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Trying to schedule a meeting time to suit everyone can result in wasted time and lots of back and forth.

While tools like Scheduling Assistant in Outlook and Outlook on the Web have helped users coordinate schedules, and search for rooms, the tool isn’t without its hiccups.

On occasions where most attendees have accepted a meeting, and one of the attendees suggests a new time, users have to try to accommodate by checking with everyone else if the new time is ok.  

Unlike Scheduling Assistant, FindTime is an Outlook add-in designed to help users schedule meetings quickly, by creating a meeting poll, where users can vote on their preferred meeting time:

  1. First, you select the users you would like to attend the meeting
  2. Select one or more suggested times
  3. Each attendee will then receive a request to vote for their preferred time- voting is live so you'll be able to see the current voting status and results
  4. Once there is a consensus, FindTime will send out a meeting invite automatically

FindTime requires Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the Web, where users must have an Office 365 account in order to send an invite. To receive a FindTime invitation, recipients only need to have an email address and internet access to vote on the FindTime website.

Use the drop down arrows below, to see how you can install FindTime on Outlook and Outlook on the Web:

1.Aforementioned, users who want to send an invitation must have Office365 in order to install FindTime.

To do so, open Outlook and click on the store button on the top right hand corner.

2. You will be redirected to the Office Store website. Here, search FindTime in the search bar and click add.

3. If you aren’t signed into Office 365, it will ask you to sign in. Once you’ve done so, click on install.

4.Once we get the confirmation that the FindTime plugin has been added to Outlook, click OK:

5.Once installed, you will need to restart Outlook, once you’ve done so you should see the FindTime icon located at the top right corner. When an email is selected in any folder, the following icon will appear:

6. If you are creating a new email or meeting, the ‘New Meeting Poll’ icon will appear

1. To install FindTime for the first time in Outlook on the Web, login to https://portal.office.com/ using your Office 365 account. Once in the Mail app,  go to Options and then select Email (alternatively you can select the Manage add-ins option):

2. Expand the General Short Cut and click on Manage add-ins

3. From the Add-ins section, click on the + icon and select 'Add from the Office Store'

4. From here, the Office Store will automatically open. Search 'FindTime' In the search bar

5. Click on Add

6. Click on Install

7. Once you get the confirmation that the FindTime plugin has been added to Outlook on the Web, click OK:

8. To access FindTime in Outlook, compose a new email or invite and click on Add-ins:

9. From the list of Add-ins, scroll down to 'FindTime' 

Using FindTime as an Organiser

Now that you know how to install FindTime in the full Outlook client and in Outlook on the Web, here we'll show you how to use FindTime for organising meetings. 

Using the example provided on MS Exchange.Org, a meeting will be scheduled between three internal users (Filipe, Mota and Linda) as well as an external user called Nuno. Please note, that this example is using Outlook 2016. 

While you could utilise the Scheduling Assistant tool, FindTime goes beyond and allows users to choose what works best for them. 

Start by clicking the FindTime button in your meeting invite 

When using FindTime for the first time, you will need to link it to your Offie 365 account by clicking on the blue button 'Link Now'

Once you have clicked on Link Now, you will need to type in your Office 365 credentials and sign in:

Now FindTime is linked to your account and ready to be used. 

Here, you can choose from a predetermined meeting duration or can customise and select your own duration. You also have the option to change your time zone.

As illustrated below, the first group of timeslots includes all the options available where every attendee is available for the period of time we selected. In this case, there is one “grey” user which is external (FindTime cannot query this user's free/busy information)

The second group is those timeslots where one or more attendees are not available:

To see who is available and who is busy, click on the group of people icon, here it will show you exactly who is busy and who isn't.

The calendar icon displays what else is going on in your day around the suggested time so you can easily see how busy, or not, you are for each suggestion:

The next step is to choose one or more time slots for the meeting and click Next:

If you need to keep someone in the loop but don't want to wait for them to respond, you can include them as an optional attendee by moving them to the CC: line - only required attendees' names are underlined:

Once you've selected your time slots and clicked Next, you can enter the location for the meeting or set it up as a Lync or Skype meeting. 

If you click on Meeting options you are presented with three further options for your meeting:

  • Notifications: sends you an email when attendees vote. The email includes the current poll status and an option to schedule the meeting immediately;
  • Auto schedule: automatically schedules a calendar event if all required attendees vote favourably for a meeting option. If multiple options are available, the earliest will be scheduled;
  • Holds: adds an appointment to your calendar for each meeting option you suggest. All hold appointments are removed upon scheduling a meeting option (either by the auto schedule option or manually on the voting site) or cancelling the poll.

Click on 'Insert to email', FindTime creates a new meeting invite in the form of a normal email with a link to allow users to vote on their preferred option(s). 

Send the email!

Once your email has been sent, recipients will be able to view the meeting options and vote for a time most suited to them:

After everyone has voted and a time has been set, FindTime will automatically send an email to all recipients finalising the meeting time:

Posted by Hayden McMaster on
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