Working with Outlook or the Apple calendar is not a challenge. It becomes more difficult if you schedule meetings with participants from different continents or time zones and also want to keep an eye on country-specific vacation times and public holidays. However, Microsoft Outlook (or Microsoft 365, Office 365 and Exchange) as well as Apple Calendar can help you to work across time zones – provided the right settings are made. We show you how it works.
Microsoft’s Outlook app offers Windows users support in many ways to work across time zones as comfortably as possible. By default, Outlook can be set to display up to three time zones on the calendar, for example. In this way you can always keep an eye on the most important “clocks”. To set up this view, open the settings by clicking on the tab “File”, then choose “Options”. Now select the item in the menu on the left “Calendar”, then you will see the dot on the right “Time zones”. Here you can configure your current time zone and up to two additional time zones accordingly and also label it.
Have you made the settings accordingly and with “OK” confirmed, you will see the newly added time zones on the left side of your calendar. Outlook also gives you the option of setting a time zone when you set up a meeting. This is particularly useful when, for example, someone is scheduling a meeting in a different time zone. Outlook will then automatically adjust the start time to your time zone. Outlook also automatically adjusts itself if there are deviations due to the changeover to summer or winter time.
By default, Outlook shows you the start and end time in your own time zone when you set up a meeting. If you check the box “Time zones” you can change this accordingly (if you make this selection, it will be retained for future meetings). Unfortunately there is no way to search the list – so only scrolling helps here. Because Outlook does not start a meeting until you click “Save and close” scheduled, it could happen that you schedule a meeting and only then realize that the selected time is not suitable for all participants. To work around this problem, save the meeting first, then open it again and then adjust the time according to your preferences.
Another point that regularly plays a role in meetings is country-specific holidays and vacation times. Outlook for Windows offers the option of displaying them so that you are always up to date. To do this, simply add the relevant data in your Outlook (via “File” -> “Options” -> “Calendar” -> “Calendar Options” -> “Enter Holidays in Calendar”).
In the case of Outlook for Mac, Microsoft offers significantly fewer options for cross-time collaboration. Only up to three time zones can also be viewed in Outlook for Mac. The procedure is analogous to the Windows version: Open the calendar settings via the Outlook settings “Time zones” the corresponding setting options. In the case of Outlook for Mac, holidays or vacation times can only be added to the calendar by the Microsoft 365 or Office 365 administrator.
Android, iOS and web clients
The Outlook apps for Android and iOS as well as the web clients do not offer the possibility to configure or add time zones. You only have to use additional tools (see last paragraph of this article) to work across time zones. Users of the Outlook app are also left out when it comes to public holidays and vacation times – only Exchange or Microsoft 365 administrators can add additional calendars to the app, which can then be accessed via the menu item “Settings” are accessible.
Apple’s calendar app lets you choose the time zone when creating a new meeting. If you set up a meeting in a different time zone than your own, the appointment is automatically adjusted to this. Any ailments that can arise from the changeover to summer or winter time can also be avoided in Apple Calendar. To do this, proceed as follows: Open the time zone settings of Apple Calendar (“Calendar” -> “Settings” -> “Advanced”). Here you can activate support for different time zones.
By default, Apple Calendar also shows the scheduled meetings in your time zone. If you would like to change this, simply click on the menu next to “Time zones”to quickly and easily access the previously selected time zones. Under “Other” you can directly enter the city in question to find time zones faster. Calendar’s small pop-up window when adding an appointment allows you to keep an eye on the time in your own when creating an appointment in another time zone – before you set the appointment.
Apple Calendar also enables you to integrate third-party iCloud calendars. This is recommended when it comes to keeping an eye on public holidays and vacation times. To add a new calendar, select “File” -> “Add new calendar”. In the following input field, just enter the URL of the calendar in question. A good source for corresponding calendars is, for example, calendarlabs.com – otherwise a search engine query on “Apple ical holiday calendar” should also help you.
In contrast to the macOS version of Apple Calendar, the time zone setting does not have to be activated under iOS, but is already available by default. You can therefore directly adjust the time zone when setting up meetings and appointments. The corresponding menu item appears after you have selected a start time.
You can also add third-party calendars on iOS – the procedure is the same as on macOS.
If you just want to check what time it is in another city – for example, because you would like to call a colleague in the United States – there are various tools available that can be done much faster and easier than yours Outlook or Apple calendar.
Windows: In the case of Windows, the built-in center clock is recommended. Here you can add and compare other time zones with a click on “+”.
macOS: Clocker is a slim and free app that can give you a direct overview of various time zones.
Android: The preinstalled watch app also works well on Android. Here you can add various cities or time zones to the standard view according to your preferences and you can also place them on the home screen of your device using a widget.
iOS: In the case of iOS, you can also use the preinstalled watch app to display various time zones or to compare them with one another.
Web: The easiest way to quickly find out what time it is in another time zone is to use a search engine query “What time is it in X?”. (fm)
This article is based on an article from our US sister publication Computerworld.com.