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Stop Hitting Snooze: Change the Default Reminder Time for Outlook Appointments

How many times has the Outlook reminder popped up on your screen only for you to hit the Snooze button to be reminded again in 5 minutes. How can you possibly be productive while hitting the snooze button repeatedly throughout the day?

This isn’t exactly an earth-shattering geek tip, in fact most of you likely already know how to change the default reminder time. I’m just really tired of getting this popup dialog on my screen, telling me that I have a meeting in 15 minutes… so it occurred to me that I’d be a lot more productive without this nuisance. (of course, I’d be even more productive if I didn’t have to waste my time at the boring meeting)

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If you are setting up the boring meeting, you can change the reminder time when setting up a new appointment by checking the Options section on the ribbon.

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To change the default across all appointments, open up Tools \ Options and change the Default reminder drop-down:

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Change it to 5 minutes, and you don’t have to use Snooze ever again. Just click Dismiss, and go to your meeting. Try not to fall asleep, or at least learn to doze with your eyes open.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/25/08

Comments (11)

  1. charles

    Good idea! I knew how to do it but never thought about it before – that message wastes so much of my life. Almost all my meetings are on the telephone, so I just changed the reminder to 2 minutes.

  2. Chip

    Now, if you could tell me how to do this for all-day meetings, I would be eternally in your debt. Why in the H*** I would want to get an annoying reminder at 6AM the day before an all day meeting is beyond me. The fact that this “feature” is still not modifiable in 2007 is mind-boggling.

  3. The Geek

    @Chip

    That irritates me too! I should look into that…

  4. BRF

    What it should really do is offer to snooze exactly 1/2 the amount of time between now and when the meeting starts. Also, it should not show a dropdown. There is probably more than enough screen real estate nowdays to show all of the choices. I hate scrolling!!

  5. Jonathan

    What I want to do is override the 15-minute default times associated with appointments I accept, without having to remember to change it. In other words, I want my 5-minute default to apply in all situations unless I personally override it.

  6. Jennifer Booth

    Thanks for your help. I was really hoping to find how to adjust the default snooze for email message reminder – not appointment reminder. Is there a way to do that? Thanks so much!

  7. Doug

    It is now 2010. Has someone figured out how to _start_ calendar reminders on the day _of_ the reminder rather than the day _before_ the reminder? I can’t believe there’s no setting adjustment for such a simple task.

  8. Ethar

    Doug: the fact is that if the one who made the meeting request did not set the “reminder start time” (the time on the second picture) then it starts the reminders 18 hours before the meeting. Now I’m trying to find out how to modify this default time from 18 hours to 1 hour or so… It seems to be impossible to change it.

  9. dave sharp

    default snooze is pita at 5min.. i flag emails for follow up..could give a shit about mtg reminders, have the bb for that..but when the reminder comes up for emails then i want to snooze 4hrs if i cant address it right then..not 5 mins. I change one from 5 mins to 4 hrs and then it drops to the next one and goes back to 5mins. Stupid. Anyone know then email me and I will reward you.

  10. Nick B

    There *used* to be an option to snooze until x time *BEFORE* the meeting, making reminders longer than 5 minutes useful, but I have not been able to find this option any more. If anyone can find it please let me know.

  11. David P

    Hi Guys,

    This is interesting, but it misses the point. Can the defaul SNOOZE time be changed in 2010 from “5 minutes” to “5 minutes before start”? Otherwise you either 1) have to snooze it several times or 2) always pick “5 minutes before start” from the dropdown before clicking snooze.

    The idea of changing the reminder time to only 5 minutes before the start of a meeting only works if YOU originate all of your meetings. In my case, I get invited to more than i originate, and others pick the reminder time.

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