Scheduling Office Hours Using Microsoft Bookings


Do you need an easy way for students to sign up for your available office hours online? Microsoft Bookings is available to all faculty and staff at no extra cost, sign-ups appear directly on your Outlook calendar and both students and faculty receive a confirmation email, 

Example Faculty Office Hours Setup

The steps below will walk through a demo setup of a bookings calendar for office hours for a fictional Prof. Ursa. You can follow these steps to setup your own Bookings calendar to allow students to self-book appointments during your schedule office hours.

For this example, Prof. Ursa has scheduled office hours on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 - 4:00.

Login in to Microsoft Bookings
Step 1. Create a Bookings Calender

Step 2.  Setup your first "Service" (aka Office Hours)
     Name, Description, Location, Duration
     Buffer Time, Attendees, "Price", Notes
     Custom Fields, Reminders, Confirmation
     SMS, Publishing Options, Online Scheduling Options
     Scheduling Policy, Email Notification, Staff and Availability
Setup "Staff"
Booking Page
Save and Publish

Login in to Bookings

  • Login to
  • Select "Bookings" from the "waffle menu" If you don't see "Bookings", click on All Apps and select Bookings from the list
  • Click Get it now on the Bookings landing page


Step 1: Create a Bookings Calendar

  1. Click + to add your first Bookings calendar
  2. Enter your "Business Name". This is the name for the calendar. In this case we'll call it "Professor Ursa's Office Hours".
  3. Click Continue

    Bookings calendar setup

Step 2: Setup your Bookings Office Hours Settings

  1. Click on Business Information. 
  2. Enter your "Business Name" (if you didn't already when you created your calendar)
  3. (Optional) Enter your "Business Address" (this can be your office location)
  4. (Optional) Enter your "Business Phone" (this can be your office phone number, department number or cell phone number, or you can leave it blank).
  5. (Optional) upload a picture that can be displayed on the main Bookings page.
  6. Under "Business Hours" set the times that you want to hold office hours on the days you'd like to hold them. Click the X next to a day to set yourself to "Closed" for the day. In our example, Prof. Ursa is holding office hours Monday and Wednesday from 1-4 PM.
  7. Click Save

    Setup your business in Bookings.

Setup "Services"

  • Click Services in the left navigation menu. A service is essentially what people are signing up for.
  • The first time you setup a new Bookings calendar, you will have one default service called "Initial Consult". You can have several different types of services.
  • Click on the Initial Consult service so it can be edited

Service Name, Description, Location, Duration

  • Change the "Service Name" to reflect the name of the service you want to offer. In this case, enter "Office Hours"
  • (Optional) Create a description of the service if you'd like.
  • For "Default Location" you can enter a location for the meeting. It will default to your address/office location.
  • If you would like to hold virtual office hours, toggle "Add Online Meeting" to On and a Microsoft Teams invitation will be created and sent to you and the student automatically.
  • Change your "Default Duration" to the length of time for your meetings. Professor Ursa's meetings are 30 minutes long.

    Service Name, Description, Location, Duration

Buffer Time, Attendees, "Price", Notes

  • (Optional) Enter any buffer time you'd like between appointments. If you turn it on, you can set the minutes before and after meetings to give you time between meetings as needed.

    Hint: Don't set any "Before" time. If you do, your students or clients won't be able to start booking appointments as soon as your office hours are open.
  • (Optional) If someone books an appointment on behalf of a student or client, you can allow that student or client to manage their booking by enabling the "Let customers manage their appointment when it was booked by you or your staff on your behalf". If you do not turn this on, and you set the appointment for a student, they can not cancel the appointment on their own.
  • Change your "Default Price" to "Free"
  • (Optional) Enter any "Internal notes" you'd like about this service. This is only seen by you.

Custom Fields, Reminders, Confirmations

  • (Optional) You can create custom fields with questions for the student booking an appointment to fill out. For example, you can ask a question about what specific topic a student would like to discuss. These fields can also be made required or optional.
  • You can now create, edit, and save a variety of email reminders for your students, yourself (as the only staff person), or all attendees. There are 2 pre-set reminders. Click the Pencil icon to edit the reminders to suit your needs. You can set when the reminders will be sent (15-minutes before the appointment or 2-weeks and a variety in between.
    • Only 2 default reminders are set, but you can add more by clicking on Add email reminder
  • (Optional) You can add additional information or links to be included in the confirmation email that gets sent when a student first books an appointment.

    Custom fields, reminders and confirmation

SMS Notifications, Publishing Options, Online Scheduling Options

  • (Optional) You can enable SMS message notifications for your students by checking the box. Note that this service is free for now, but Microsoft may remove this feature at a later date.
  • Check the box next to "Show this service on the booking page" in order to make the new service bookable.
  • Uncheck the box for "Use the default scheduling policy". This will allow me to set different policies for each service

Scheduling Policy, Email notification, Staff and Availability

  • Under Scheduling policy, select the time increments you'd like for your meetings. We've left them at 30 minutes that are the defaults we set up for the Bookings site earlier.
  • We have left the Minimum and Maximum lead times at the default setting.
  • Under Email notification, we've selected both the "Business" (Professor Ursa) and to send a confirmation email to the student and an Outlook meeting request.
  • Leave Staff unckecked as Prof. Ursa is the only "Staff".
  • Select Bookable when staff are free as the system will look to your Bookings Calendar to make sure you are not double-booked.

Setup "Staff"

  • Click on "Staff" in the left navigation bar
  • Since you will be the only staff member click on your name.
  • On the "Staff Details" card, there are only a few things that you'll need to do
    • Make sure your email address is correct
    • Check the box next to "Events on Office calendar affect availability". By doing so, if you have other appointments on your Outlook calendar scheduled, those times won't be bookable by the students.
    • Make sure "User Business Hours" is checked so that your appointments can fall within the business hours you setup for the bookings calendar originally.
  • When done, click Save


The Customers item in the navigation will open a pane to manage your "customers" or, in this case, students. It will be empty now, but as students book office hours with you, it will populate with their information.

Booking Page

Here is where you can edit what is published and shown to students. The settings on this page are the primary settings for the "business". Many settings (like the scheduling policy) don't need to be changed because we've set them under the specific "Office Hours" service.

Booking Page Access Control

There are 2 settings you will want to enable under this section.

  • Check the box next to "Require a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 account from my organization in order to book". If you do not set this, anyone can book appointments and possibly spam your calendar with bad invitations.
  • Check the box next to "Disable direct search engine indexing of booking page. Doing so will ensure that engines like Google or Bing won't index the Bookings site and will help prevent it from showing up in Internet searches.

You can also change the theme and color of your new Bookings site, as well as showing your picture or a logo that you set up earlier (you can also change/upload one from this page).

Save and Publish

Generally speaking, your done! A new site has been created, office hours have been set and now you just need to publish the page and post the link where your students can see it (Canvas, email, etc.)

  • When you're done with theming and setting up your Bookings site, click on Save and Publish from the "Booking Page" item in the left navigation bar.
  • A new URL will be created for your site. Copy that URL for posting elsewhere.
  • You can also now visit your site by clicking on Open Published Page.

Professor Ursa's Office Hours


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Article ID: 113723
Wed 8/12/20 9:09 PM
Thu 9/14/23 8:18 PM

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