Sometimes I want to decline meeting invitations I receive in Outlook 2007 but keep the meetings on my calendar. That way, I have a reminder of when people who are attending won't be free. However, whenever I click "Decline," the meetings and invites disappear.

I'm aware of the Delete meeting request from Inbox when responding option, but I don't want the invites to stay in my Inbox; I only want the calendar events.

I'm also aware of two workarounds, but neither one is very good. Using "Tentative" instead of "Decline" could be confusing for other attendees, and creating a dummy event on my local calendar could be annoying if there are lots of changes to the event time.

Ideally, these events would be marked as Free on my schedule, but since this is for my own reference, that's not a requirement. How can I set this up?

  • Is this an exchange setup? If so, is there a public calendar you can view to see people's availability?
    – CharlieRB
    Oct 11, 2011 at 15:06
  • It is and I don't know, respectively.
    – Pops
    Oct 11, 2011 at 15:15
  • You can only see people's calendars if it's set up and people allow access to their calendar.
    – BBlake
    Oct 11, 2011 at 15:20
  • 1
    "That way, I have a reminder of when people who are attending won't be free." - additional, related use case: "That way, I have a reminder of when people who are attending should be briefed about/can be debriefed about the most important points to bring up in/that were brought up in the meeting." Sep 16, 2019 at 19:50

6 Answers 6


Here's how you do this in Outlook 2010:

  1. Decline the meeting so the person knows you aren't attending
  2. Go to the deleted items folder and open the invite
  3. Click "Tentative" and then "Do not send a response"
  4. Open the appointment and then change your time to "Free"

These are the same steps that Microsoft says in Show a declined meeting on my calendar.

These steps only work when you just received the meeting invite. It will be difficult to find the meeting invite for declining one occurrence of a weekly meeting that has been running for a while.

  • You could probably write some VBA which, on a regular basis, does all the steps above.
    – Richard
    Jul 10, 2017 at 13:50
  • 22
    This seems like such an obvious feature enhancement for Microsoft. Why not allow a setting where declining simply puts a cross through the meeting or turns it red. I have so many invites that contain materials and info I want to refer back to.
    – Scott
    Jun 12, 2019 at 16:13
  • 5
    It's 2020 and this is still an issue. You'd think they'd take a page out of google calendar's book and add a "Show Declined Events" checkbox.
    – frodo2975
    Nov 2, 2020 at 20:18

Here's what I do:

1) Respond to the invitation by Accepting as Tentative, using the EDIT response option.
2) In your EDIT comment, paste or type in some text saying "I will not be attending this meeting, but in order to keep it on my calendar, I'm responding as tentative but will show this slot as free."
3) Send your response.
4) After the appointment appears on your calendar, open it and change the "show as" to "FREE", indicating to you and to others that this time slot is open.

The appointment will remain on your calendar, but the time will show as free.

OPTIONAL - Select a color in your pallet for meetings that you've tentatively accepted, but do not plan to attend ... perhaps black. Change the color to help remind yourself that this is a meeting you know about but won't be attending.

Truth be told, MS should include a "Decline but keep on calendar option" ... but we all know that. :)


Do you know about the Free/Busy service that outlook/Exchange provides to allow you to see others status? Also, if you run Lync, it reports others status based on their calendar.

Specific to your request, you could drag the meeting request from the Deleted item folder back to your calendar and set the time to Available.

  • I tried moving the request back to the inbox and setting the time to available, but it didn't work. Actually, it told me that I needed a folder that supported meeting reminders, and asked me if that was okay, but the "Yes" and "No" buttons didn't seem to have any effect.
    – Pops
    Oct 11, 2011 at 15:56
  • I had never heard of Lync until I read this answer, but I do use Communicator, which is apparently its predecessor. As far as I know, that won't tell me which meeting an "Away" person is at, which is sometimes useful.
    – Pops
    Oct 11, 2011 at 16:00
  • You need to drag it to the Calendar folder, not the inbox
    – uSlackr
    Oct 11, 2011 at 16:55
  • I don't have a Calendar folder; are you telling me I need to create one?
    – Pops
    Oct 11, 2011 at 17:00
  • yes you do. If you click the folders icon at the bottom of the left-most column (below the bars for mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc) it will show all your folders including the calendar folder. However, you can just drag drag it to the calendar itself.
    – uSlackr
    Oct 11, 2011 at 17:05

If you decline the invite by opening it up in your calender, rather from the email in your inbox, it will initially disappear from your calender and then reappear as a tentative meeting, due to the meeting request still being in your inbox. You can then set the time to being Free and the organiser will know that you are not attending.


I found this solution:

  1. decline by either "send response now" or "edit response before sending"
  2. then
    • go back to the invite (most probably in your inbox or the deleted items)
    • open the invite
    • accept tentatively with "do not respond"
    • answer the pop-up with YES
    • You will see this meeting invite in your calendar, accepted tentatively.

The sender will see, that you declined. Should the sender re-send the invite (with additional or changing info), you will receive an update. Take it from here...


You can decline the invite and still have the meeting invite show up. This also allows you the option of changing your mind.

  • 3
    Yes, that sounds like what I want, but how do I make it happen?
    – Pops
    Oct 12, 2011 at 14:07
  • ?? hit decline ??
    – surfasb
    Oct 12, 2011 at 15:02
  • 4
    But how do I have the meeting continue to show up once I hit decline?
    – Pops
    Oct 12, 2011 at 17:24

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