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

Stephen Pittsley

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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 as 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.