Scheduling a meeting in Outlook using Scheduling Poll


This article is intended to guide you through the process of scheduling a meeting within Outlook using Scheduling Poll and what invitees see.


Please Note: The first image pertains to steps 4-11, the second image to steps 12-13, and the third image refers to steps 14-16.
  1. Create a new email or select an email to reply to
  2. List people required for the To: and optional participants in Cc
  3. Place your cursor in the message editor then select Scheduling Poll based upon your Outlook platform
    1. Outlook for the web: Select the Insert tab while in the message editor, then select Scheduling Poll
    2. Outlook for Windows: Select the Messages tab, then select Scheduling Poll
    3. Outlook for Mac: Select the three-dots menu, then Scheduling Poll
  4. Select the meeting settings:
    Scheduling Poll panel, details listed below in order they appear.
    1. Time zone: Select the time zone drop-down menu to change the time zone for the meeting.
      1. The time zone used is from your settings, but can be overridden
      2. Meetings account for any Daylight Savings Time switches
    2. Duration: Select a duration from the list.
    3. Meeting Hours: Check to limit suggested meeting times to work days and hours only.
  5. The available timeslots for all parties will start to appear below the meeting settings.
    1. Scheduling Poll looks through the attendees' schedules (if available) and suggests suitable meeting times.
    2. Scheduling Poll will auto-populate the free/busy availability for those within your organization. Users outside the university will show as unknown availability.
  6. Meeting options can be sorted by availability or by time.
    1. Availability: Lists the best options (times when all required meeting participants are free) first. Factors used to determine the best options include how many attendees are free, how many required vs. optional attendees are free, whether conflicted attendees have tentative or busy commitments on their calendar.
    2. Time: Lists the options chronologically.
    3. Note: You can scroll through the days and months using the arrows. Available days are underlined in green. Darker green indicates days with the most options and lighter green and red indicates the most conflicts. Weekend days are marked available if Work Hours is not selected.
  7. The people icons show whether meeting participants are required, and their availability. Note: Select the double chevron icon to show the details of each proposed time with invitees
    1. Underlined person icon: Required
    2. Green person icon with a checkmark: Available
    3. Purple person icon with a question mark: May be busy; tentatively not available
    4. Red person icon with an X: Busy
    5. Gray person icon with a question mark : Unknown
  8. You can use the icons to access more information.
    1. Select Invitees status icon to open the attendee's status tray.
    2. Hover over each person icon or to view their availability information.
  9. Select the My Day tab to view your calendar.
  10. Select the meeting options you wish to send to attendees. 
    1. Note: You can select times across multiple days
      1. Select a date and time.
      2. Choose the > icon above the date field to select the desired next date.
      3. Select the time slot(s) on the new day.
      4. Repeat as necessary.
  11. Select Next

    Selected times, location, and poll settings (described in Steps 12 and 13)
  12. Enter the meeting location
    1. Online meetings in Teams are enabled by default. Select the Online Meeting check box to disable it
  13. Select Poll settings and toggle the ON/OFF options.
    1. Schedule when attendees reach consensus: A calendar event is automatically scheduled if all required attendees have voted in favor of a specific time option. If multiple options are available, the earliest option will be scheduled.
    2. Hold selected times on my calendar: A tentative event is placed on your calendar for each time option you propose. All holds are removed when the meeting is scheduled or the poll is canceled.
    3. Notify me about poll updates: You’ll receive an email each time an attendee votes. The message includes the current poll status and an option to schedule.
    4. Require attendees to verify their identity: To help prevent anonymous voting, attendees will be required to authenticate before voting.
    5. Lock poll for attendees: Attendees will not be able to suggest new times or edit other attendees.
    6. Select Create poll to insert the poll into the email message.
  14. Scheduling Poll inserts the suggested meeting times into your email. Select Edit Options to change the meeting settings, if necessary. If you make changes and reinsert the meeting times, you need to manually delete the original invite.
    Scheduling poll in Outlook email message
  15. Select Send to send the meeting invites and start the voting process.
  16. You will receive a direct link to the voting page for your meeting.

How do attendees vote?

  • Invitees will receive the poll and they will be greeted with a matrix of proposed times, their availability, their preferences, and what the votes from other invitees.
  • The different suggested times will align with your availability from your Outlook calendar. You can choose which times work or you prefer from the list.
  • You can also see how others have voted and propose another choice as well. If you are the organizer of the poll, you can select Schedule to choose the meeting time.
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Article ID: 138413
Mon 10/4/21 5:48 PM
Tue 2/13/24 11:53 AM

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