Setting a Default Appointment Length in Outlook

Back in January of this year I responded to a question on Quora. Tom, the author of the question, asked

Can the default meeting duration be customized in Microsoft Outlook?
For example, can we default to 25 minute meetings instead of 30, and 55 minutes instead of 60 – enterprise wide?

As Tom had already discovered, Outlook does allow you to set a default meeting length, but with a limited set of choices. You’re only options are 5, 6, 10, 15. 30, or 60 minutes. There’s another hitch to this too. The meeting length option is controlled by changing the time scale on the calendar. Changing the time scale not only changes the default appointment length, it also changes the appearance of the calendar in both the Day and Week views. Changing the setting will only change the duration of appointments created in the Day and Week views. Appointments created outside of those views default to 30 minutes.

I explained this to Tom, adding that a scripted solution could solve this for him. Continue reading

Changing the Behavior of Outlook Appointments

The genesis of this post is a comment left by James Cox on my last post. Here’s the salient part of James’ comment

While I don’t tweet, is there any chance I could use this forum to put a bee in your bonnet about a way to change Outlook 2010′s default behavior of creating a new meeting by opening the Appointment pane? It would make more sense to me for the Scheduling Assistant pane to open first, not the Appointment one. Also, if there was a way to get the Check Names action to automatically run when the Scheduling Assistant pane opened, I’d be ecstatic (…well, maybe not all the way there, but darned pleased at any rate…).

I had to think about James’ idea for a few minutes, not because it seemed difficult, but because I’d never done anything similar to what he’s asking for. As it turns out this is actually quite easy. Continue reading

Closing Multiple Outlook Message Windows

One benefit I get from being on Twitter, and one of the reasons I like the service so much, is idea generation. People talk about features they’d like to see in a product, complain about features it’s lacking, and ask whomever is listening on Twitter for help figuring out how to use it to get a particular task done. While some of the suggestions are just plain crazy, many of them make perfect sense. Sometimes I slap my forehead after reading a tweet with an idea and wonder “Why didn’t I think of that?” Of course the answer is really simple. I don’t use the product/service the same way the author of the tweet does and therefore never realized the need. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

Here’s an example. I was scanning Outlook related tweets and ran across this one from Michael Mullen (@idiottech):

Microsoft Outlook needs a better way to close multiple emails. Closing each email is totally inefficient.

Michael has a good point, but one I’d never considered before because I rarely have more than two messages open at once. I can sympathize with Michael though because I frequently have multiple windows open in Outlook’s code editor and have found myself wishing there was a way to close them all without the need to close each one individually. While I can’t solve my problem, I can solve Michael’s. Continue reading