Teams Replaces Meetings App with New Calendar App
First announced in March 2019 in Office 365 Notification MC175133 and then highlighted later that month in Microsoft’s round-up of announcements at the Enterprise Connect conference, the long-awaited roll-out of the new Calendar app finally seems to be happening. Tenants are reporting that the new app has appeared in Teams clients following the last regular software refresh to replace the older Meetings app. The change from Meetings to Calendar is also documented in the Office 365 roadmap (Figure 1). Because the release dates slipped, the descriptive text says that the release is March 2019 while the release date is predicted in Q1 CY2020. The most positive way of reading this is to think that the app is now available before its scheduled release date. Scheduling software is difficult!
Original Minimalist App
The Meetings app is, how shall we say this, minimalist. It allows you to schedule Teams meetings and it synchronizes with user Outlook calendars, but that’s about it. The new Calendar app redresses the situation and delivers new views and actions. It also responds in some part to the many user voice requests for the Teams calendar.
Nice as it is to have new calendar features in Teams, the new calendar app is not as functional as the Outlook calendar and few users will be able to organize their professional and personal schedules inside Teams in the same way as they can in Outlook. For example, the Teams calendar has no concept of multiple time zones (useful when meeting with people in other countries or entering travel details), categories are unsupported, you can’t mark events as private, drag and drop between time slots can’t be done, and so on. These features might come in time, but they’re missing in the new Calendar app today.
New Teams Calendar Features
The features in the new calendar (Figure 2) include:
- Day, work week, and week views (but no month view).
- Calendar widget to navigate to chosen date.
- Ability to interact with selected calendar item (for instance, right click to accept, reject, or join a meeting). Meetings light up when they are active.
- Bi-directional synchronization with user’s Outlook calendar. For instance, you can edit items scheduled in the Outlook calendar and have those changes appear in Outlook.
- Synchronization with Exchange calendar settings, like working hours and days of the work week.
- Users can put a meeting into their calendar without adding anyone (but themselves) to the meeting (appointments in Outlook calendar terms).
Users are unlikely to need much if any coaching to use the new app. It’s all very straightforward and easy to use. Best of all, despite the wait, it’s a great improvement.
We don’t really cover details like the features of an app in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, but if you need information about how to manage Office 365 in general and Teams in particular, the eBook is full of great content.