Cancel reoccurring event in the future without losing per-event changes

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F

Fesak



Outlook 2010 was what finally got me away from OpenOffice. I simply love it. However, the way it manages reoccurring events is my one really big beef. Situation as follows:

I have two meetings that run every week on the same day, and usually at the same time. I do not know many details much more in advance than the week before. I have set up a reoccurring event for both to continue indefinitely (my first mistake) and each week when I get details, I enter that in to the individual occurrences. I have several months worth that I've been working like this.

Soon, the meetings are going to be ending, and I will not need the reoccurring events to be generated ad infinitum. However, modifying the reoccurence pattern to stop on any given day in the future resets ALL events in the past back to the default. That is simply ridiculous. There has got to be a way to cancel these events and not lose that information. Much of what I have isn't necessarily important to keep, but it would be preferred and it is very easy to imagine a scenario where there could be a lot more at stake.
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange


The problem is that you turned each occurance into an exception by editing it and resetting the end date will regenerate the appointment. If you need the data in each exception, export your calendar to Excel, remove the other events and import the now-individual items from the recurring event. Then you can reset or delete the recurring event.

In the future, either make a copy of the appointment and add notes to it or set an end date to all recurring events - depending on the frequency, 10 events, 3 months, or yearly works well - and recreate them as needed. Avoid neverending events.
 
F

Fesak

<quote>Avoid neverending events.</quote>That is really the crux of it all. Why have the option for them, or at least no warning when its created that it wont be able to be stopped easily? There is no reason that those exceptions can't be automatically preserved when changing events in the future.
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange


No idea why they don't add warnings....

A lot of people never make exceptions so ending a never-ending appointment is not always a problem - its only a problem if you either add notes to occurrences rather than the series or move an occurrence to a new date and need to keep a history (not everyone needs to keep a history).

If you are editing every single event (so its basically all exceptions) you should be copying the occurrences and converting them to individual appointments - too many exceptions can lead to corruption. However, Outlook 2010 copies and pastes the series (change from older versions), so you need to copy the occurrence to a new calendar - or copy the series to a new calendar, then export/import (less editing of the csv or text file before importing). You can also right click, drag and copy to create a single event (in a different time slot, drag to the correct one).
 
S

Somasundaram Pandiaraj



Diane has suggested the best solution for the issue that you"re facing.

When you create a recurring appointment it gives you "Start" and the "End by" options. There is no warning for the same.
 
P

Piquay



This is absolutely ludicrous! I cannot believe this issue has been hanging around since (at least) Outlook 2003 and it still exists. Software should make your life easier, not more difficult. Having to export and re-import the series is a band-aid (and a labourious one at that!) to what is nothing short of lazy programming! I am a developer and solving this should be an absolute no-brainer. Ending the series should simply end the series - not touch any of the history. Even if I delete the series, it should not delete the past events. Those are history even if they are not exceptions.

I wanted to use recurring calendar entries along-side my actual meeting events to hold the agendas and actions. This would have been a perfect solution for my needs and I always leave my recurring meetings open-ended, because they are just that - long term. Whether it is 3 months or 12 months or no end date, what's the difference? I will ultimately want to change the end date. And I don't want a "warning"; that doesn't remove my need! I want the ability to have an open-ended calendar entry with exceptions and preserve them.

Here's an idea: if I edit an individual event within the series, have Outlook copy it to a single event. The only reason that should ever be touched again is if I choose to delete the "series" (with history).

C'mon Microsoft, get your act together!

Here endeht the rant. :)
 
R

Ryan Nolan



What if I'm the organizer of a recurring series and I want to be able to end the series and still preserve all the exceptions on everyone's calendar? This importing/exporting technique doesn't seem possible when it involves multiple schedules.

Can anyone recommend any Outlook 2007 add-on that allow scheduling of irregular recurring meeting series?
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
You can't cancel it - there is a chance that the cancellation will fail, but you can't control how outlook processes the cancellation for others.
 
M

Mark from MBS



Piquay

Your rant is justified!

Did anyone else get a solution to this - I had one solution which was cumbursome but it works (see below) but it doesnt copy and paste any attachments on prior appointments ..... I wish Microsoft have an option to convert a recurring appointment to inidividual appointments!

