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Understanding Meeting Updates

Understanding Meeting Updates

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Since working with the Outlook calendar, and more specifically with meetings, it is very likely that the majority of us have encountered situations in which updates to meetings are not triggering the same type of message.

And what I mean by this is that depending on the type of changes that we make to a meeting, this will generate either an informational or a full update, and the information will be changed or not, accordingly, on the attendee’s calendar.

As I have discovered a good bit of documentation on this topic, I think the below article can be useful in either troubleshooting calendar issues or in understanding the expected behavior in such scenarios.

 

In earlier versions of Outlook, you could easily run into one or more of the following problems when sending a meeting update:

  • Invitees have to reaccept meetings unnecessarily.
  • Attendees do not see anything different with the meeting and they delete the request thinking they have already dealt with it.
  • The invitee or recipient list does not handle duplicate entries and distribution lists elegantly. Consequently, invitees may receive cancellations and updates at the same time.
  • Attendees do not always have an up-to-date invitee list because updates are not sent correctly.

Starting with Outlook 2007, meeting updates are classified as one of two types: a full update or an informational update.

The difference between these two is worth discussing, as Outlook uses each type in a very specific scenario. Basically, this is the topic for this blog, with a focus on describing the scenarios that trigger either a full or informational update. Additionally, you will learn how to make Outlook send a specific type of update, depending on the meetings properties that you want to change.

 

What is a full update?

A full update is practically a new meeting invitation to the same event, replacing the old properties with the new ones. Full updates are sent when one or more of the following properties are changed:

  • Start Date/Time
  • End Date/Time
  • Recurrence

 

A Full update has the following characteristics:

  • An organizer must send out the update. They cannot change and then save certain properties on the meeting without sending an update.
  • The attendee must reaccept the updated meeting.
  • If the receiving attendee does not have the meeting on their Calendar, the meeting is created on the Calendar (as if it is a new meeting request).
  • Changes to the meeting are highlighted in color in the attendee’s meeting invitation and the public properties on the meeting are overwritten on the attendee’s calendar item.

In a few words, in Outlook 2007 and 2010 you can no longer make critical changes on a meeting without sending an update. For example if you attempt to delete a meeting, the Send Cancellation form automatically appears. You cannot save this change without clicking the Send Cancellation button to send the cancelation email.

 

When you receive a full update from the organizer, you are requested to respond to the meeting.


What is an Informational update?

An Informational update is an update that does not require any action from the attendee. As the name states, it was designed to simply inform the attendee of specific changes that have occurred on the meeting. Informational updates have the following characteristics.

  • The update does not have to be reaccepted by attendees.
  • The Free/Busy status of the meeting is unchanged.
  • Changes to the meeting are highlighted in color in the attendee’s meeting invitation and the Public properties in the meeting are overwritten on the attendee’s calendar item.
  • If the meeting is not on the Calendar of the receiving attendee, the meeting update behaves as a Full meeting update.

 If you receive an informational update and the invite is processed, the required action is clearly spelled out in the message. If you are viewing the message in the Reading Pane, the informational message is clearly highlighted in the invite. The informational message appears in the light blue box in the following image:

 

If you click the No Response Required button in the Reading Pane, you are notified that your calendar has been updated and the meeting update is automatically deleted.

If you open the invite for an informational update, the Information Bar clearly states that your calendar has been updated and that there is no need to respond to the update.

Please note that the Accept, Tentative, and Decline buttons are available. However, you are not required to respond to the update.


 

 

In brief, here is a table describing the properties that can change on a meeting and what kind of update do they trigger:

Property

Update Type Issued

Start Date/Time

Full

End Date/Time

Full

Recurrence

Full

Free/Busy

Informational

Location

Informational

Subject

Informational

Required attendee

Informational

Optional attendee

Informational

Body, Attachment

Informational

Custom properties, Bill information, Companies, Mileage

Informational

Response Requested

Informational

Allow New Time Proposal

Informational

Online Meeting

Informational

Removed attendee

Informational

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are also two types of properties on the meetings: public and private.

