Without any big announcements, Microsoft has started rolling out the new Calendar sharing experience we first saw earlier this year at Ignite. The improvements are long overdue for sure, as the process of sharing your Calendar or getting access to other people’s availability data has been confusing and unreliable for many users. On top of this, we also face issues with the limited availability of sharing functionality on mobile devices.
There are few major sets of improvements coming. First, we will get a simpler, streamlined UI experience for both sharing and accepting invitations. The new experience is already available in OWA for First Release tenants, so you might want to give it a go. Outlook for desktop and mobiles will follow suit in the coming weeks. Next, reliability and speed improvements are coming thanks to the use of modern protocols and APIs. Instead of the old “linked” Calendar model, now a local copy of the shared Calendar will be created and the service will take care of updating it with both yours and the owner’s changes. Yes, this means mobile clients will also display shared Calendars! Lastly, a set of new features is coming, such as reminders for events in shared calendars or notifications for changed items! You will also be able to configure or check for Delegate permissions, that pesky “delegate can see my Private items” setting and the equally troublesome meeting delivery options:
At this time, only a subset of the above is rolled out to the service, with support for delegate permissions coming soon. Another important point is that in order to benefit from the improvements, you will need to share from and accept from OWA. Which I guess is the reason why Microsoft has chosen to keep this quiet. Rest assured though, the new experience is coming to all Outlook modalities soon! For timeframes and additional details on the new experience (including some other great features not directly related to Calendar sharing), make sure to watch the video recording from Ignite: