Microsoft Office 365 users are constantly surprised at the many innovative tools included within this suite of programs. FindTime is its newest meeting scheduler. With its integration into Outlook, users can quickly schedule meetings.
The FindTime app solves a very real problem that frustrates workers everywhere. Its ease of use is the number one advantage that people love about it. Because it is integrated into Outlook, it can save time in more ways than one. What is really remarkable is that a colleague does not need to have the app installed in order to respond.
How It Works
To get started, simply download this free Outlook add-on. An icon is added at the end of the Outlook ribbon – just click on it to get started. FindTime utilizes Outlook’s free/busy availability information to make scheduling a meeting much easier so you’ll spend less time on this exasperating chore. First, you send out an email and propose a potential meeting time or times. Attendees can reply by accepting or declining the suggested meeting time.
They can also suggest alternative meeting times and everyone has an opportunity to vote on whether the proposed time works for them. When all recipients have responded, the most popular time and date are chosen. The online poll allows you see how everyone else voted. You can also view their favorite time.
Once everyone in the group has responded to the poll, the meeting is scheduled using the most popular date and time. Now that a consensus has been reached, invites are automatically sent out by the FindTime app using Outlook. Though the app exists within Outlook, anyone can use it. People using other email programs or even those working at different organizations can be included.
Perks of FindTime
One of the perks of this app is that it encrypts all your personal information. Even the subject and body of the email can be encrypted to protect everyone’s personal identity. This is really important for those working on secret projects that they do not want made public yet.
If it has a drawback, FindTime’s weakness is the fact that it is currently only available for Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, and Outlook Web Access. Though the program works best for Office 365 users, Microsoft will no doubt continue to tweak the app so that it works with a broader range of programs in the future.
FindTime was developed in the Microsoft Garage. Though the Garage program only began 2014, it has become wildly popular because it allows almost anyone at Microsoft to form a team and work on a project of their choosing. This type of collaborative creation has worked well in the past. Open Source projects like Linux and Azure have been so successful that they’ve influenced business and industry across the globe.
Despite the numerous time scheduling applications on the market today — NeedToMeet, Timebridge, Doodle, etc. — FindTime is by and large the best app for those already using Outlook. So much of the app’s functionality connects perfectly with Outlook’s resources. For instance, using email templates in Outlook can streamline sending out a quick email concerning the meeting’s topic. A calendar event is automatically created as well. Microsoft developers went to great lengths to add additional functionalities that users really wanted.
FindTime Has Found Its Niche in the Marketplace
With millions of people already using Outlook, FindTime is the perfect meeting scheduler. It handles all aspects of setting up a meeting, including sending out invitations, emailing reminders, emailing general information about the meeting’s content, and many others. Some users have claimed that they’ve saved two hours a day by using FindTime over standard meeting scheduling software.
A wide number of users have suggested fun, unique and helpful additions to the program and some of these may be added in the future. For instance, a future version of FindTime may be able to set appointments for you and manage the online registration process for workshops and classes.
FindTime’s Features in a Nutshell:
- Find employees you want to attend in the Outlook database
- Send emails to selected employees
- Propose your selected times to attendees and allow them to vote and come to a consensus
- Easy for recipients to decline, accept or suggest new times
- FindTime looks for the best times and days that work according to each individual’s Outlook Calendar
- Recipients can see whether the suggested date and time is open on their Outlook Calendar
- All attendees vote
- FindTime sends out the meeting invites on your behalf
- Recipients only need internet access and an email address in order to be included
- Send out test invites by adding a second personal email address to the To: or Cc: line
- Recipients don’t need to have FindTime installed in order to participate
- Using Azure, FindTime encrypts personal information, email topic, email body, and attendee names
- No more playing email tag for days to try and set up a meeting
How to Install FindTime
Begin by logging into Office 365. Once you’re logged in, navigate to the Store. The Store link should show up in the middle of your screen, but it can also be found by clicking on the app launcher in the upper left-hand corner. Once inside the Store, search for FindTime by typing that in the search box. Next, press install. The program will install rather quickly and you will get a confirmation that it has been installed. Click Okay and you’re all set.
If you’d like to check to make sure the program was installed, or you need to see whether you already have FindTime installed, it’s easy to do so. Go to Settings > Manage Add-Ons and you’ll get a list of all add-ons. Checkboxes beside each add-on indicate whether the add-on is turned off or on. It’s a good idea to check there first, as you may already have the add-on installed and it simply needs to be turned on. Simply check the box to start using FindTime.