How do I... Configure delegate access in Microsoft Outlook?

Delegate access enables users to share Outlook resources, such as appointment schedules, for better coordination across workgroups and throughout organizations.This quick visual tour demonstrates how to create a delegate and set the desired level of permissions.

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According to a 2005 ZDNet survey, Microsoft Outlook is installed on a whopping 60 percent of corporate desktops, serving as a feature rich e-mail client that provides substantial benefits. And along with e-mail, calendaring, and personal information management, Outlook features such delegate access simplify workgroup collaboration. As you'll see, delegate access in Outlook is easy to use and extremely useful.

The case for using delegate access

Without effective communication, projects and tasks can easily flounder and stagnate as workgroup members struggle to coordinate efforts and share project-related information. This is especially true if the members are geographically dispersed. Although pagers and cell phones help group members stay in touch, individuals who are in meetings or out of the office may not be readily available.

Using Outlook's delegate access feature lets group members view each other's calendars. This not only increases group efficiency but also provides group members with an explanation for a delayed response. Progress can continue, and group members don't feel slighted by unanswered pages or telephone calls.

As you might imagine, the delegate access feature has a wide variety of uses. Secretaries can be granted access to their supervisor's calendar so that they can schedule appointments and respond to meeting requests. Supervisors who are granted delegate access can easily determine what projects their employees are working on. And subordinates granted access to view their manager's calendar can track them down should problems arise. Outlook's delegate access features can be used in these situations and many others.

Assigning delegate access

Setting up Outlook's delegate access feature is straightforward and takes just a few mouse clicks. First click Tools | Options on the Outlook toolbar (Figure A). In the Options dialog box, click the Delegates tab (Figure B).

Figure A


Figure B


To add a delegate, click the Add button and select the appropriate person. You can select a delegate from any of the Outlook address lists that are available to you. After you've added the delegate, click OK and then use the drop-down lists shown in Figure C to select the desired permissions for the delegate. The levels of permissions are:

  • None: The assigned delegate is unable to view or modify your calendar.
  • Reviewer (Can Read Items): The assigned delegate is allowed to read items on your calendar.
  • Author (Can Read And Create Items): The assigned delegate is allowed to read and create new items on your calendar.
  • Editor (Can Read, Create, And Modify Items): The assigned delegate is allowed to read, create, and modify items on your calendar.
  • Figure C


    When assigning delegate access, be careful to assign the appropriate permissions to each delegate. For example, you'll want to avoid confusion by limiting the number of people who can modify your calendar. Click OK to return to the Options dialog box, where your new delegate will be listed (Figure D). To complete the process, simply click Apply and then click OK. The new delegates now have access to view your calendar and do the things you granted them permission to do.

    Figure D


    Managing delegate access

    Modifying delegate settings and managing your delegates are easy tasks. To modify a delegate's permissions, go to Tools | Options and click the Delegates tab in the Options dialog box. Now, select the delegate and click the Permissions button to open the Delegate's Permissions dialog box. As you can see in Figure E, this is the same dialog box that appeared when we initially configured the delegate. After making your changes, click OK and then click Apply to apply the updated delegate settings. Click OK to close the Options dialog box.

    Figure E


    To delete a delegate, open the Delegates tab in the Options dialog box. Select the delegate that you want to delete and click the Remove button (Figure F). The delegate will be removed and will no longer be able to view or modify your calendar.

    Figure F


    Wrap up

    Creating and managing delegate access to your calendar is a useful and straightforward process. The feature offers significant benefits, especially when it's used by workgroups and teams. Requiring just a few moments to set up, Outlook's delegate access feature can increase workgroup efficiency and reduce the number of headaches you may experience.

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