Use Microsoft Bookings to share your calendar and create an appointment sign-up page

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Microsoft Bookings is an online scheduling tool that is part of Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). It allows IU Exchange Online users to set up calendars and manage availability so that others can easily book appointments through an online form. It also allows people without access to Exchange Online, such as students and individuals external to the university, to schedule meetings with those who do use Exchange Online, such as faculty and staff.

IU Exchange Online users can use Bookings to create and configure calendars for themselves or for a group of users. Bookings calendars can operate independently or in conjunction with a user's Outlook calendar. Users can specify the times that they are available for meetings, and sync booking information with their Outlook calendars. Those wanting to schedule meetings will see only times that are not already scheduled.

Although other appointment scheduling solutions are available at IU (such as the Student Appointment Scheduler and the Scheduler tool in Canvas), Microsoft Bookings may be especially useful to faculty and staff members who want to provide students and/or others outside the university an easy, self-service option for booking appointments that fit into their schedules, without the need for email correspondence or phone calls.

For example, faculty could use Bookings to let students sign up for their office hours, or departments could use Bookings to let internal and external community members schedule meetings with their staff. When an appointment is made in Microsoft Bookings, it is synced to the faculty/staff user's Outlook calendar and a confirmation is sent to the person who scheduled the meeting.

Terminology and best practices

Microsoft Bookings was developed primarily for businesses; consequently, some of the terms used Bookings may seem odd in an academic setting:

  • Business: This refers to the unit with which individuals will be scheduling an appointment. In an academic context, a business could be a section of a class, a research group, an academic department, or an individual faculty or staff member.

    When you create a calendar in Bookings, you must provide a unique business name.

    • Make sure the business name is unique, because the calendar will appear in the IU Global Address List (GAL).
    • Avoid using the name or username of any individual or group with an existing Exchange Online account.
    • Use campus and unit prefixes (for example, BL-COAS-, IN-ENG-, or SE-SOCS) to differentiate a business name when it may exist at multiple campuses or within multiple units.

    Bookings creates an email address for the calendar based on its business name. For example, for a business named "SE English Faculty Office Hours", Bookings would create the email address

  • Staff: This refers to anyone offering appointments through a booking calendar. Staff in a booking calendar can be any IU user with an Exchange Online account, including faculty, staff, most graduate and professional students, and hourly employees who are provisioned in Exchange at IU. By default, individuals who create booking calendars are added as administrators; others can be added as administrators, as well.

    For example:

    • Staff in a departmental booking calendar may include faculty members within the department.
    • Staff in a booking calendar for a course's office hours or tutoring sessions may include the course's professor (faculty) and teaching assistants (graduate students with Exchange Online accounts).
  • Services: This refers to the type of appointment offered by the booking calendar. Each booking calendar may offer a different type of service (or meeting). Each service may have a different name, duration, and hours of availability.

    For example, you can set up an office hours service that lasts 30 minutes and is available only on Wednesdays and Fridays before noon, or a research consulting hours service that is available only on Tuesday afternoons. Different staff can be assigned to different services.

  • Booking page: This is the page used by anyone wanting to book an appointment with the booking calendar's staff for services offered by the booking calendar.

Get started

To get started with Microsoft Bookings at IU:

  1. Go to Microsoft 365 at IU . If you see a "Sign in" prompt, enter your IU username followed by (do this no matter what your email address is), and then, at the password prompt, enter your IU passphrase. (Do not click anything on the sign-in pages other than Next and Sign in.) When prompted, confirm your identity with Duo Two-Step Login, and then choose whether to stay signed into your Microsoft 365 account. .
  2. In the top left corner, click App launcher (Menu icon), and then select Bookings.

    If Microsoft Bookings isn't displayed, click All apps, and then select Microsoft Bookings. Alternatively, use the search bar at the top to search for Bookings.

  3. On the Microsoft Bookings page, select Add a booking calendar, and then enter information about the business (the group with whom individuals are booking appointments), such as its name, using guidance listed in the Business description in the Terminology and best practices section above, and business hours.
  4. If applicable, add additional staff to your booking calendar. You can add any other IU Exchange Online users. You can specify whether you want staff Exchange calendars to impact their availability, or specify the hours you want staff available for appointments.
  5. Add services to your booking calendar, such as Office Hours, Research Consulting Hours, Tutoring, and others. For each service you add, consider the following settings:
    • Services can be set for different durations (for example, 30 minutes or 60 minutes).
    • By default, services draw from the same calendar of business hours specified in the settings for "Business Information", but you can customize availability for individual services.
    • Individual staff in the booking calendar can be assigned to particular services. For example, you may want to assign a tutoring service to a course's teaching assistants but not to the course instructor, and assign the course's office hours service only to the course instructor.
    • You can provide a default location for a service or have Bookings automatically create an online meeting in Microsoft Teams.

    Other customizable options include the ability to set up automatic reminders for those who book services and the ability to add custom fields that individuals must fill out when scheduling an appointment.

  6. Customize and publish your booking page. Share the booking page link with anyone who wants to book an appointment, or add it to your email signature or share it on your website.

    Before publishing your booking page or sharing the link, consider the following customization options:

    • If you do not want your booking page to appear in search results, make sure the Disable direct search engine indexing of booking page option is selected. Choosing this makes your booking page available only via the direct link provided.
    • Customize the scheduling policy to control how time increments are displayed (to allow meetings to start on the hour or half-hour, etc.) and set the minimum/maximum lead time needed before an appointment can be scheduled.
    • Specify whether you want individuals scheduling meetings (called customers in Bookings) to be sent calendar invitations in addition to email confirmations.
    • Choose whether customers can specify the staff they want to meet with. This is relevant only when services are assigned to multiple staff. If someone books an appointment for a service and doesn't specify a staff member, Bookings randomly assigns a staff member (when multiple staff members are available).
    • Customers can schedule appointments only for times that staff are available and the business is open, according to the business information provided at setup; however, you can configure your booking page to limit availability further. For example, you can configure the booking page so that no appointments can be scheduled during a university break.
  7. Although individuals with the booking page link can see a staff member's available meeting times, they cannot see any other elements of the staff member's Exchange calendar.

    When an appointment made via Microsoft Bookings is added to your Outlook calendar, its title will include the service name and the customer's name; for example, "Office Hours (Jawz Jaguar)". Although Outlook calendars at IU are set by default so that other Exchange Online users cannot review items, you should review your Outlook calendar's sharing settings before using Bookings to ensure that you are not sharing meeting information more widely than intended. For information about sharing folders in Outlook, see Share your Windows Outlook calendar or folders.

Learn more

For more about Bookings, see these Microsoft documents:

This is document bhcd in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2021-08-16 13:46:29.