Just Like the Other Outlook Clients
In mid-2020, Microsoft introduced new configuration settings to make online meetings the default when scheduled by OWA, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook mobile clients. Office 365 notification MC230567 brings the news that Outlook for Windows gains a similar feature, albeit one that must be configured for individual PCs. According to Microsoft roadmap item 66021, the feature will be available in January 2021. It depends on updates to the Teams meeting add-in for Outlook and Outlook click-to-run (current channel). As I write, I see the change in Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise build 13530.20218.
Outlook for Windows Does Its Own Thing
Unlike the other Outlook clients, which depend on an organizational setting (which can be overridden for individual mailboxes) to know if they should schedule online meetings, Outlook for Windows opts to include the control in its options (Figure 1), meaning that the setting is stored in the system registry. Microsoft hasn’t yet documented how to control the registry setting with a group policy object or PowerShell.
Once set, when Outlook creates a meeting, it automatically sets up a Teams online space for the event and adds the necessary properties to the meeting (Figure 2). Users who choose not to enable online meetings by default can still schedule online events by selecting the Teams meeting add-in when creating a new meeting.
If the user doesn’t want to host a meeting online, they can easily remove the option using the Settings button. Speaking of which, another welcome change is that Outlook for Windows no longer calls a web page when a meeting organizer wants to set or change the options for a Teams online meeting (Figure 3).
No Support for Third-Party Online Meetings
Unlike Outlook mobile, you can’t configure third-party add-ins for online meetings to have Outlook for Windows use services like WebEx, Zoom, or BlueJeans instead of Teams. To setup new Outlook events for meetings hosted on these platforms, you need to paste the meeting details into the Outlook meeting before sending the event notification to participants.
This is a great example of a change that warranted a four-word update in the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. It’s not that the topic isn’t interesting; it’s just that we have so much more to talk about when it comes to running an Office 365 tenant.