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!

20 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.

  3. My IT support didn’t even know this! You are AMAZING! However, I need to know how I can go to the “template/form” I created and update or modify it, please.

  4. All very cool – thanks rschiefer and everyone!

    I was able to easily follow the steps and create a new meeting invite default form which I customized and including my signature etc.

    One challenge: On my meeting invites, I have two ‘from’ options and I want to switch it from the default e-mail to the my other option. I can do this manually every time but that is a hassle and I want to automate that. I tried to do this in my new custom meeting invite form but that e-mail’ from’ part is not saving along with the rest of the meeting invite – it just keeps going back to the default ‘from’ e-mail address.

    Can anyone assist??

    🙂

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