Here is the solution I found:

First, I'd create a new calendar folder (File>New>Folder, with "Calendar Items" in the "folder contains" drop-down), then display my main Calendar folder in the By Category view (View>CurrentView>By Category), right-click the appointment, and drag it to the new

calendar folder, choosing Copy when I release the mouse button.

Then I'd click File>Import and Export>Export to a file, choosing "Comma serparated values" as the output format. When Outlook asks for the folder, select the new calendar folder. Outlook will tell you it can't export a recurring event and ask you to specify a range. Give the starting date of the event, and the ending date after which the event should cease. Finish the wizard.

The CSV file you created will contain the list of all the individual events generated from the original event, including the exceptions.
After the export is finished, delete the event from the main Calendar and then click File>Import>Import from another program or file. Select "Comma separated values", browse to the file you created before, select it, and finish the wizard, specifying your main Calendar as the destination. The events will be added to your calendar as individual items than include all the exceptions.
 
O

outlookrecurringevent



Diane... Please talk to the Outlook team to have it resolved... I'm so disappointed to find out that such trivial issue is overlooked (even 2010 has the same problem), even my 10-year old Palm device does this brilliantly.

I, and many others, are already having a hard time justifying upgrading our Office editions every so year. And with Microsoft's approach to solving problems like this. Well... There's Google and the others...
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
I'll tell them, but its something they already know about. If they could make it work without adding bugs, i'm sure they would.
 
T

thisisreallystupid



" If they could make it work without adding bugs, i'm sure they would."

That is pathetic. Those programmers, and Microsoft, ought to be ashamed of this kind of performance.

I, too, recall my 10 year-old Palm that had a simple solution to this. When you clicked any instance of a recurring event to modify or delete, it gave you three (not 2) options that were completely intuitive and did not require any explanations or warnings: change current event only, change all future events, or change entire series. The first two options had the effect of automatically splitting the series.

What's so hard about that?

[All my complaints are sent not just to MS, but also to my IT dept, who buys this junk.]
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange


Outlook is more complicated than a 10 yr old palm. Adding/changing features has the potential to cause "unintended consequences" and need throughly tested - but as we've all seen, testing misses a lot because real world users use more features (and discover tricks) than testers.

Getting outlook to split a series without rewriting the old events is the problem. Splitting is easy and you can do it yourself using copy and paste then changing the start and end dates of the copy for the future. Changing the original means losing all exceptions unless you either copy each event or use import/export to break them into individual events. If you get in the habit of ending all recurrences yearly (or after no more than 20 for frequent appointments) its less of a problem and easier to deal with. You'll also reduce the chances of corrupt appointments or sync issues (smartphone users).
 
M

Mark from MBS



I posted the steps to do the cut and paste above on Thursday, August 26, 2010 5:29 AMhowever you lose the attachments on past appointments.

Microsoft really needs to address this.

We have built an addon to Outlook to integrate with our billing systems (we sell software to Drs) and this "bug" is preventing me rolling this out to our customers. All other appointment systems preserve past appointments when future appointments are edited. Our situation could be as simple as the Dr changing his regular weekly operating schedule to start from 9am instead of 8am in the future ... we've had to tell our customers not to create more than 20 recurring appointments into the future. But tough when you have 30 Drs and 10 operating lists per week to manage!! You have to recreate 300 future appointments every 20 weeks.

Ggrrrrr!
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange


you lose the attachments on past appointments.

If you use the copy and paste in place method (or right click, drag) to create individual appointments, you will keep the attachments. It's best to use this method when you create the exception as it can be slow (and monotonous) to do this with a lot of appointments later. In Outlook 2007 or older, select the appointment and press Ctrl+C, V to make an individual appointment out of the recurring. In Outlook 2010, Ctrl+C,V copies the recurring appointment so you need to right click and drag to a new time (then drag back to the correct time). There might be an easier way in 2010, i just haven't found it yet.
 
J

JasonSha



I agree that this is an absolutely inexcusable design flaw and one of many which completely spoil Outlook IMO.

