Microsoft Bookings is a calendar and appointment application that seamlessly integrates with the Outlook calendar. It makes it easy for people to make an appointment with you via a simple web interface and add those appointments to your Outlook calendar. It is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
To get started login to your Office 365 portal at http://portal.office.com. Once logged in you can just search for Bookings or click the icon on the top left and then click all apps.
The first step in getting started is to enter a business name, which should include your name. Do not make it something generic such as “appointments” or it may be difficult for others (and you) to find later. Once Bookings is open, you will see the dashboard screen as shown below. When setting up Bookings for the first time, it is recommended to work from the bottom of the left navigation listing to the top.
The next step is to select the Business Information button on the left side of the screen to enter more information about you, including your email address. Make sure to always click “Save” at the top when you are done. You have the option to set your availability here under “Business hours,” or if you will only make your calendar available for certain days (for advising appointments for example), you can set custom dates and times later on that will override the information on this screen.
Setting up Services (types of appointments)
The next step is to set up one or more services using the Services link in the left hand navigation menu. Think of this as an appointment slot. For example you may want to have a 1 hour slot for longer meetings and a 20 minute appointment slot for an advising appointment. When someone makes an appointment with you they can choose which service they are requesting. Since Bookings lists a service by default, you can edit that one by clicking on it, or delete it and add a new one using the “Add a service” button on the top of the page. For example, the screenshot below shows two types of services configured: a 30 minute appointment and a 1 hour appointment.
When adding a service there are a number of details you will want to enter including the name, a description, time duration and a default location (such as an office number or a Zoom personal meeting room link). You can add custom fields if you would like to request more information from the person booking the appointment. People will have to enter their name and email at a minimum but you may also want to ask about the purpose of the meeting.
Next you can customize reminders and confirmations. You can determine when emails will be sent to remind people of the appointment and the contents of the email. You may want to enter the location here but that isn’t necessary if you entered the location previously. Also, make sure that your name is selected and has a check next to it to show that you are available for each service.
If you want this service (appointment) to be available whenever you are free within the hours shown in the Business Information section you don’t have to change anything else here and can jump ahead to the Booking Page section to publish your schedule.
Limiting Dates of Availability
If you just want appointments to be available for a certain time period, during advising week for example, you will have to enter those details.
On the Service details page, scroll down to the Online Scheduling options and uncheck “Use the default scheduling policy”. You can set the time increments shown on the calendar, the lead time for appointments (how far in advance someone must book an appointment) and the maximum lead time (how far in the future someone can book an appointment).
To set the specific dates and times you want to be available, scroll down to the Availability section and change general availability from Bookable when staff are free to Not Bookable. (Note: do not do this if you want to be bookable whenever your calendar is open, only if you want to set certain dates and times).
Next click the link “Set different availability for a date range.” Choose the date or date range you want to set up and then choose “Custom hours (recurring weekly).” Even if you are only setting up one day or one week, choose this option. The dates and times that are initially displayed are taken from whatever was set up in the Business information page at the beginning. You can change this and set time ranges for each day to meet your needs. In the example below the date range is set from 11/16-11/18 which is Monday – Wednesday. Since the range is only for those three days, the times listed for Thursday-Sunday are ignored.
In the example below there are two time slots for Monday and two for Tuesday. You can add and remove days and time slots to set the availability however you want.
You can click the link “Set different availability for a date range” to add another date block as necessary. Be sure to click “Save” when done.
Booking Page (publishing the scheduler)
The final step is to make your Bookings calendar available via the web. Click the button for the Booking Page in the navigation menu on the left. On this page you will click “Save and Publish” when you are ready. Then you will be given the link you can share with people, or post in Moodle, so students and co-workers can schedule an appointment with you. Bookings integrates with your Outlook calendar, so if an unexpected meeting crops up, that time will not show as ‘available’ in the calendar.
Other options on this page include limiting appointments to people with a Trinity account, and to set a default scheduling policy. On this page you can also set your general availability similar to how it was set up in Services. That section showed how to set up specific availability connected to a service, but you can follow the same procedure on the Booking Page to set your availability in general.
If you have any questions about Bookings, or would like help in getting started, please contact your instructional technologist.