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Viewing multiple calendars - Outlook 2010

See how to share your calendar with others if you are looking for instructions on sharing calendars. This web page assumes you have access to a number of calendars and looks at the various view options available to you.

Go to the calendar screen of Outlook, listed on the left will be all the calendars that you currently have shared access to, by default only your own calendar will be ticked and visible (see screenshot below).

List of Calendars 1

When you tick the tick-box alongside a listed calendar, that calendar becomes visible on the right hand side of the screen and a colour will be assigned.

Please note: Outlook will assign the next available colour as you tick them, so it is the order they are ticked as to what colour they will appear (see two screenshots below where the same available calendars have been chosen in a different order).

Listed calendars visible in OutlookListed calendars in Outlook

Calendar view options

(All the screenshots below are in thumbnail view, click on those you wish to see more clearly.)

If you wish to see how the different views of Day, Week, Month, etc compare, see the calendar views/options web page. However we will look at the Schedule view here as it is aimed to be used for viewing multiple calendars. In the following screenshots we have assumed the working week and added a number of calendars to show how they can be manipulated to help you see availability, then will show how the schedule view compares.

Calendar defaults:      
Calendar view 1 Normal calendar view - just your own calendar is visible. Calendars side by side Once you open a few more calendars, availability and appointments can be harder to read. (Screenshot shows 6 calendars side by side.)
Using Overlays:      
Calendar overlay 1 At the top of each calendar, there is an arrow. For a calendar you wish to overlay another, click on the arrow (see cursor position in screenshot). Calendar overlay 2 5 calendars showing in overlay mode. Each appointment is the colour of the calendar it resides on to help you see clearly who is free and busy.
Calendar overlay 3 To close a calendar you can un-tick it in the left navigation or you can choose the X on the calendar you wish to close (see cursor position in screenshot). Calendar overlay 4 You can overlay some calendars and keep others separate. In this screenshot the calendars of the people have been overlayed to see their combined availability and the room calendar is separate.
Calendar overlay 5 This one shows that once you have opened another calendar, it is possible to close your own. We recommend that you keep visible calendars to a minimum and when finished viewing a calendar, close it. By default only have ONE calendar visible (as explained to the left, it does not have to be your own). See reasons why at end of this web page.

This is how the same selection of calendars look in Schedule view:

Calendar Schedule viewThe days are shown in the opposite orientation. Each calendar is listed and cannot be overlaid with another. If you have more calendars than can be shown on your screen, then there will be a scroll bar on the right to scroll down to the others. The scroll bar at the bottom will help you move across the day(s).

The Schedule view is helpful if you are trying to see when everyone is available as it will show at the top of the screen blocks across the periods of the day of when someone listed is unavailable (see area above cursor in screenshot).

Tip: Clicking on the small calendar dates at the top left of screen will help you navigate quickly to the day/week you wish to look at.

Please Note: The more calendars you have open the slower your email mailbox will function. So tick to see calendars as and when you require them and un-tick them before moving back to your inbox view. Outlook will always want ONE calendar to stay visible (but it can be any calendar you have access to).

It should also be noted that calendars with a lot of entries will also be slower to respond to actions. So consider viewing heavily scheduled calendars on their own as much as possible and ensure to close them when you do not need to activately look at them.