Outlook and Meeting Invitations. (Part 1)

Outlook and Meeting Invitations.

If Outlook calendar is not working properly or shows inconsistent behavior the activities of many people within the organization can be heavily impacted. Where and at what time is the meeting with the HR officer going to take place? What about the Skype meeting with my line Manger? Will be there other people attending to the same meeting? What floor and room number will the meeting be taking place? Meetings run all, from the stock delivery to any new software implementation within the organization. The Outlook meeting invitations can show a widespread range of technical issues: calendar appointments disappearing from the Calendar ,attendees visualizing wrong or incomplete information about the meeting, meeting requests being sent, accepted or rejected in loop without user intervention and many others.

Meeting creation: Attendee not found

In order to set up a meeting on the Outlook Calendar, we need to choose the meeting attendee. During this process we might have some difficulties in finding the attendee on the Global address list.

Solution: Refresh the locally cached Address Book. On Outlook, click on File > Account Settings > Download Address Book.

Free/Busy doesn’t work: No info shown

Outlook Calendar brings an exceptional tool called “Scheduling Assistant” or “Free/Busy”. It essentially tells us if the user to who we are sending the meeting invitation is already busy or not on the date/time range we have selected. On the main Meeting Scheduling Window, just click on Scheduling Assistant:

Vertical lines represent the start and end times of the meeting. The color legend at the bottom, clarifies what each different colour means.(Busy, Tentative, Out of Office, Working elsewhere, No Information, Outside working hours)

Sometimes the scheduling assistant might refuse to provide us with information about the required attendee’s availability. In those cases, Free/Busy lines will show a grey stripped lines like the ones below:

This problem is usually resolvable by performing the below actions:

1) Run Outlook.exe /Cleanfreebusy The command switch Outlook.exe /Cleanfreebusy restores free/busy data. This switch can only be used when our outlook is online.

2) Refresh the OAB (Outlook Address Book) On Outlook, click on File > Account Settings > Download Address Book. 3) Check if the Autodiscover Service is working: To get free/busy information from the Exchange server, outlook needs to access to the availability services endpoints which are defined by the Autodiscover service. It's important to ensure that the Autodiscover service is answering to requests from the clients otherwise outlook won’t be able to get free/busy data. This check can be done using the Remote Connectivity Analyzer Tool. The Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a group of web-based tools designed to detect connectivity issues with many of the Microsoft products,O365 included. It’s easy and quite intuitive, but before running any test we need to ensure we are selecting the correct option. Go to https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/

Select the Office 365 tab

Under Microsoft Office Outlook Connectivity Tests, click Outlook Autodiscover, and then click Next.

On the Outlook Autodiscover page, complete the information on the form, and then click Perform Test.

Save the log results, and send them to your System Administrator for further analysis.

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