This frequent request comes from users looking for a way to send out meeting requests for training sessions or benefits meetings with HR, where each employee can pick the session that fits their schedule.
I was wondering if anybody can tell me whether or not this is possible, and if it is, how would I do so? We are going to have about six different meetings scheduled soon. We therefore need to send an invitation out to a group of people for those meetings. However, each of them only needs to select one of the six meetings. Is there any way to send a calendar invite that will allow them to choose one of the six meetings and thereby automatically update the sender's calendar AND the responders calendar?
Unfortunately Outlook doesn't have the capability for creating this type of meeting request, but you can do nearly the same thing by creating the meetings in the calendar, then save each meeting as an ICS file on the hard drive. Send the invitees a message with each of the ICS files attached and instructions to choose the meeting they want to attend.
Create the Request
The steps are Create the meeting request:
- Create the invitations and invite required attendees, resources or yourself.
- Click Send. This step is important since you need a meeting request that was sent, so the responses can be tracked.
- Open each item on your calendar select File, Save as.
- Save each item as an ICS on the hard drive.
- Create the email message and attach the ICS files.
- When the recipients accept the meeting request, they'll send a response and the meeting is added to their calendar.
- The sender's copy will update with the recipient's name as an optional attendee.
To avoid confusion, use the meeting date in the subject so the recipient only has to open the meeting they plan to attend.
Save a step: create all of the meeting invitations then select the meetings using Ctrl+Click. Use Actions, Forward as iCalendar to send. Note: this will not work with Outlook 2013 and up (Forward as iCalendar is missing from the right-click menu) and not available on the ribbon with more than one meeting selected. You'll need to use the long method listed above (and shown in the video tutorial, below).
Do not right click and Forward, do not use Ctrl+F or Forward on the Actions menu.
In newer versions of Outlook, the Forward as iCalendar button forwards only one meeting. You'll need to save each meeting as an ics then attach them to the email message. You can save a couple of steps by selecting one meeting at a time and clicking Forward as iCalendar, repeat for each meeting. Drag the ics attachments to one message then close the extra messages.
Pick-A-Meeting Request Video Tutorial
This tutorial shows you how to send multiple meeting requests to someone so they can pick which meeting they will attend. The organizer's calendar will show who has accepted for each meeting. This video uses the long method, where the meetings are saved as icalendar files (*.ics).