Public and private properties of a meeting are properties that exist when a meeting is created. For the most part, as an attendee you can change these properties for any meeting that you have accepted or tentatively accepted. The difference is that any of your previous edits to Public properties are overwritten if the meeting organizer changes any of them and sends you an update to the meeting (regardless of whether it is an informational or full update).

Public Properties   

Time (Start/End/All Day Event)

Location

Subject

Attendees

Body

Attachment

Recurrence Pattern

Importance (High/Normal/Low)

Custom Properties, Billing Information, Companies, Mileage

Response Requested (Read-only)

Allow New Time Proposal (Read-only)

Meetings Workspace (Read-only)

IsOnlineMeeting (Read-only)

NetShowURL (Read-only)

 

Private properties are those that you can edit on your local copy of the meeting and that will not be changed when the meeting organizer sends you a meeting update.

Private Properties   

Free/Busy Status

(see exception in table below)

Sensitivity (Private)

Reminder

 

There is one exception to the above rule, which is the following. Free/Busy status is the only private property that can change but only with a full update:

 

Info

Full

Free/Busy

no

yes

 

 

 

 

So whether the attendee makes a change on any of these private properties, they will behave as described above.

A full update will change the free/busy time, whether or not the attendee previously changed it.

The sensitivity and the reminder time are never changed, except if the attendee has not yet accepted the initial meeting request before receiving the update to it.

 

To exemplify this let's take a scenario with userA as organizer and userB, userC as attendees.

Note: I also used the public property Importance in this scenario.

UserA sends a meeting request to userB and userC with Free/Busy as tentative, private, high importance and 15 minutes reminder.

Both attendees accept the meeting.

UserB leaves the meeting as it is, however userC changes the sensitivity to public, the importance to normal, the free/busy to busy and the reminder to 10 minutes, after which he saves and closes the meeting.

UserA, as organizer, changes the end time, to another half an hour, free/busy to free, reminder to 30 minutes, importance to low and the sensitivity remains to private.

Since the end time was changed, this will trigger a full update. However on the attendees, after reaccepting the meeting we will see the following:

UserB will have the time updated, importance to low, free/busy to free, reminder to 15 minutes and sensitivity to private.

UserC will have the time updated, importance to low, free/busy to free, reminder to 10 minutes and sensitivity to public.

 

To go a bit further with this topic, there are also some ways of checking if the update received for a meeting was informational or full.

The MAPI property Named Prop Name=0x0026 stamped on the meeting update indicates the type of meeting request or update being sent. You can use MFCMAPI to examine the property.

Note: You should download the latest version but please use the same bit-version you have in Outlook (32 or 64 bit)

  • Open MFCMAPI
  • Go to Session -> Logon and Display Store table
  • Double-click on the user’s mailbox
  • Expand the Root and then
    • if the profile is configured in Online mode expand Top of Information Store
    • if the profile is configured in Cached mode expand IPM_Subtree
  • Right-click on Inbox and select Open Contents Table
  • From the window that pops-up locate the item in the top pane. The MAPI Properties of the item are at the bottom pane
  • Look at the bottom pane to locate the Named Prop Name 0x0026 property.

 The values for this property are listed in the following table:

Meeting Item Type

Bit

Meeting Request

0x00000001

Full Update

0x00010000

Informational Update

0x00020000

 

Hope this was helpful in understanding and troubleshooting issues of this kind.

Feel free to comment or add any remarks to the topic and keep on outlooking!

Comments
  • I am having this same issue I cant get a full update to trigger by changing the free/busy information I alone.

    if I change the free busy information the update goes out as informational and does not get reflected on the partners calendar.

    I can change the data time (by one minute) change the free busy information.   the partner mailbox than has to re except the meeting and also the free busy information gets updated.

  • As explained in the blog, only by changing Free/Busy info you cannot trigger a full update, only an informational one, thus leaving the FB info unchanged for the attendees.

    In order to force the attendees to receive the FB changes you need to trigger a full update (by changing either one of the start date/time, end date/time or recurrence), however this will imply indeed the re-acceptance of the meeting.

    There is no other way to update the FB info other than by triggering a full update.

  • One of my users started having this issue recently:

    Outlook is sending meeting requests for recurring meetings that have already been accepted.

    Please help!

  • Hello Dan,

    These kind of issues are triggered if something has touched that meeting.

    like an handheld device or an add-in.

