Sharing an Outlook Calendar: How to share appointments with your colleagues

Microsoft Outlook is not just one of the most widely used e-mail programs – the software also provides extensive groupware functions to manage contacts, tasks, and appointments.

Many companies rely on Outlook Calendar to organize collaborative work or schedule customer appointments. Collaborative scheduling is particularly convenient because employees can access their customer’s calendars. This is done using Outlook Calendar Release, meaning that different employees within a company can collaborate on plans, as well as customers, business partners, and external service providers.

What Outlook can provide for sharing calendar information with friends, acquaintances of colleagues, or business associates depends on whether the software is used as a stand-alone application, as part of the Office 365 online service, or in combination with an exchange server.

While Microsoft Office 365 provides various Office applications as an online service in the cloud, Outlook is a locally-installed desktop application. In the private sector, it is primarily used as an e-mail program that allows users to manage different e-mail accounts through the same user interface. Within an organization, however, Outlook usually acts as a client program for the Microsoft Exchange Server, a central repository for e-mails, appointments, and tasks.

Below, we will provide you with a guide to the different sharing functions the Outlook desktop application provides, as well as the Office 365 App calendar.


In this article, we will provide step-by-step tutorials for the applications Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007.

Calendar sharing on Outlook 2016 and 2013

If you are using Outlook 2016 or 2013, you have the following options for granting others access to your calendar information:

  • Share the Outlook Calendar as a snapshot
  • Share the Outlook Calendar (only in combination with an exchange server)

The screenshot below was created with Outlook 2013.

Sharing your Outlook Calendar as a snapshot

Regardless of how Outlook is used in your home or business, the desktop application will allow you to send a snapshot of your calendar by e-mail. Follow these steps:

  1. Select Calendar view: Click on the “Calendar” tab in the footer bar of your Outlook application window.

Outlook Calendar sharing is not limited to just the default calendar automatically generated in each Outlook profile. Create as many calendars as you like and share them with different people as needed.

  1. Click on “Send Calendar by E-mail: Select the “Start” tab in the toolbar and click “Send calendar by e-mail”.

A window will open for a new message, and the dialog box “Send Calendar via Email” will appear.

  1. Select a calendar section: Select your desired calendar and time.
  1. Check out the detail levels: Choose one of the three levels of detail to outline what information the calendar snippet should contain.
    • Availability only: The shared calendar only contains general availability information. Possible calendar items are “Free”, “Busy”, “Tentative”, “Work Elsewhere”, and “Absent”. In addition, you have the option to limit available information about your working hours.  
    • Restricted details: A calendar with a limited view of details contains the subject of scheduled appointments, as well as your availability information.

    • All details: Calendar items are presented with all details and information.
  1. Customize advanced options: Under “Advanced”, Outlook offers the option to include appointments and attachments marked as private in screenshots of your calendar. Additionally, you can opt for one or two email layouts:
    • Daily plan
    • List of events

If you mark an appointment as private in Outlook, it will not be shown when you share or take a snapshot of your calendar, unless you explicitly include privately marked items with a tick in the corresponding checkbox.

If you have selected your chosen calendar and have adjusted your time settings, detail level, and form of presentation, you can confirm by clicking “OK”. Outlook will then insert a copy of the selected calendar section as a snapshot into a new email.

  1. Enter email recipient and send message: Enter the desired recipient’s email address and add a personal message to the email if required. Click “Submit” to share your Outlook calendar.

Each message created using the “Send Calendar by Email” feature also includes an iCalendar (ICS) file that allows the recipient to open the selected section in any calendar program. The file format is supported by a variety of products from different providers. The most popular of these applications include Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, IBM Lotus Notes, Yahoo! Calendar, Evolution, eM Client, Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and Novell GroupWise.

Sharing your Outlook Calendar

If you use your Outlook desktop application in conjunction with an exchange server, the software allows you to share calendars that are updated automatically. To share an Outlook calendar, you just send an invitation to share to people inside or outside your company. This allows those selected to view the shared calendar in their own calendar viewer. Alternatively, Outlook offers the option of publishing your calendar as a website.

Sharing your calendar with people inside your own organization

To share your Outlook Calendar with a person in your organization, follow these steps:

  1. Select calendar view: Select the calendar view on your Outlook desktop application.
  1. Click on “Share Calendar”: Select the “Start” tab in the toolbar and click “Share Calendar”.
  1. Customize your level of detail: Outlook opens a new message window, including a share link to the calendar. You can select which calendar information you share with the recipient using the detail levels already mentioned:
    • Availability only
    • Limited details
    • All details
  1. Enter email recipient and submit release invitation: Enter your intended recipient’s email address. If necessary, you can also add a personal message to your invitation.

    If you would like to request a calendar share from you intended recipient at the same time, you can tick the checkbox.

A recipient who receives a sharing invitation by email just needs to click the “Open Calendar” button to include the sharing calendar in their own calendar list.

