Microsoft FindTime (Part 1)

by [Published on 5 April 2016 / Last Updated on 5 April 2016]

In this 2-part article series we will explore the new FindTime Outlook extension that helps users scheduling meetings.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Microsoft FindTime (Part 2).

Introduction

Trying to schedule meetings often means wasting time going back and forth trying to work around everyone's schedule. Deciding when to meet can be fairly simple if there are only a few people attending the meeting. However, when the number of attendees increases, it can be a completely different story with some users not available, others dropping out for several reasons, and so on.

The Scheduling Assistant in Outlook and Outlook on the Web (more commonly known as OWA) has, for many years now, been helping dramatically coordinating user schedules and searching for available resources like meeting rooms.

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Figure 1

However, this is still not an easy job sometimes. What about those occasions where most attendees have already accepted a meeting and one of the attendees suggests a new time? Then we have to try to accommodate by checking with everyone else if the new time is ok? I am sure you have all been in these situations, so you get the picture.

Instead of going through all this hassle, we can now use FindTime, a new scheduling tool that helps us quickly find a meeting time that works for all the attendees.

How FindTime Works

FindTime is an Outlook add-in designed to help users schedule meetings faster by creating a meeting poll. When we create a meeting poll:

  1. We select the users we want to attend the meeting;
  2. We select one or more suggested times;
  3. Each attendee then receives a request to vote for their preferred time. This is an intuitive process (as we will see) and everyone can see the current status of the voting;
  4. Finally, once there is a consensus, FindTime sends out a meeting invite automatically.

At the time of writing this article, FindTime requires an Office365 account in order to send an invite, but not all attendees need to have an account. Attendees can use other messaging platforms like Gmail for example.

Additionally, FindTime requires Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the Web.

To reiterate: on the recipients’ side, they only need an email address to receive the invite and internet access to vote at the FindTime website. They can vote from any device they wish from. Recipients do not need to have FindTime installed on their PC or mobile device, or an Office 365 account for that matter.

Installing FindTime

Let us start with Outlook, in this case Outlook 2016. The first step is to install FindTime and to do that, we need to be using an Office 365 account as already mentioned. We open Outlook and then click on the Office Store icon:

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Figure 2

We get redirected to the Office Store website where we search for FindTime:

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Figure 3

Once we find it, we select it and then click Add:

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Figure 4

If we are not already signed in to Office 365, we will be asked to sign-in. Once we do so, we click Install in order to install FindTime:

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Figure 5

Once we get the confirmation that the FindTime plugin has been added to Outlook we click OK:

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Figure 6

We are then taken to the Manage add-ins option pane in Outlook on the Web (OWA) where we can verify that FindTime has been successfully installed:

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Figure 7

Once installed, we need to restart Outlook and then we will see the FindTime icon located at the top right corner (in Outlook 2016). The following is the FindTime icon when an email is selected within any folder:

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Figure 8

And the following is the FindTime icon when a new email or meeting is created:

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Figure 9

To install FindTime for the first time in Outlook on the Web, the process is very similar. First, we login to https://portal.office.com/ using our Office 365 account. Once in the Mail app, we go to Options and then select Email (alternatively we can select the Manage add-ins option):

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Figure 10

Then we expand General and select Manage add-ins:

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Figure 11

From here, we click on the + icon to install a new add-in and select Add from the Office Store:

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Figure 12

The Office Store website opens. From here we search for FindTime:

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Figure 13

Next we select it and then click Add:

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Figure 14

Click Install in order to install FindTime:

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Figure 15

Once we get the confirmation that the FindTime plugin has been added to Outlook on the Web (the text is exactly the same whether we add it to Outlook or OWA) we click OK:

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Figure 16

We are then taken back to the Manage add-ins option pane where we can verify that FindTime has been successfully installed:

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Figure 17

To access FindTime in Outlook on the Web, we start composing a new email or meeting invite and click on Add-ins:

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Figure 18

From the list of available add-ins we select FindTime:

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Figure 19

Conclusion

In the first part of this 2-part article series, we introduced the new FindTime Outlook extension and explored how to install it in Outlook 2016 and Outlook on the web. In the next and final part, we will see how to use it to easily organize meetings.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Microsoft FindTime (Part 2).

See Also


The Author — Nuno Mota

Nuno Mota avatar

Nuno is an Exchange MVP working as a Senior Microsoft Messaging Consultant for a UK IT Services Provider in London. He specializes in Exchange, Lync, Active Directory and PowerShell.

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