Outlook Meeting Spam

Published on Tue, 25 July, 2023 | 400 words
Tags: howto configuration email calendar outlook

If you’re like me, you’re forced to use Outlook by your place of work. Also, if you’re like me, your organisation automatically subscribes you to a bunch of email lists that you can’t leave, and other people on those mailing lists love to send outlook meeting invites to as many people as possible. If you use a sane email client like Thunderbird or Kaiten, these can be safely ignored, marked as spam, whatever you like, and they’ll never bother you. But if you use Outlook, these get added to your calendar automatically the second the email arrives and you either have to spend a good chunk of the day going through and declining them, or you can just ignore them and risk missing an actual meeting you needed to go to because you couldn’t see it through all the noise. Also, I don’t really know how Outlook’s calendar system works inside the box, but I have had angry emails from quite senior members of staff in the past because I removed or edited an event from my calendar, and Outlook did… whatever the hell Outlook does, and cancelled it for everyone.

The Outlook filters dialog

There is a solution, albeit a really hacky one, and that’s to use a filter to hide anything you’ve not explicitly accepted. They’re still there, but you can’t see them, which is most of the problem sorted. From the calendar display in Outlook, click View in the menu bar, then click the cog icon (View Settings) in the ribbon. Now click Filter. Go to the Advanced tab, and from the Field menu choose Meeting Status (it’s under ‘All Appointment Fields’). Select ‘not equal to’ from the Condition menu, and ‘Not yet responded’ as the Value. Now click ‘Add to list’, OK and OK. The meetings you’ve not explicitly accepted will now not be shown in the calendar.