One of the great new features in Outlook is scheduling meetings or appointments to start late (or end early). The end early feature has been included in Outlook for some time. However, the start late feature was introduced into the Office beta channel in version 2012 (build 13530.20000).
Note: This feature is now available in the Current (Preview) channel as of version 2012 (Build 13530.20218)
The shorten meeting feature allows attendees time between meetings. This is useful for many aspects, such as allowing users time to travel between meeting rooms, grab a coffee, reconcile notes, or decompress.
How to shorten meetings to start late or end early
To access this feature, open Outlook, navigate to the File menu, then select Options. From the Outlook Options dialog, select the Calendar tab.
Under the Calendar Options section, select the Shorten appointments and meetings checkbox. From the drop-down, choose whether to have meetings End early or Start late.
Note: If you select None, the prior checkbox will become deselected.
These options also allow you to specify how much time to shorten appointments and meetings. By default, any meeting under 1 hour will be shortened by 5 minutes. Any meeting for 1 hour or longer will be shortened by 10 minutes.
If you wish to change these defaults, pick another time from each drop-down. For example, for meetings one hour or greater, you have choices of 0, 5, 10, and 15 minutes. Once you have made your selection click Ok to save and close the Outlook Options dialog.
Scheduling a meeting
With the options set, let’s schedule a meeting. From the main Outlook window, select the Calendar tab, then select either the New Meeting or New Appointment button. A meeting window will appear with the shortened time.
In our example below, we created a new 30-minute meeting (for 9:30 am), and it automatically set the start time to begin late by 5 minutes.
Similarly, if we create a 1-hour appointment, we also receive a late start time. In our example below, we created a 1-hour appointment, which resulted in a 10 minute delayed start.
The shorten meeting feature does not lock you into that start or end time. You can still modify the start or end time as needed before pressing send. In our example below, we have overridden the start late time by selecting a new start time in the drop-down menu.
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What do you think of this feature? Is this something you would use? Drop a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @SuperTekBoy.