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

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Microsoft Bookings is an online scheduling tool for use with Exchange Online. You can use Bookings to set up calendars and manage availability so that clients can book appointments using an online form. Bookings allows clients without access to Exchange Online to schedule meetings with Exchange Online users.

At Indiana University, use of Bookings requires a Microsoft 365 A5 license; to check whether you're eligible, refer to the "Microsoft 365 (A5 license)" entry in the Account eligibility table in IU account types and eligibility.

With Bookings, you can create and configure calendars for yourself or for a group of IU Exchange Online users. Calendars in Bookings can operate independently or in conjunction with your Outlook calendar. You can specify times you are available for meetings and sync booking information with your Outlook calendar. Clients wanting to schedule meetings will see only times that are not already booked.

Although other appointment scheduling solutions are available at IU (such as the Student Appointment Scheduler and the Scheduler tool in Canvas), Bookings may be especially useful if you want to provide clients outside the university a self-service option for booking appointments that fit into your schedule, without the need for email correspondence or phone calls.

For example, faculty can use Bookings to let students sign up for their office hours, and departments can use Bookings to let IU and non-IU clients schedule meetings with their staff. When a client books an appointment with you in Bookings, the appointment is synced to your Outlook calendar and a confirmation is sent to the client.

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 clients 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 IU username of any individual or group with an existing IU Exchange Online account.
    • Use campus and unit prefixes (for example, BL-COAS-, IN-ENG-, or SE-SOCS) to differentiate business names when they 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 any IU Exchange Online user offering appointments through a booking calendar. By default, users who create booking calendars are added as administrators; others can be added as administrators, as well.

    For example:

    • Staff in a departmental booking calendar could 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 and teaching assistants.
  • 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 select anything on the sign-in pages other than Next and Sign in.) When prompted, confirm your identity with Two-Step Login (Duo) (if you see a "Do you trust" prompt, select Continue), and then choose whether to stay signed into your Microsoft 365 account.

  2. In the top left corner, click App launcherMenu 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.

    At Indiana University, use of Bookings requires a Microsoft 365 A5 license; to check whether you're eligible, refer to the "Microsoft 365 (A5 license)" entry in the Account eligibility table in IU account types and eligibility.
  3. On the Microsoft Bookings page, select Add a booking calendar, and then enter information about the business (the group with whom clients 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 clients 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 clients (called customers in Bookings) who book meetings to be sent calendar invitations in addition to email confirmations.
    • Choose whether clients can specify the staff they want to meet with. This is relevant only when services are assigned to multiple staff. If a client 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).
    • Clients can schedule appointments only for times when 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 clients 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 Bookings is added to your Outlook calendar, its title will include the service name and the clients 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:

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Last modified on 2023-08-16 16:59:04.