Customize your Outlook Calendar so that it's all about YOU!

Have you ever opened Outlook and suddenly felt... bored? Bored with the look and feel that you get with its presets? You don't have to feel like that anymore!
There is a way to customize your Outlook so it works the way YOU want it to work. How...? Well I'm glad you asked :-).

Outlook Calendar Options

Let's look at the Options menu since this is a one-stop-shop for changing the way we will work with Calendar. On the File tab click on Options.

On the File tab click on Options

Then click on Calendar. This will open a window and THAT'S where all the fun is!

Click on Calendar to select the necessary options

Some key point on this page...

  1. Set your work time and hours so when people look at your calendar they'll know if you're in.
  2. Default reminders - set how much of a reminder you want on your calendar activity.
  3. Instantly add all the holidays (based on the country you live in - how's that for personalized!)
  4. Default calendar color - change the color of each of your calendars (I love the pink and purple one!)
  5. Font - change the font of your calendars (perhaps something bigger and in a different font)

There are so many more ways to change your default settings. It's just a matter of what suits you best and how much you want to change... feel free to explore the possibilities!

Below is the continuation of the Outlook menu.

Explore the possibilities of the Calendar options

How do you like to see your calendar?

Now that we've customized our options we can take a look at how to get to really customizing how we view our calendar.

Customize the Calendar view

Let's take a look at the toolbar. You can change how you currently look at the calendar by clicking on the Change View, View Settings, and Reset View button. Remember, if you see an arrow at the bottom of the button there is more hidden treasure when you click on it... which means more ways to make it all your own! Click away!

On the Arrangements (which is one of my personal favorite toolbars), you can look at the calendar based on different criteria: one day at a time (great if you have a lot of appointments), work week (gives an overview based on the work week that was set on the options), and by month (I like to use this because I want to see what needs to be done not just today but I want to see what's upcoming also).

One of the buttons I think is rather useful is the Overlay button. This will place the calendars over each other and consolidates them but still keeps the color scheme so you know which task/appointment belongs to which calendar. An overlaid calendar will look like the one below. Did you notice that the pink calendar appointments and the purple ones are all on the same now?

Overlaid calendar will look like this

Let's talk about color! Are you tired of the colors on your calendar and want something a little more your style? I like personalizing it so that it isn't so drab. And if I'm feeling sassy I'll change it with the seasons... I like pretty colors! If you want to change the colors of calendars click on color and Viola! So many choices!!! :-)

Choose the color you like best

Let's talk about the Layout menu. Just the way you can change the Navigation bars on your Outlook mail view, you can do the same for the Calendar. Navigation Pane allows you to minimize the menu on the left or remove it completely. The Reading Pane gives you the option of showing your notes. The To-Do bar can either be on the right of the Calendar or minimized. I think this is also a useful tool which gives an overview of upcoming events/appointments/holidays.

The last thing I want to go over when customizing how you view your calendar is the on the left side on the Navigation Bar. See where it says My Calendars? This is where all your calendars are. On my home computers I have a personal calendar and one named Genesis. (My son is part of professional march drum corp so I have to keep up with his camps, trainings, and summer tour.) Now, at work I have these two and I also keep one for my boss' appointments as well as a copy of each of my co-worker's calendars for a total of about seven calendars. That's a lot to keep up with and I don't always want to see all of those calendars up at once. You can click on the ones you want to see. This helps keep it from getting cluttered and viewing only what you want at any given point.

Sharing Calendars

As I mentioned above, my co-workers and I all share our calendars so we know when and what we are doing at all times. This is especially helpful when we have to take time off in the summer since we all take it at staggered times. You choose which calendars you want to share. I usually share the one where my personal schedule and appointments are set.

Place your cursor on the title of the calendar you'd like to share and right-click or you can click on Email Calendar from the Home Menu. (Below is the right-click menu which gives you some awesome quick-click options for customizing your view.)

Use the right-click menu for customizing your calendar view

Place your cursor on Share and click on Email Calendar. You can choose just how much of your calendar you'd like to share (a month, next week, your whole calendar, etc.). You can also choose which calendar you'd like to share. I encourage you to click on all of the buttons to familiarize yourself with this option.

