Outlook Tip: Set Default Meeting Template

After attending some really great leadership training from Kimball Fisher (author of  Leading Self-Drected Work Teams and other great books) at work this week, I decided I must do better with setting the goals and agenda for meetings in hopes that attendees come more prepared and the meetings are more effective.  I have thought to do this in the past but never remember it when I’m in the throes of creating a meeting.

So this time I decided to change my default meeting template in Outlook so I won’t forget going forward.   Surely this is easy right?  Wrong!  Microsoft makes this far too difficult in my opinion.  Regardless I figured it out and thought I would share it here to benefit others.

Forms are the mechanism by which Outlook allows you to edit the default meeting template.  I had thought I would be able to create a meeting specific signature but this doesn’t appear to be an option.  I use Outlook 2016 but I believe these steps will work as far back as Outlook 2010.

Step 1 – Enabled developer mode

This is ridiculous but you have to use Developer mode to alter forms in Outlook.  Go to File | Options | Customize Ribbon, enable the Developer Tab and click OK.

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Step 2 – Create a custom form

Open  a new meeting request then go to Developer Tab and choose Design this Form:

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Next customize the form to your liking.  In this case, I simply set the default meeting body:

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Once complete, click the Publish button, name your Form and save it in the Outlook Folders location:

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Step 3 – Set the default meeting request form

Open the calendar view in Outlook, right click the calendar you wish to set the default form for and choose Properties:

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Lastly set the “When posting to this folder, use:” field to your new form and click OK:

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Going forward any new meeting request you create will use this new template:

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Please let me know if this post was helpful to you in either the comments below or on social media (Twitter, Reddit, etc).

Happy meeting facilitation!

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14 thoughts on “Outlook Tip: Set Default Meeting Template”

  1. Hi, this doesn’t work when I have someone else’s calendar open and I click “New meeting with all” – which is how I scchedule meetings. The template is only applied with I have only my calendar open and click “new meeting” or “new appointment.”

    Do you know how to fix that?

  2. Thanks, really helpful. I also added my signature, like I have for emails (rather than having to click insert signature each time.

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