Disappearing appointments? Failure to Sync? Here we’ll address the most common questions and issues I encounter when I’m helping clients with calendars on their computers and mobile devices.
If you have a question I don’t cover here, please ask it in the Comments box at the bottom of the article.
Q: When I add an appointment to my calendar from my phone, the appointment seems to disappear. I search for it on the date I put it on, and it’s gone!
A: This often happens when you are running more than one account’s calendar from your phone, e.g., a Work calendar and a Personal calendar. The appointment was probably added to a calendar that is currently hidden from view. Check your Calendar app’s settings, looking for any calendars that are currently hidden from view (missing a checkbox or slider button). Turn all possible calendars on while you are looking for the missing appointment. Once you locate the missing appointment, determine if it was added to the correct calendar, and if it wasn’t, open the appointment up and change which calendar it belongs to. Moving forward, to prevent this from happening again, make sure when adding an appointment that you deliberately choose which calendar it pertains to. Many smartphones allow you to set a “default” calendar to which appointments are automatically added unless you specify otherwise.
Outlook – Failure to Sync
Q: I use Microsoft Outlook software on my PC. When someone sends me a meeting invitation, and I accept it, I never see that meeting on my phone’s calendar.
A: Unless you are using Microsoft Outlook software with an Office 365 or Exchange (common with larger companies) account, or GSuite (Google Business) Sync for Outlook, iCloud Sync, or something similar, your calendar and contacts in Outlook will not sync automatically to your phone. Most common email account types will work fine in Outlook for email, but do not automatically offer the ability for contacts/address book and calendar to sync.
Outlook is great as an aggregator of all kinds of different email accounts, but unless you are all-Microsoft, Outlook’s calendar and contacts will not sync with your phone without additional software and careful setup.
Q: How can our family or team share calendars with one another?
A: Calendar sharing works most easily when all members of a group use the same type of account to manage their calendars–i.e., everyone’s on Gmail, or iCloud. Of course, every group has a rebel, so there are ways to share calendars across different platforms.
Each family/team member first has to share his or her calendar with the other members, and in doing so decide whether each other member can view only, vs. view and change (a/k/a “manage”), appointments on their calendar.
Next, each family/team member needs to know how to show or hide the others’ calendars on their calendar apps. This technique will vary depending on the calendar app each is using. Most calendar apps use a color-coding legend to distinguish one calendar from another, and provide checkboxes next to each calendar to show or hide it from view. When multiple calendars are shown in one view, it’s helpful to think of them as layers of transparent plastic or onion skin paper in a stack; turn the checkbox off next to Mom’s calendar, and see her appointments disappear from view.
When calendar sharing is set up properly for families and teams, it can be a powerful tool for planning group travel, scheduling everyday responsibilities like child transportation, etc. The owner or planner of an event or appointment lines up everyone’s calendars, compares availability, and then invites the others to his or her event. Subsequent changes to an event’s time, date, details, etc. are likewise sent out to all invitees, keeping the whole gang in sync.
Do you have a different calendar question? Please scroll down to the Comments box and ask Your Computer Tutor!