide useful to start using the Microsoft’s Bookings with me preview. This is a valuable functionality where clients can book time with me and eliminate the back-and-forth emails to check on each other’s availability. Learn how to use Microsoft Bookings with me directly with your Outlook calendar and avoid overlaps since your availability updates in real-time.
When you want to edit any of your Bookings with me settings, just open Outlook in the web, go to your Calendar and select the ‘Edit booking page’ link below the calendar grid.
Booking with TSI
Limit the amount of resources you need to coordinate and communicate your availability by using Microsoft’s Bookings with Me for all your scheduling needs. This is one of several modules Microsoft provides that may assist your workflow process. Find the software that fits your needs by scheduling a consultation with a Total Solutions sales representative. We help you adopt and modernize your Microsoft 365 suite so your company can save time and resources.