    If a meeting is corrupted the only workaround is to delete that meeting (series) request and to recreate-it.

    If you want to find out why this happened and to prevent these from happening the feature you can open a case with Microsoft .

    Also you can use this tool to find out more details: CalCheck - www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx

    "The Calendar Checking Tool for Outlook (CalCheck) is a program that checks the Microsoft Outlook Calendar and items for problems or for potential problems"

    Kind Regards,

    Alex

  • I am trying to update a recurring meeting-- the one scheduled for next month (Feb) we do not want to change, only starting in March forward. When I go to the March occurance and open series, it updates the entire session including the one in Feb- Is there a way I can get to to only update the series from "this point forward?"

  • Hi Rachel,

    If you want to modify a recurring meeting you can chose from modifying individual occurrences or the entire series. However you cannot modify the series only starting form a certain point.

    In your case I would suggest ending the recurrence for the current meeting in February and creating a new one with the desired pattern starting from March.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Florina

  • I'm having the opposite issue. Only the location and subject in a meeting is being changed and yet Outlook is sending out full invitations instead of informational ones.

    I tried unhighlighting the "Request Responses" button under Response Options, but that is still requiring people to reaccept the meeting.

    Any thoughts as to what the error is?

  • Hi NotBob,

    If you are on Outlook 2003 you will always have to reaccept the meeting, no matter what you change.

    The "Request Response" button only reflects in giving the users the option to send a response along with their acceptance/denial.

    On Outlook 2010/2007 normally neither the location, nor the subject or not even the combination of both location and subject should trigger a full update. I have retested this just now to confirm.

    Otherwise, I would suggest trying on multiple machines and if you have a consistent repro, to raise a support case.

    Regards,

    Florina

  • Using Outlook 2010 when a user sends a recurring meeting it goes to the room and users ok. However, if the room declines and you add a new one and send update, it still goes to all uses and they have to accept again. Do you know why this happens.

    Thanks

    Vera

  • I have a user (Outlook 2007) who has changed the Resource (meeting room) to another room. The location field is not being updated so attendees are going to the wrong location. What needs to be done to fix this?

  • Hi,

    @Vera: You need to make sure there isn't any other change that could trigger a full update like the date or the time, or if there any sync devices (mobiles) that could have "touched" the meeting. If you can repro at will and you get the same behavior in safe mode, maybe you should consider a support case so that someone can look into the specific details and provide a more relevant explanation.

    @VickiG: The location field is updated if you add the Room in the Resources field. If the organizer added the new room only in the To field, this will not reflect in the Location. To fix this you can suggest the organizer to use the Rooms button and make sure the location is replaced with the correct information before sending the update.

    Hope this helps.

    Florina

  • I want to send a reminder only at 9am to everyone attending a meeting at 3pm on that day.  I do not want to send an email just a reminder only.

    Is this possible?  I am using Outlook 2010.  

  • Hi all.

    Maybe you already met the issue: Exchange 2007 + Outlook 2010 - one user has a problem with some recurring meetings (only some and only this user). When an update to some meeting comes (with e.g. meeting minutes in the meeting body), everything seems OK. But when the user update the meeting, the body is not complete as was before updating. Part of the body is cut off. It must be something MAILBOX related because it happens on more machines.

    Anyone met this?

  • Hi

    I wonder if anyone can help.  We are running Outlook 2010 Clients with Exchange 2007 which appears to have no problems/  However we have created a shared calendar\email account. The scenario is:

    Create a meeting request in the shared calendar and invite bob 1,bob 2 and bob 3.

    Send meeting request.

    Bob 2 declines

    Physically remove bob 2 and select "send to added or deleleted etc."

    Result is that bob1 and bob 3 get the meeting request again.

    Add bob 2 to an alternate meeting with bob 4,bob 5 and bob 6 that they already have accepted

    Send update and select "send to added or deleted etc."

    Result is that bob 2, bob4, bob 5 & bob 6 all get the invite

    Anyone any clues?  Note this functionality work perfectly with your personal calendar

  • Will an informational update to an outlook meeting invite appear in the recipient's in box or will that update only by made in the content of the meeting on the invitee's calendars?

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