I understand that recurring appointments are probably the most complicated aspect of digital calendars, which is why so many syncing programs are flawed when it comes to syncing them. But this is Microsoft Outlook, an industry standard, used by millions of companies and individuals worldwide. Given the price of Outlook, it...should...work.

I don't accept Diane's excuse that Outlook is "complicated." Of course it's complicated - most applications of its kind are. But there are applications which are far more complicated than Outlook, whose development teams nonetheless manage to execute fixes to major problems, even when it means significant code revamping. This is why development teams with budgets exist. Outlook is not programmed in assembly language or vanilla C and I have no doubt that it has been designed in a modular fashion so that new features and fixes can be added.

Recurrences and their associated exceptions should be stored for as long as the user needs them, regardless of whether or not they end the recurrence. I don't understand your need to stress that "many users never make exceptions to recurrences." Do you have a figure on this? Because I make them all the the time and can imagine a million different reasons why other people would need to, too. You sometimes have to change times slightly. There you go. I bet the vast majority of recurrence users have to change the occasional time, or even times on a daily basis.

The workarounds given above are simply not acceptable, having paid good money for the product. Exporting to Excel and importing again? Why not just give users the option to "expand" a previous recurrence into individual appointments with the click of a mouse? This wouldn't break any existing code or cause any problems at all. I have no doubt that the Outlook code contains a robust method for expanding a recurrence into individual appointments (given that it can construct a weekly calendar view from such recurrence rules) and I have no doubt that it contains a robust method for creating an individual appointment (of course). So what is the big deal with a function that expands a past recurrence into individual appointments along with it's associated exceptions?

Ending recurrences regularly is also not acceptable. We spend good money on software like Outlook so that we can automate the tedious parts of our businesses and get on with more important things. People like me who have multiple calendars composed of hundreds of recurring appointments (I use it to schedule my employees and their clients) simply do not have the time to reconstruct all of these recurrences on a regular basis. For Pete's sake, let's just admit that this is a feature that needs to be fixed and get on with it.

The handling of recurrences and exceptions is very poor. For instance, I've noticed that Outlook is not reliable when exporting recurrence exceptions to, say a TSV file. Sometimes it won't export them at all, other times it will export some but not others, for no logical reason. A major part of my weekly accounting is done by processing TSV files for the week, yet I have to spend additional time checking for exceptions and whether or not they've exported properly.

These are bugs and design flaws. Microsoft, please fix them. I'm not blind to the marvels of Outlook - otherwise I would be using Google Calendars instead. But to hear that these major problems have not been addressed in 2010, well I sometimes wonder why software companies seem so intent on spending their development time adding shiny new features instead of fixing the old problems. I won't be upgrading to 2010, I'm going to start looking around for an alternative solution for my employee scheduling requirements.
 
G

Gauthier DS

There seems to be some solutions to preserve own calendar exceptions (note, etc.) but what I need is a way to stop recurring meetings for the attendees without scrapping their notes/exceptions. Even with defined duration meeting, e.g. 3 months, how would I be able to set an end to the recurring meeting on their calendar e.g. after 1 month? Sending 9 meeting cancellations? This sounds like some hassle which everyone would expect to be able to avoid...
 
J

JasonSha



Of course we should expect to avoid this hassle. It's a very basic functionality that's missing from Microsoft Outlook, for reasons that I can only assume have to do with sloppy and lazy software design. Outlook is an unfinished product that is being sold at a finished price. Look at the way it handles exporting calendar items between a range of dates, for instance. It is 100% expected in the year 2010 that one will specify dates using a date picker. In Outlook however, one has to manually type the date range in the form mm/dd/yy into the wizard. This is one example of an Outlook feature that was never finished before release and which Microsoft have just figured they'll leave the way it is through successive versions. It really is inexcusable. They still haven't fixed it in the 2010 version.

With regards the ending of recurring appointments and the loss of exceptions, Microsoft's stance seems to be "hardly anyone needs to preserve exceptions in this way, so we won't bother implementing it." This is, I believe, a serious error in judgment on their part as many people export Outlook calendar data for external processing, or need to look back at previous dates for one reason or another. It's my record, my data, my Outlook program, so why can't I keep it all intact if I end a recurrence?

The market is crying out for a fully working competitor to Outlook.
 
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