Side-by-Side Calendar feature in Outlook for Mac


Note: Outlook for Mac for Office 365 and the Outlook for Mac application released as part of the Office 2016 for Mac Preview are the same product, so this blog applies to both as long as they are updated to version 15.8 or higher.

The 15.8 update for Outlook for Mac was released on March 5, 2015, and it contains a new feature: Side-by-Side calendars.  This feature allows you to view up to 3 calendars side-by-side instead of in overlay view.  You can use this feature with your own calendars and shared calendars.

Before this feature was introduced (in Outlook for Mac 15.6 and lower versions), multiple calendars could be viewed at the same time in overlay view only. In the screenshot below, notice that 3 Calendars are selected in the navigation pane, and 3 different meetings appear on the calendar.  These 3 meetings are located in each of the 3 calendars and are viewed in Overlay view.

Now in version 15.8 and higher with the Side-by-Side Calendar feature, you have the option of viewing multiple calendars in Side-by-Side view, as shown below.

Overlay view is still an available option, which is located on the Organize tab in the Calendar.  Simply click it to enable or disable Overlay view.

You can view up to 3 calendars in Side-by-Side view at a time.  When you select more than 3 calendars the view switches to Overlay view automatically.  If you have more than 3 calendars selected, you will not be able to click the Overlay button to disable it.  You must deselect calendars until you have 3 or fewer selected to view the calendars in Side-by-Side view again. 

Collapsing Calendars

An option to change the view when in Side-by-Side view is to click the arrows on the calendar tabs in order to collapse the calendars so they are overlaid over the other calendar(s).   You can click the left arrows on the calendar tabs to collapse them, and then the arrow on the calendar tab changes to a right arrow so you can move it to the side again.  You can collapse the calendars in this manner in any combination of calendars that you prefer.


This image shows Calendar 2 collapsed with the primary calendar, while Calendar 3 is kept separate on the right.


This image shows both calendars collapsed with the primary calendar.

Arranging Multiple Calendars

You can arrange the calendars when they are in Side-by-Side view by selecting them in a specific order.  They will appear in the order you select them from left to right.  For example, if you deselect all calendars, then select Calendar 2, then select Calendar 3, and then select the primary Calendar, they will appear in that order, as shown in this screenshot:

As another example, if you have 3 calendars open in Side-by-Side view, and you would prefer have the 2 additional calendars collapsed together and your primary calendar separate on the side, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Deselect the primary Calendar, named “Calendar” in the screenshot, so it is not displayed.
Step 2: Click the left arrow on the Calendar 3 tab to collapse it with Calendar 2.

Step 3: Enable the Primary Calendar.

Results: The primary calendar will now be displayed separately on the right side while the other 2 calendars are collapsed together on the left.

Calendar Colors

Another new feature introduced in Outlook for Mac for Office 365 version 15.4 is Calendar Color.  This allows you to assign a color to each calendar to make it easier to tell them apart.  To choose a color, right-click the Calendar, select Color, and click the color you prefer.

Each calendar tab will display the color assigned to that calendar.  Meetings that do not have a category assigned to them will appear as the color assigned to the calendar in which they are located.

Any calendar item with a category assigned will be displayed with that category color instead of the color assigned to the Calendar.  Category colors override the Calendar color.


Note: The “Calendar 1 Appt – Categorized Red” meeting in this image appears red.  The Calendar Color is blue, but this item appears red because the red category is assigned to it. 

The Calendar Color feature is also very helpful when you are viewing several calendars in Overlay view, as the colors make it easier to determine which item belongs to which calendar based on the color.


Notice in the above screenshot that the Calendar 1 items appear a normal color, while the Calendar 2, 3 & 4 items appear faded.  This is because "Calendar", which contains the Calendar 1 items, is the highlighted calendar in the Navigation pane on the left.  This is another way to determine which items belong to the calendars.


Comments (10)

  1. Chris says:

    Will more than 3 calendars be supported in the final version of Office 2016? Thanks.

  2. abhijit says:

    Is it possible to have side by side month view. This is available only for daily and weekly view.

  3. GC says:

    Missing Items that are needed:
    Same calendar views and outlook options customization as window’s version
    Side by side view for more than 3 calendars.
    Not all shared calendars are available on the exchange as it is on the window version
    Only 9 colors are available | Multiple time zone visibility | Signature option in meeting view

  4. charles says:

    Thank you for this information. Good write-up.

  5. DHR says:

    cannot get overlay to turn off. anyone having this problem?

  6. Joe says:

    I cannot get overlay to turn off either. Any ideas?

  7. Casey Hebert says:

    Have you guys noticed that if you grant someone delegation access to a calendar that it allows that person to also send email as you? (office 365 pre sub)

  8. tom says:

    I also cannot get overlay to turn off.

  9. Bart says:

    Very difficult to understand this, coming from the simple and easy to use Apple Calendar. I still do not know how to view calendars of others in Outlook for Mac…… perhaps create instructional videos?

  10. Gordon says:

    How do you make one of the calendars the primary one?

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