Digital calendars have become something of an institution in many workplaces and can provide many benefits when used correctly. For example, Microsoft Calendar is often voted one of the best and most effective online calendars on the market. In this review, you’ll learn more about the benefits of maintaining an online calendar and get the inside scoop on the pros and cons of Microsoft Calendar.
How a Good Digital Calendar Benefits You
Calendars may be the most critical time management tool available. Even a non-digital calendar can help keep your events properly scheduled and keep you on-task at all times. However, a digital calendar can provide these benefits and then some, including how it lets you:
- Plan Events Ahead of Time: A great calendar helps you keep track of important events and ensure you don’t miss them in your daily, weekly, and monthly planning. A digital calendar includes a listing for the event that will move week by week if the event is recurring. For example, this could be a specific meeting time at your business every Wednesday.
- Minimize Time Conflicts: A digital calendar lets you quickly scan all upcoming events without flipping through a confusing and perhaps poorly updated physical Calendar. Instead, you can search for specific days on your Calendar when scheduling and see what other events you have going on that day. In this way, you can ensure you don’t cause any time conflicts.
- Track Deadlines: You probably have deadlines at work that you have to hit daily, weekly, and monthly. An excellent digital calendar helps you hit these deadlines by tracking them as the week progresses. You can even input your progress on your Calendar. This can ensure you stay on task and minimize the risk of falling behind on any critical project.
- Get Alerts for Upcoming Events: The most significant benefit you get from a digital calendar like Microsoft Calendar is automatic updates and alerts for upcoming events. These alerts will trigger before the event, usually a day, hour, or even 15 minutes before it occurs. In addition, you can set varying update times, allowing you to keep these events persistent in your mind.
These benefits make it essential to carefully consider a high-quality digital calendar for your business. But is Microsoft Calendar the best option for you? Let’s break down the features, benefits, and downsides of this program to help you make an informed decision.
An In-Depth Review of Microsoft Calendar
Microsoft Calendar is a free feature of Outlook email and is one of the oldest digital calendars on the market today. It remains one of the better options, as well, due to its broad array of features and advantages. That said, there are still some downsides.
Microsoft Calendar Features
Microsoft Calendar has many features that make it an exciting option for many users. Just a few of them include:
- Event and Appointment Creation: Microsoft Calendar users can simply click on any scheduling event in their Calendar and start typing to create an appointment or event. You can set any alerts during creation that let you know when an event is coming up soon.
- Meeting Organization: You may also set up meeting requests and select everyone you want to participate in the meeting. Calendar then automatically reads their calendars and helps you and each member find a time when everybody is available for an appointment.
- Shared Group Schedules: When everyone in your business uses Microsoft Calendar, you can share group schedules that make planning meetings and other events easier. These events can be toggled on and off on your Calendar and make your Calendar more useful.
- Color-Coded Entries: If you get confused staring at a digital calendar when planning your day, you can always color-code each of your entries. These color codes can help you spot other people’s events and ensure that you don’t make any mistakes when reading your Calendar.
- Calendar Comparison: Microsoft Calendar users may create and share calendars and compare them in various ways. You can check them out with a side-by-side view or layer them in an overlay. Once you find what best suits your purposes, choose which Calendar you want in your view.
- SharePoint Integration: If you use any Microsoft SharePoint sites for your business, Microsoft Calendar lets you view these events and create a list that displays them. This option helps make it easier to develop business-wide websites that feature everyone’s events.
Microsoft Calendar users can also subscribe to Internet Calendars. Subscribing can help keep calendars updated, manage another user’s Calendar, and integrate many other Microsoft programs into cohesive operation. These features help make Microsoft Calendar a fairly diverse tool.
The Benefits of Microsoft Calendar
Before switching to Microsoft Calendar, it is vital to understand a few of its most significant benefits. Just a few reasons why you might want to use this option over other digital calendars include:
- Access Multiple Time Zones: When you do business in more than one time zone, Microsoft Calendar helps you set different locations to help track your time more efficiently. This option is critical for online employees or those who work in a remote environment.
- Easy-to-Use Design: Microsoft Calendar has a simple, intuitive interface. Its simplicity makes it easy to update your entries, change your schedules, and provide accurate time management for your daily tasks. In addition, if you can send an email on Outlook, you can use Calendar without much difficulty.
- Free to Use: Unless you upgrade to a subscription model, Microsoft Calendar is free to use for anyone with an Outlook email. Office upgrades let you use Calendar offline and provide more customization options, but the free option works just fine for most people.
Another considerable benefit of Microsoft Calendar is how easily it integrates with Outlook and Windows programs. If you get a meeting invite from any other calendar, Microsoft Calendar automatically adds it to your event without any difficulty. Microsoft Calendar is also designed for large groups of people, making it useful for more prominent companies with many employees.
The Downsides of Microsoft Calendar
While Microsoft Calendar has many benefits that make it worth using, there are some downsides you need to consider. A few of these concerns include:
- Minimal Customization: Microsoft Calendar lets you customize some of its elements by synchronizing to other Microsoft programs. However, it is not adaptable to many other third-party programs and lacks the kind of broad customization possible with other programs.
- Free Version Needs Online Connection: This downside is probably pretty minor if you’re consistently connected to the internet at work. However, if your internet goes out, you won’t be able to use your free Microsoft Calendar. This problem may also occur if the Exchange server goes offline.
- Too Many Control Options: Ironically, some people may find Microsoft Calendar’s functionality (through Outlook) to be far too broad to handle. Once you get used to the multiple-use options available for Calendar and Outlook, though, you should find this falling more under a benefit.
These downsides don’t overwhelm the many positives available through Microsoft Calendar. However, some people may consider them a deal-breaker. For example, people who want to integrate third-party platforms into their Calendar or email may find Calendar’s limited options frustrating. However, those who want a simple-to-use but deep Calendar may look past these limitations.
Microsoft Calendar is a diverse, influential, and valuable digital calendar option that should work for many people. While it has a few downsides, it still works well for Microsoft users or those who work in large businesses. In addition, even after decades of competition from Google and other companies, Microsoft Calendar remains a strong scheduling option.
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!