On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…The Waffle Brings to Me: Bookings

December 12, 2023
6 min read

This December, I’m writing a 12-days of Christmas series of tips for users of Microsoft 365! Get ready to unwrap a digital delight each day as I embark on a tech-tastic journey through the wonders of Microsoft's suite of applications. Just like the iconic song's twelve gifts, I've got twelve tech treasures waiting for you.

Picture this: those pied pipers replaced by Planner, lords a-leaping swapped with Microsoft List prowess, and maids a-milking superseded by Power BI. Yep, that's right. I’m diving deep into the diverse universe of Microsoft 365 applications, each day spotlighting a different gem that'll revolutionize your digital life.

If you know me, you know. I focus on everything waffle, the launch place for many Microsoft 365 apps (see Figure 1). So buckle up that Santa belt, grab that eggnog, and join me on a merry adventure through the 12 Days of what the Waffle brings to you.

A screenshot of the Microsoft 365 app launch area with the waffle icon (top left) in a red square. The main area in the center of the screen contains apps included with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. There are 20 visible on this screen, including Add-ins, Bookings, Calendar, Excel, OneDrive, and Outlook.
Figure 1: Click the waffle icon in Microsoft 365 to see the many apps available with your subscription. View Full Size

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the waffle brings to me...Bookings

I’ll kick of the first day with this magical thing called Microsoft Bookings. Here's the scoop: Bookings is one of those apps nestled in your Microsoft 365 subscription, and it's all about gaining some control of your calendar. I'm all for it! Why? Because who enjoys playing email tag just to set up meetings?

Where do you find Bookings? Well, find that waffle button and click it (see figure 1).

If you don't see Bookings as one of your recent apps, click "Explore all your Apps" You’ll see Bookings (figure 2).

Screenshot of the launch icon for the Bookings app in Microsoft 365. It says “Simplify how you schedule and manage appointments both inside and outside your organization.”
Figure 2: Launch icon for the Bookings app | Image used with permission from Microsoft View Full Size

Once you stumble into Bookings for the first time, brace yourself for a little intro (figure 3).

Screenshot of the Welcome to Bookings! starter screen. You see this the first time you sign into Bookings. It explains the tool briefly and then provides a Next button.
Figure 3: The Welcome to Bookings pop-up window. | Image used with permission from Microsoft | View Full Size

Just tap "Next" and get oriented with Bookings.

Your personal Bookings page

Okay, deep breath! It is time to set up your personal booking page. Click the Go to my booking page button (figure 4) and let’s do this!

ALT: Screenshot of the Bookings page default banner with a circular headshot, a simple graphic, and some replaceable text. You can click the
Figure 4: The Booking page banner. View Full Size

YAWWWWNNN… That default banner is boring. Click the three dots (1) and choose the to edit the banner image (2), as shown in figure 5.

Screenshot of the Booking page banner with step indicators. 1 is the three-dots to open the menu, 2 is the option to edit the Bookings banner image.
Figure 5: The Booking page banner with step indicators View Full Size

You have about 10 choices, but it’s better than nothing! Pick one and let’s move on.

Add your first calendar

Time to put yourself on the map in Bookings. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, Bookings gives you a starter page with “Office Hours” to inspire you (figure 6)!

Screenshot of the
Figure 6: The Welcome to Microsoft Bookings pop-up window. ALT: Screenshot of the Welcome to Microsoft Bookings pop-up window. Click the three dots next to Office Hours to set times that work best for you. View Full Size

The default calendar assumes you are a mere mortal working from 8 to 5, Monday to Friday. Who does that anymore? Frankly, you don’t want to see me before 9am and about four cups of coffee. Go ahead and modify that schedule to make it work for you. Select that “Office Hours” craziness and modify it to make it “ME” friendly. I’ll walk you through the details in the next section.

It’s all about YOU

I’ll let you explore here and make it yours, but here are some things to keep in mind (figure 7):

A form for providing information about a meeting. The most important parts of the form are described below.
Figure 7: A screenshot of the Bookings calendar settings screen with step-by-step numerical indicators View Full Size
  1. Calendar icon: Swap out that boring ol’ calendar icon for something more fresh
  2. Calendar name: What, are we still in college? Office hours is so boring! Feel free to jazz that up a bit, too.
  3. Category: Color code away! My calendar is ALL the colors and yours can be too with categories.
  4. Description: Don’t assume people know what they are booking your time for…add a description! Encourage people to follow a format if that is meaningful to you.
  5. Location: Hey, we are meeting in person again so here’s your option for locations…or not. Give people the option to meet remotely with Teams.
  6. Time slot: By default, meetings are a 30-minute gig, but hey, tweak it as you see fit. Time is money, people! Right size your meeting length to get the most out of your day.
  7. Public vs private: Here’s the good news, “Public” actually does mean Public! Choose who gets the golden ticket to book these appointments. Keep it in-house, swing open the gates for outsiders, or straddle the line - your call.
  8. Signature: Got a snazzy signature set up? Automatically add the link to your signature line with just a click.
  9. Invite your peeps: Be the trendsetter and let the cool kids you collaborate with know you are open for Bookings.
  10. Customize the schedule: Don’t be afraid to play hard-to-get with your schedule! You do need time to do actual work too, right?
  11. Date ranges: Is this for a particular date range? God forbid you take a vacation! Maybe you are peopled out from all those holiday parties. You can have more than one calendar; use them!
  12. Advanced options: ALWAYS check out the advanced options! Need some time for bio breaks between meetings? Do you want to limit people from booking a year in advance? Do you need reminders and follow up emails to keep you on track? Here ya go.
  13. All set? Click that Save and share button.

Boom! You're now holding the keys to a calendar kingdom that you can share outside the North Pole.

Pro Tip:Use a URL shortener with a fun name for the link instead of that ugly, nasty link. Just sayin’. I use the free version of Bitly.

What’s next?

Stay tuned for our other Christmas delights! Like what you see? Curious to learn more about about Microsoft 365? Join me for LIVE events coming up in January. They make a great stocking stuffer!

Join me on January 3rd, 2024 from 12n-1pm MTN for the Getting Started with M365 session of our Kick Start 2024 emPOWER!Hour series. https://poweruplearning.com/2024-kickoff/

Stay tuned for the next tip in our 12 days of Christmas. Until next time, I’m Shortcut Shari and it’s my job to make your job easier!

Shari Oswald

Shari Oswald

Shari is known as Shortcut Shari because she believes we should all work smarter, not harder, and she loves to share keyboard shortcuts. Shari has been using SharePoint since before it was called SharePoint and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with those who are as excited about technology as she is. Shari's focus is the “People Side of Change.” As a Microsoft 365 Solutions Architect and Consultant that grew up right along with SharePoint, her practical knowledge of the Microsoft Productivity stack coupled with her passion for empowerment via learning makes Shari an excellent resource as a consultant and evangelist for Microsoft 365. Her philosophies for information architecture and SharePoint design are centered on solving business challenges with technology and ensuring usability and adoption for the organization. Shari is a Microsoft Certified Trainer, a Microsoft Certified Specialist Master, consultant, presenter, author, and evangelist. When she is not architecting SharePoint magic as a consultant, Shari is in the classroom or creating online learning for LinkedIn Learning, ClipTraining.com, and Pluralsight.