Share your calendar

Once you've decided what you want to send, click on OK.

Your calendar is now in an email and ready to send off to anyone... your office co-workers, your boss, your family, ANYONE!

Send your calendar to anyone

Once the recipient has accepted your calendar they will now have it on their navigation and calendar view.

You now have our calendar that is totally YOURS. It looks like you want it to, it shows only what you want it to show, and it works to your advantage. Let's print your calendar... but not just anyway... how about if we print it how YOU want to print it?! Microsoft has a free add-in that allows you to customize the way your calendar is printed. Microsoft Outlook Printing Assistant is a quick download that interfaces with your Outlook Calendar and gives you a wide range of options when printing.

Your calendar is customized

You can select which calendars you want included for your print. Change the format to view your day, week (which is what I chose), monthly schedule, or your yearly calendar. If that's not enough, you can change the color scheme (of course I chose pink!), change the font, and you can even change the paper size.

Wow... there are so many things we can do with the calendar. The purpose of this article is to help you customize it to make it your own and to make your calendar work for YOU. Work doesn't feel like work when you take a little time to make your calendar look fun; whether it's changing the font, the color of the calendar, or the way you view it... from that point on you'll know for sure that the calendar is ALL YOU!


See also

16 comments to "Customize your Outlook Calendar so that it's all about YOU!"

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  2. Ed says:

    I maintain a separate spread sheet with all the birthdays in my extended family. If there a way that I can import them into my outlook calendar rather than entering each one separately.

  3. Anita says:

    On your full month calendar view above the days from the preceding month and following month are shaded purple. How do I make my calendar do that so the days don't all run together from different months?

  4. Samantha says:


    Can I add numbers to work days on the calendar? I need to add T+1. T+2 etc to workdays (not including public holidays) and am not sure how to do this.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. shlainy says:

    waiting for irregular working hours per day

    Sunday is my long day wish to set longer hours

    Friday is my short day - wish to set 15:00 as the end of the day.

  6. John says:

    When preview to print calendar, why is the background colour not shown? Can print calendar background with color to printe?

    • Tink says:

      'Fraid not. Office 2010 colour are not configurable. The colours are awful and confusing on a laptop as the monthly view uses blocks of colour all the time. With a lot of catagorised coloured appointments and meetings the colours are too insipid. At least in MSO2013 the calendar is plain to start with

  7. Laurie says:

    I have my calendar set to view work week. But, when I print it prints the entire 7 day work week. I've checked all my settings and can't figure out how to JUST print the work week. Help!

    • Tink says:

      No option unless you download and install the free add-in. Should have been part of the suite to start with. MS scrimped of its design

  8. Patti says:

    I want to edit the calendar category colors, using ones I create, not the ugly dark colors that are given as options. We used to be able to access the entire color palette, why not any more? HELP!!! So frustrated.

  9. Lori says:

    In the calendar monthly view. I would like to make the daily panes larger. I know I won't be able to see the entire month; I'd need to scroll but I want all the days appointments to show without the little arrow telling me there are more. Is it possible to enlarge the daily panes on the monthly view?

  10. Todd says:

    Question regarding a Shared Outlook 2010 Calendar.
    A person has created a Shared Outlook 2010 Calendar & created some custom Categories. They have shared the calendar with a group of people but the people do not see his custom Categories. I've read that the Color category selections are stored in the users default mailbox storage location, which should be the mailbox on the server. This means categories roam with the user. However it doensn't appear that people can view these custom categories.

    I know that you can view the Customer Categories in a Shared Mailbox Calendar.
    Is it possible to view someone's personally shared calendar Categories? If so how without third party software.

    Thank you.

  11. Todd says:

    I like to use my calendar a a scheduling device for construction. My different trades take days or weeks to complete a task so I like to change colors between trades to make them stand out. I've used CATEGORIES on older versions of OUTLOOK but the 2013 version doesn't let me do this (because I have IMAP?) How can I create individual colored appointments for Outlook 2013? Please remember, I'm basically a carpenter to keep the techie talk simple.

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