Tip for finding when an appointment was created

Here’s a tip for when you suspect someone has magicked up an appointment to coincidentally collide with an Outlook meeting request you sent them…

In your own calendar (and other people’s), you can see when a meeting was scheduled (ie request was sent or created), as well as other facts (like when you accepted it) – eg:


If a blocked out time in the calendar is just an appointment (ie something that was just put there by the owner of the calendar), you don’t see the date it was added…


Remember, they’re all just forms in the end 

Way back when Exchange was young (it started at 4.0), the design was that emails/meeting requests etc, were just an "item" (which is a collection of fields, different depending on the type of item it is), and a "form" which was associated with a particular kind of item using the Message Class to denote it.

In other words, an email message would have fields like Sender, date, recipients, subject, etc. And when you went to open a message, the Exchange client (later, Outlook) would look at the class on the item (IPM.Note, for a message) and would find the appropriate form to open that item. Clear? If you really want examples of lots of different Outlook items, see MSDN.

Anyway. If I’m looking at an appointment which wasn’t a "meeting" (ie it was just put into my or someone else’s calendar, not via a meeting request/acceptance), I might not be able to see the date it was created, but the underlying item definitely does have that property. Displaying it in Outlook is pretty straightforward, if a little contrived. Here’s one quick & dirty method of doing so (I may post a more elegant solution if there’s interest)…

image1. Get to "Design this form"

Older versions of Outlook had a Developer item on the menu structure which allowed you to select (via several pop-outs if I recall) to design the current form. Outlook 2007 simplified the menus (now using the Ribbon) and no longer shows that Developer menu. One quick way of putting it back is to add that specific command to the "Quick Access Toolbar"…

Click on little down-arrow just to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar on the top left of a form (eg the form of the appointment you’re looking at), then choose "More Commands"…

On the resulting dialogue, select Developer tab in the "Choose commands from:" drop-down list box, then scroll down to find "Design This Form" (note "This Form", not "a Form…". Select that command, click on Add, then OK out of the customize dialogue.


Now you have a little icon supposed to represent designing actions (pencil, ruler, set square) in your toolbar:


Click on the icon and you get into the form designer, with the current item being loaded. You’ll see a bunch of tabs – these correspond to "pages" within the form, and any in brackets are hidden. Select the "All fields" tab, choose Date/Time fields from the drop-down (or try "All Appointment fields").


You should now see just the date fields, including the original creation date…


This might seem a real palaver, but once you have the icon on the QAT, it’s a 5 second action to show the dates… and can be very handy 🙂

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