How to Schedule a Meeting in Outlook

Get one-time and recurring meetings on the calendar

When you schedule a meeting in Outlook with another person or group of people, they receive an invitation email with the meeting details. From this email, they can accept or decline the meeting invitation. Outlook adds the meeting to your Outlook calendar, keeps track of your attendees' responses, and sends a reminder before the meeting starts. 

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, and Outlook 2013.

How to Send a Calendar Invite in Outlook

Here’s how to schedule a meeting in Outlook:

  1. Select the Home tab.

    The Home tab in Outlook
  2. Select New Items > Meeting.

    Alternatively, press Ctrl+Shift+Q.

    The Meeting item under "New Items"
  3. In the Meeting invitation, enter a description of the meeting in the Title text box.

    The Title field for a new meeting
  4. In the Required text box, enter the email addresses of each attendee who must attend the meeting. In Outlook 2016 and 2013, enter the email addresses in the To text box.

    To select contacts from your address book, select either Required, Optional, or To.

    The Required field in a new meeting
  5. In the Optional text box, enter the email addresses of people you'd like to attend the meeting, but do not require them to do so.

    The Optional field
  6. Choose a Start time and End time for the meeting.

    The start and end time fields
  7. To block out an entire day on your calendar for the meeting, select All day.

    The "All day" option
  8. In the Location text box, enter where you're holding the meeting.

    The Location field
  9. In the Message area, enter other information your attendees will need to know before the meeting and attach any files you want them to review.

    To attach a file to the meeting invitation, Select the Insert tab, then select Attach File. To add a link to a document on your OneDrive, select the Link dropdown arrow.

    A new meeting invitation in Outlook with an attached file
  10. By default, when you send a meeting invitation in Outlook, the invitation includes a request for a response and gives the recipient the option to suggest a new time for the meeting. To change these options, Select the Meeting tab, then select Response Options.

    The Response Options menu
  11. Select Send.

If your schedule changes or if your attendees must make other plans, either cancel the meeting or reschedule it.

The Send button

How to Set Up a Recurring Meeting

Outlook also lets you set up recurring meetings. Use this option for gatherings you plan to repeat every week, month, or other period. With a recurring meeting, you only have to enter the details once, and it will add all future events to your calendar based on the interval you set.

  1. Select the Home tab, then select New Items > Meeting.

    The Meeting item under "New Items"
  2. In the Meeting invitation, enter the Title, Required attendees, Optional attendees, Location, and a message describing the purpose of the meeting.

  3. Select Make Recurring.

    In Outlook 2016 and 2013, select Meeting > Recurrence.

    The Make Recurring option
  4. The Appointment Recurrence dialog box will open. Enter the Start time, End time, and Duration of the meeting.

    The Start, End, and Durations for a recurring meeting
  5. In the Recurrence pattern section, choose when the meeting will reoccur. For example, a regular weekly meeting that occurs every Monday.

    The Recurrence Pattern section
  6. In the Range of recurrence section, choose a length of time the recurring meetings will continue. You can tell a recurring meeting to cancel on a certain date or after a certain number of occurrences. Choose No end date if you don't want the meeting to expire.

    The Range of Recurrence options
  7. Select OK.

    The OK button
  8. In the Meeting invitation, select Send.

    The Send button

How to Use the Scheduling Assistant to Create a Meeting

If you use Microsoft 365 at work and are an Exchange user, use the Scheduling Assistant to find the best time to schedule a meeting with others. When you open the Scheduling Assistant, you’ll see the calendars for the people you invited to the meeting.

The Scheduling Assistant for meeting in Outlook

To use the Scheduling Assistant, create a Meeting invitation, the select the Meeting tab > Scheduling Assistant.

How to View the Meeting on Your Outlook Calendar

Once you create or accept a meeting, it will appear on your Outlook calendar based on the date and time info. Here's how to find upcoming events.

  1. Select the View Switcher, then select Calendar.

  2. To find the meeting, scroll through the calendar or use the search box and enter the title of the meeting.

  3. To view the meeting details, double-click the calendar item.

    View a meeting in the Outook Calendar
  4. To view responses, select the Tracking tab. The Response column shows which attendees have accepted the meeting invitation and which have not responded.

    The Tracking tab and Response column
  5. If you received a verbal acceptance from an attendee, select None, then select Accepted, Declined, or gave a Tentative response.

    Tracing who replied to a meeting invitation in Outlook
  6. Close the meeting invitation when you're finished.

How to Add People to an Existing Meeting Invitation

You may set up a meeting and then have more attendees to invite later (for example, if you hire another employee and want to add them to regular staff meetings). Here's how to invite new attendees to a meeting you've already setup.

  1. Find the meeting on your calendar.

  2. Double-click the meeting item.

  3. Select the Scheduling Assistant tab > Add Attendees.

    The Scheduling Assistant tab and the Add Attendees button
  4. In the Select Attendees and Resources dialog box, choose the name of the attendee.

    The Name field in Select Attendees
  5. Select either Required or Optional to indicate whether the attendee is required to be at the meeting or if their attendance is optional.

    The Required and Optional buttons
  6. Select OK.

    The OK button
  7. The attendee now appears on the the All Attendees list in the Scheduling Assistant.

    A new attendee added to an existing meeting in the Outlook Scheduling Assistant
  8. Select Send Update.

    The Send Update button