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Understanding Office 365 Calendar and its permissions

Updated: May 17

In day-to-day activities, it is important to manage the meetings, invites, tasks, and events, and to achieve this, we have a Calendar, unlike our physical wall calendar.

Calendar is a scheduling component of Outlook that is fully integrated with email, contacts, and other features.

Writing in a notebook, you can click any time slot in the Outlook Calendar and start typing. Using the Calendar, you can create appointments and events, organize meetings, view group schedules, and much more.

Uses of Calendar

Create appointments and events

Click any time slot in the Outlook Calendar and start to type to create your appointment or event. You can opt to have a sound or message remind you of appointments, meetings, and events, and you can colour items for quick identification.

For more information, see Create or Schedule an appointment and Create an event.

Organize meetings

Select a time on the Calendar, create a meeting request, and select the people to invite.

If you, as the meeting organizer, allow this, invitees can propose an alternative meeting time. As the organizer, you can track who accepts or declines the request or who proposes another time for the meeting by opening the request.

View group schedules

You can create calendars that show the schedules of a group of people or resources.

View calendars side-by-side

You can view multiple calendars that you created side-by-side and calendars shared by other Outlook users. For example, you can create a separate calendar for your personal appointments and view both your work and personal calendars side-by-side.

Types of Calendar Permission Levels

  • Reviewer: With this permission, the delegate can read items in your folders.

  • Author: With this permission, the delegate can read and create items and change and delete items that he or she creates. For example, a delegate can create task requests and meeting requests directly in your Task or Calendar folder and then send the item on your behalf.

  • Editor: With this permission, the delegate can do everything that an Author has permission to do and additionally can change and delete the items that you created.

Assigning Calendar Permission

Calendar access control using Outlook (Windows)

After you have configured your Office 365 account in Outlook, you may want to configure your default calendar-sharing permissions as well. Note: If you are the owner of a resource and have subscribed to the resource calendar, you can also perform these actions for the resource. Just make sure you have performed these actions as the resource when following these steps.

1. Start Outlook.

2. Navigate to your Calendar by clicking on the Calendar tab in the lower left-hand corner of your Outlook client.

Calendar access control using outlook

3. At the calendar screen, select your default calendar, "Calendar":

My calendar

4. Right-click on the Calendar and then click on the "Properties" field. This will open a dialogue box that gives you further choices:

5. Select the "Permissions" tab at the top of the dialogue box that opens. The 'Calendar Properties screen will be displayed:

The Default permissions level will be "Free/Busy time". When set to this value, this setting allows others to view whether you are free or busy but does not allow others to see what you are doing during that time, nor with whom you are meeting.

6. Make sure the Default user is selected and use the options within the 'Read' box to change the desired default permissions for your Calendar. To fully restrict others from seeing your Calendar, set the "Read" permission level to "None". This setting will only restrict them from viewing your availability; they will still be able to invite you to a meeting. If you wish others to have greater access to your Calendar, set read permissions to "Full Details" or "Free/Busy time, subject, location".

Please note the "Permissions" for the Anonymous user. Anonymous users are users who have not yet migrated to Office 365 or who are entirely outside of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee system. If you wish to change calendar viewing permissions for these groups, you will need to change these here. Do not delete this account/user.

7. When you are done setting your permissions, click on "Apply" and then click on "OK" to exit the Calendar Properties dialog box.

Calendar access control using Outlook on the Web

1. Open Outlook on the Web.

2. Navigate to your Calendar

3. At the calendar screen, right-click your default calendar, "Calendar", and select "Sharing permissions".

4. Next to "My Organization", click on the drop-down menu and select the desired permissions level. This will grant that level of permissions to anyone who opens up your Calendar. The default permissions level will be "Can view when I'm busy". When set to this value, this setting allows others to view where you are free or busy but does not allow others to see what you are doing during that time, nor with whom you are meeting. *IMPORTANT! If you change the permissions level of "My Organization" to "Can edit", this gives EVERYONE who views your Calendar the permission to edit the events on your Calendar. This is highly NOT RECOMMENDED.

5. When you are done setting your permissions, click the "Done" button to close the window.

Security and Best Practices for Calendar Sharing

Security Implications of Calendar Sharing

Sharing your Calendar can be convenient, but it also poses security risks. Calendars often contain sensitive information such as meeting details, locations, and participant lists. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it could lead to privacy breaches or corporate espionage.

Be Cautious with Permissions

It's crucial to be selective about whom you grant calendar access to. Only provide access to those who genuinely need it. Additionally, use the least permissive level necessary. For example, instead of allowing someone to see full details, consider if viewing only free/busy times would suffice.

Best Practices for Managing Calendar Permissions

Regular Reviews

Periodically review who has access to your Calendar. This helps ensure that only current, relevant individuals have permissions.

Revoke When Necessary

Remove permissions from users who no longer need access. This might include former employees or team members who have changed roles.

Limit Visibility

When sharing your Calendar, restrict the level of detail visible. Only share the necessary amount of information to maintain privacy and security.

Educate Users

Ensure that everyone understands the importance of calendar security and the potential risks of improper sharing.

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