Outlook 2002 brings many updates, advantages, and efficiencies to you and your users. Some of the most noticeable improvements were made to Outlook’s calendar. Features such as color-coded calendar labels and unified reminders save time and keep you organized.

Customize calendar labels
Outlook now provides ten color-coded labels that you can use to categorize your scheduled appointments. These labels are different from the master category list available in previous versions of Outlook. Using colored labels allows you to quickly find appointments at a glance.

However, if you have ten or fewer main categories that you use on a regular basis, you might want your label names to be the same as your categories. To change the default label names, go to the Edit menu from the Calendar view and click on the Labels option. Doing so will open the Edit Calendar Labels window shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Once you have edited the labels to reflect your needs, you can then use them to easily identify appointments and meetings on your calendar (Figure B).

Figure B

Propose a new meeting time
When you get a meeting request, you hope that the originator has used the meeting planner and picked a time that is convenient for you. That’s not always the case though. What if you just can’t meet then for one reason or another? Outlook 2002 allows you to propose a new time and send that proposal back to the meeting originator. The originator can then accept or decline the new time or even propose a new time of their own, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Unified reminders window
Have you ever gone on vacation and come back to find over 20 reminders waiting for you when you opened Outlook? If so, you know that multiple reminders would cascade down your screen. You would then have to click Dismiss or Snooze for each reminder to get it to close. Outlook 2002 eliminates this headache by using a unified reminders window that shows all of your reminders in one window. You can press [Shift][Ctrl] and click your mouse button to select multiple reminders, which you can Snooze, Open, or Dismiss. You can also close the reminders window completely without snoozing or dismissing your reminders and bring it back at any time by selecting View | Reminders Window (Figure D).

Figure D

Track people’s schedules more easily
Scheduling meetings for a group can be a difficult task. It’s hard to find a time when everyone is available. All versions of Outlook have included a meeting planner that allows you to see free/busy information on the Attendee Availability tab when planning a meeting. Outlook 2002 includes a built-in way to view group schedules right from your calendar. A Schedules button on the toolbar allows you to create groups of users (Figure E) whose schedules are visible through a single calendar interface.

Figure E

Once you create and open your group schedule, you can see at a glance when all members of the group are free. You can create a meeting with all members directly from your Group Schedules window or select one member of your group and hold a meeting with that individual. Managers don’t have to waste their time examining each attendee’s calendar; they can view an entire group from one window, as in Figure F.

Figure F

Lunar Calendar support
If you routinely do business with users of other languages, you may have found the need to view the Lunar Calendar. Outlook now allows users to view the Lunar Calendar within your own calendar and set up recurring appointments based on that calendar. You need only enable one of the languages that support the Lunar Calendar. Select from the following:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Simplified or Traditional)
  • Hebrew
  • Japanese
  • Korean

Then click Tools | Options | Calendar Options and select the check box to Enable Alternate Calendar.