Sharing with people outside your organization

Do you want to share your Outlook Calendar with people outside your organization? It is more or less the same process as sharing a calendar with colleagues. However, something to note is that many networks limit your ability to share detailed calendar information with non-agency people.

How many details your organization can share with external users is set out by your network administrator in the sharing policy settings. If you are trying to share information that is being blocked by the network administrator, you may receive an error message. In this case, contact your network administrator or select a different level of detail to share.

Adjust calendar eligibility

If you have shared your calendar with people outside your network, Outlook will let you customize the details on each calendar for each person at any time. Proceed as follows:

  1. Select “Calendar” view: Select the Outlook Calendar view.
  1. Click on “Calendar Permissions”: Select the “Start” tab in the toolbar and click “Calendar Permissions”.

Outlook opens the “Calendar Properties” dialog box.

  1. Pick your own sharing options: In the “Calendar: Properties” dialog box, go to the “Eligibility” tab. Here, you can customize eligibility settings for people individually.

Publish a calendar to a website

Another way to share an Outlook Calendar with people outside your organization is to publish it on a dedicated website. Outlook offers the option to publish online. Note that this requires a web server that supports the WebDAV protocol. Follow these steps when publishing:


  1. Select calendar view: Choose your calendar view.
  1. Click “Publish Online”: Select the “Start” tab in the toolbar and click “Publish Online”.

The drop-down menu will show you the feature “Publish to WebDav Server…” Select this.


Alternatively, some Outlook versions provide the option to publish calendar webpages directly to the exchange server within their own network.

  1. Select WebDav server: If you decide to publish to a WebDav server, Outlook will prompt you for the WebDav server address, and the desired time span and level of detail using the “Publish Calendar to Custom Server” box.
  1. Advanced upload settings: in the “Publish Calendar to Custom Server” dialog box, click “Advanced…” to make detailed settings for upload method, private items or update frequency.

Calendar information that you post on a website is visible to anyone who knows the website’s URL.

Sharing calendars on older versions of Outlook

Even older versions of Outlook’s email and groupware program allow you to share calendar information with other people.

Microsoft is fundamentally redesigning the desktop application interface every time it releases a new version of the program. However, the “Share Calendar” feature has been available in every version of Outlook from 2007. The prerequisite is that software should be used in combination with an exchange server. We have summarized the click paths for sharing the default calendar in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 below.

Sharing a calendar on Outlook 2010

  1. In the navigation area on the right-hand side, click the “Calendar” button to switch to calendar view.
  2. Switch to the “Folder” tab using the menu bar.
  3. Click “Share Calendar”.
  4. Make sure that the “Allow Recipients to View your Calendar” folder option is selected.
  5. Enter the recipient’s email address.
  6. If necessary, complete the invitation to share by adding a personal note to the email.
  7. Click “Send”.

Sharing options in Outlook 2007

  1. Click the “Calendar” button on the right side of the navigation bar to switch to calendar view.
  2. Under “My Calendars”, select the default calendar named “Calendar”. The navigation bar displays seven blue links that allow you to perform various actions.
  3. Select the “Share Calendar” link. Outlook 2007 opens a new message window and attaches the sharing invitation.
  4. Make sure that the “Allow Recipients to View your Calendar” folder option is selected.
  5. Enter the recipient’s email address.
  6.  If necessary, complete the release invitation with a personal note in the email.  
  7.  Click “Send”.

In both versions of Outlook, the sharing invitation contains the calendar information as an .ics file. This allows the recipient to add the shared calendar to their own Outlook Calendar list. Note: ICS files are only supported on Outlook 2007.

Outlook 2007 and 2010 also make it possible to then adjust or deactivate calendar shares using the “Calendar Authorizations” button.

Sharing a calendar on Microsoft Office 356

Do you use mail and calendar functions in Office 365, the online service? Then you can share calendar information easily with the Microsoft-hosted exchange server. Just use the “Share” feature of the calendar web app.

  1. Open Office 365 and select the Calendar app: Log into Office 365 with your user account and select the web app “Calendar”. The application starts in a new browser window.
  1. Select “Release”: Select the “Release” function in the menu bar.
  1. Select recipient: Select the desired recipient by entering his name or email address in the search bar.

If necessary, Office 365 allows you to share calendar information with anyone who has email accounts in your Office 365 domain. All these accounts are grouped under “My Organization”. In this case, the Office 365 exchange server establishes a secure connection between your domain’s accounts.

  1. Select level of detail to share: Use the following levels of detail to select how much calendar information you want to share.
    • “Can show when I’m busy” (availability only).

    • “Can show names and places” (restricted details).

    • “Can show all details” (all details).    

The selected detail level can be adapted at any time for a calendar scheduled to be released at a later date.

  1. Send approval invitation: Click on “Share” to send an email with the invitation to share.

The recipient has the option of viewing the shared calendar online, or downloading it using a URL as an ICS file and then adding it to their personal calendar view in Outlook or another email program.