How to Set or Remove Reminders on Classic and New Outlook

How to set/remove reminders on classic & new outlook

Relying solely on memory for appointments and tasks is a recipe for disaster. Whether you’re in the zone or taking a break, it’s humiliating to receive calls for missed meetings, conference calls, and deadlines. That’s where Microsoft Outlook comes in. Microsoft Outlook stands out as one of the most popular and effective solutions for managing tasks and schedules.

Outlook reminders are timely notifications designed to prompt you about various work-related tasks. They’re versatile, helping you manage different types of tasks, emails, meetings and appointments. While many Microsoft users already use reminders on Outlook, it’s unlikely they’ve optimized those reminders with the right workflows and automations for their specific needs. We’ll show you how to add reminders to tasks, emails and appointments in Microsoft Outlook Classic and New.

Note: This feature is not supported in Outlook 2019.

Important: Steps may be different between new and classic Outlook for Windows. To determine which version of Outlook you’re using, look for File on the ribbon. If the File option appears, select the tab for Classic Outlook. If there’s no File option, follow the steps under the New Outlook tab.

Classic Outlook

Show reminders over other programs or apps

You can set up Outlook to display your reminder window on top of other programs you’re working in.

  1. Select File Options Advanced.
  2. In the Reminders section, check the box marked Show reminders on top of other windows.
    You can show reminders on top of other windows.
  3. Click OK.

Note: This feature is not available for Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, or 2019. For Microsoft 365 subscribers, this version is available if you are on Version 1804 (Build 9226.2114) or higher.

Add or remove reminders for meetings

Set reminders for all new meetings

Note: This applies to all the existing appointments and meetings in the calendar. Save this setting for future appointments and meetings.

  1. Click File > Options > Calendar.
  2. Under Calendar options, select or clear Default reminders.
  3. Set the default amount of time at which you want to receive reminders before new calendar items (for example, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.).
    • Set the Default reminders
Set a reminder for an existing meeting

Note: This only applies to the selected meeting in the calendar.  

  1. At the bottom of the screen, click Calendar.
    • Outlook 2016 Calendar Navigation
  2. Open the meeting. If the Open Recurring Item dialog box appears, do one of the following:
    • To set the reminder for just one appointment or meeting in a series, select Just this one.
    • To set the reminder for all the appointments or meetings in a series, select The entire series.
  3. On the Meeting tab (for a recurring meeting it’s the Meeting Series tab, click the Reminder dropdown and select how long before the appointment or meeting you want to get a reminder. To turn a reminder off, select None.
    • Reminder Options

Automatically dismiss reminders for past events

If you don’t want to see reminders for events in the past, you can tell Outlook to automatically dismiss reminders for past events. For example, if you’re out of the office for three days, you might not want to come back and see reminders for the meetings that took place while you were gone.

  1. Select File > Options > Advanced.
  2. In the Reminders section, select Automatically dismiss reminders for past events.

Set reminders for email messages

  1. At the bottom of the screen click Mail.
    • Outlook 2016 Navigation Mail
  2. Select an email message.
  3. Click Home > Follow Up > Add Reminder.
  4. In the Custom dialog box, check or uncheck Reminder.

Set reminders for tasks

  1. At the bottom of the screen, click Tasks.
    • Outlook 2016 Navigation Tasks
  2. To view the tasks, click Home > To-Do List.
    • Click To-Do List
  3. Click a task in the list.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To add a task reminder to your Tasks list, select the task and then in the Follow-up group, choose a time frame to meet your deadline.
    • To remove a task reminder from your Tasks list/To-Do list, in the Manage Task group, click Remove from List.

New Outlook

With the new reminders window, you can select to snooze calendar events and tasks, join a Teams meeting, or dismiss events and tasks in a separate window. 

Set reminders in Outlook screenshot eight

Turn on the reminders window  

You can set up Outlook to display your calendar and To Do (or Task) reminders in a separate window that opens on top of other programs you’re working in. 

  1. Go to Settings > General > Notifications.
  2. Expand the Calendar section, ensure Event Reminders is turned on, and the Reminder notification style is selected.To dismiss reminders for past events (for example, you’ve been away and you don’t want to come back to reminders for events that took place while you were gone), select the Automatically dismiss reminders for past events toggle.

Add or remove reminders for calendar events

Set a default reminder for all calendar events

Note: This setting applies to existing meetings and any new meetings you create.

  1. Go to Settings Calendar > Events and invitations.
  2. Under Events you create, select the Default reminder dropdown and then select the default amount of time that you want to be reminded of upcoming events. Select Save if prompted.Screenshot of how to set a default reminder for new events
Set a reminder for a single meeting or series

You can override the default reminder setting for a single meeting or a meeting series.

  1. From the navigation icons on the Outlook Window, select Calendar.
  2. From the Calendar window, open the meeting you want to change.
  3. If you’re changing a meeting series, first select View series. If you’re changing a single event (or an event series if you selected View series), go to the ribbon, select the Reminder dropdown, and then select an amount for the new reminder time. If you don’t want a reminder for the event or series, select Don’t remind me.

Add or remove reminders for tasks 

  1. From the navigation icons on the Outlook Window, select the To Do icon.
  2. Select a task you want to add a reminder to, and from the task pane that opens, select Remind me. To remove the reminder, select the task and then hover over the reminder until it’s highlighted and the cancel icon appears. Select it to remove the reminder.
    • Screenshot showing cancel icon to remove a task reminder

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