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Making Sense of Your Outlook Calendar Data: 2 Tips

You can do more with Microsoft Outlook than just email!
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Office Management

Making sense of your Outlook calendar data: 2 tips

There's a gold mine of information in your calendaring data, whether you use Google, Outlook, Lotus Note or GroupWise. If you can see, or export, your calendar data in a list, you have some great decision-support data. Let's take a look at Outlook.

Most of us use Outlook for email. Some use it for both email and calendaring. But few of us know how to get calendaring and tasks to really help us manage our time and workload. Get more out the program you already use every day.

If you can view it, you can use it

In Outlook, from your Calendar window, click the View tab. In the Current View group, click the Change View button. Here, you'll see a list view.

If you regularly archive your older items, you may not see everything here. To see older items, click an Archive folder. Depending upon the features of your calendaring software, you will be able to add more column titles to the view. Then use those to sort and filter.

For example, if you use Categories to identify different types of events, you can sort by Category. Let's say that you code appointments and meetings that require travel with a Travel category. You will be able to accurately report how much you traveled and make decisions about travel budgets or alternatives to travel for the coming year.

An easy way to filter down to just what you need is to click on the Expand/Collapse button after you sort. You'll find this on the View tab, too, in the Arrangement group. Once you collapse all of your categories, then you can expand whichever one you need to take a closer look at.

Maybe you want to know how much time you spent at various locations and organizations. To do this:

  • Right-click any column title and choose Field Chooser.
  • In the list, you'll find an entry for Location. Click and drag this onto your view.
  • Then, sort by it.
  • Unlike categories, you may not be able to automatically collapse by the location grouping. To do that, click on the View Settings button in the Current view group.
  • Click Group By, and select Location in the Group Items by field.

If this is just a temporary need, you can click the Reset View button in the Current View group to reset everything. Otherwise, clicking Change View will allow you to save this view to use again.

When you understand the ins and outs of calendar and task items, you can use them to more effectively control how you spend your time … report your time … and track team member tasks to ensure on-time performance on projects. Join us Thursday, April 28 for Microsoft Outlook Calendars & Tasks.

Crunch it in Excel

Not all calendaring applications let you see your data as a list on the screen. For these, you will usually be able to export to a comma separated value (.csv) file, which opens quite nicely in Excel without any special maneuvers. Now that you have your data in a place where you can really do some analysis, let's take a look at how you can use it.

Sort by subject to see where you spend most of your time. (HINT: If you track tasks in the same application, you should be able to export these, too.) You can even do a little date/time math in Excel to determine the precise amount of time you're spending. Simply subtract the start time from the end time and add 1 for multiple day events, or multiply by 24 to get the time for same-day events.

In this popular webinar from our Office Tech Series, Microsoft® Certified Trainer Melissa Esquibel will dissect calendars and tasks, showing you all the great features you may not even know exist.

Melissa will cover how these items are viewed and reported to make sure you stay on top of meetings, "to-do" items and assignments … with a "no-miss" guarantee.

You'll discover:
  • How We Use Outlook Today
  • Melissa EsquibelUnderstanding Calendars
  • Inserting Objects
  • Scheduling Help
  • Tasks
  • Project Management
  • Your Day At a Glance
  • What Else Can Be a Task
In addition, Melissa will answer all your Outlook questions. And because this is a webinar, there is NO LIMIT to the number of colleagues who can participate.

Microsoft Outlook Calendars & Tasks is filled with shortcuts, tips and tricks that will have you optimizing your schedule with lightning speed. Boost your productivity — sign up today!
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