HOWTO: Outlook – Decline meeting but keep on calendar

When someone sends you a meeting request, you have three main options: accept, tentative or decline. Additionally (and if this option was not unchecked by the sender), you can propose a new time.


Accepting the invite means it will appear in your calendar. Selecting the option ‘tentative’ means it will also appear, but it will be marked clearly as tentative. And finally declining removes the event from your calendar all together.


However, I was in the situation where I wanted to decline a meeting, but still keep this calendar item on my agenda. It was a meeting/event I was not attending to, but I wanted to be remembered this item takes place.


The steps to take to decline a meeting but still keep the meeting in your agenda are the following:

1) Since you want to decline the meeting, you first click on Decline and ‘send the response now’ so the meeting organiser knows you can’t attend

2) Go to your deleted items and find the meeting you just declined. Open it and click on ‘accept’ but choose ‘do not send a response’. Now the item is back in your agenda.

3) Optionally, you can choose to ‘show as free’ so others see you are available at that time


End result: the meeting organiser receives a notification you are not attending; but the meeting is still in your agenda. This should work fine in all version of Microsoft Outlook and even on the web version (i.e. Office 365).


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11 thoughts on “HOWTO: Outlook – Decline meeting but keep on calendar

  1. Not good for me. When the meeting organizer goes back later to see who accepted, he or she will think I am attending. They don’t check their email, but they check the actual meeting event where it shows the graphic result with who is attending, tentative, or declining.

  2. Agreed. Not a good strategy for those who look at the meeting event to get a final count, because you will show as attending.

    Best method I’ve come up with is to to create your own calendar event for the same time, mark it as “show as free”, then decline the original meeting.

  3. Another option is to create another calendar. Drag the meeting into your new calendar and select “copy”. Then decline the meeting in your first calendar. Drag the copied meeting invitation back to your first calendar.

  4. Alternatively you can: Decline the meeting, go to deleted items, select the meeting, right click, select move, select Calendar.
    The meeting will now be in your calendar and show as declined.

    1. This does not work for me. I get a popup saying something like “Meeting has been accepted and moved to your calendar. The organizer has been notified.”

    2. The issue with this (having tried many options over the years…) is that it decouples your calendar entry from the original meeting. If the organiser updates the original meeting info (date, time, place), you won’t receive the update.

  5. I cannot find the deleted/declined appointment. I do not find a “deleted items” folder in the calendar; and that for the emails does not content the deleted/declined appointment.

  6. I echo the risk around this that it doesn’t really solve the issue in that the organiser will see that you have accepted in Tracking, which could be misleading. My fix for the problem is to send a tentative acceptance, which I opt to edit before sending, change “Tentative:” to “Decline:” in the message and explain in the body of the reply that I’m not going to be there but leaving it as Tentative so I can still see it in my calendar. At worst, the organiser doesn’t read my reply, but would only see me as Tentative.

    I really don’t understand why Microsoft can’t have a simple option that lets you show declined meetings in calendar. I used to use a different calendar years ago (from a company called Steltor – that was bought by Oracle, I think) that allowed this.

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