Three Outlook Calendar defaults you can have your way

Don't work harder than you need to. Change Outlook Calendar's defaults to suit your working habits.
Out-of-the-box settings work for the majority of users, but not everyone. Fortunately, Outlook lets you configure many of its features to suit your working habits. Three Calendar defaults that you might want to reset are the appointment interval, the reminder interval, and the workweek. If any of these defaults don't represent your workday, reset the default and eliminate those clicks.

Appointment interval

Appointments come in 30-minute intervals. If this doesn't work for you, change the default as follows:

  1. In Calendar view, right-click the time bar.
  2. Choose one of the pre-defined intervals.

After changing the default interval to 15 minutes, the Calendar offers four appointment intervals per hour, instead of two. That was an easy change, but if you need four an hour, it'll save you a lot of effort down the road.


If you set a reminder for an appointment, Outlook displays a short message (and subtle sound) 15 minutes before the appointment. If you often change the reminder time, change the default and eliminate that step:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options under Help. In Outlook 2007 and 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu, click the Preferences tab (if necessary), and skip to step 3.
  2. Choose Calendar in the left pane.
  3. In the Calendar Options section, choose the appropriate reminder time from the Default Reminders drop-down.
  4. Click OK.

Outlook offers a number of predefined options, from five minutes to two weeks. You can even turn the feature off by setting the reminder time to 0. The feature will allow you to enter a custom time. If you need a reminder three minutes before the scheduled appointment, enter 3.


Outlook's default workweek is Monday through Friday. For your users who work a less traditional week, you can change the defaults to match the days they work:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options under Help. In Outlook 2007 and 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu, click Calendar Options in the Calendar section, and skip to step 3.
  2. Choose Calendar in the left pane.
  3. In the Work Time section, check the days you want to include in your workweek. You can include only a few or all seven.
  4. From the First Day Of Week drop-down, choose the day that represents the first day of your work week.
  5. Click OK.

The defaults are Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM. If your ideal workweek is Tuesday through Friday, 10:00AM to 3:00PM, make it happen.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.


I have just made a small program that allows you to change the meeting length of your outlook appointments to suit your own liking.

(The idea was to allow 4 minutes of transport time to get from one meeting to another, since that was a problem where I used to work)

It does not have any of the drawbacks from changing the default calendar in outlook


the steps outlined above did not work when I tried to apply them in Outlook 2003.


Not that there's anything wrong with the content of this article, but the wording in the Takeaway and introductory paragraph is totally confusing to me. In the Takeaway, " Don’t revamp the Outlook Calendar’s defaults. " To me, "revamp" means "to change", so overall that statement says to me "don't change the defaults, just use them as they are." I when I just read the Takeaway in the newsletter I got in my e-mail, I though this article was going to be about why I should NOT change the defaults. But it's exactly the opposite. Further, again, the term "reset" to me essentially already means "set back to default". So "reset the default" seems to me to be redundant. And we don't "want to reset are the appointment interval..." (again, this means to be TO set back to default), you want us to "change" the the various settings.


There are instructions for several versions, including 2003. Where are you getting lost?


I've asked the editors to change the takeaway -- you're right, it isn't what I meant to say. :) However, I'm going to keep the use of reset. These defaults come with a setting out-of-the-box. When you change it, you are resetting that default setting. You're not setting it for the first time. Reset stays, but thanks for the challenge. :)


Turns out Outlook itself was not responding. I shut down and restarted - no problems now. Thanks.

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