Sunday, December 1, 2002

Adding 2003 holidays to your Outlook calendar


By Diane Poremsky

My recent column about the shortcuts you can use to enter dates and times in your calendar reminded some of our readers that Outlook's holidays end at the end of the year and they asked how to add more holidays to their calendar. As many of you have discovered, holidays in Outlook 2000 and earlier versions end with this year. If you want next year's holidays in Outlook, you'll need to import the holidays for 2003 and later years. Outlook 2002's holiday list goes through 2005, although if you upgraded from an older version, your holidays may end with this year as well.

Prior to last week, you needed to find a calendar file from a new version of Outlook and add it to your calendar, which creates duplicates. Outlook 2002 users who imported the new holiday file are faced with duplicates of the older holidays. The easiest way to delete duplicate holidays is to set the calendar view to group by category and then sort by modified date, which reflects the time you added the holidays to your calendar. Select the first item to be deleted, then hold shift and select the last and delete.

After months of complaints about the short-sighted holiday list included with Outlook, Microsoft recently released an update which adds holidays beginning with 2003 and includes all of the countries included with the original holiday file. You can find this new file at

If you want to create your own holidays, such as for company-wide observances or for family observances, you can open the outlook.hol (OL2002) or outlook.txt (previous versions) file using notepad to see the format needed, then create your own file containing your special occasions. Other ways to add holidays include using a custom form to push holidays to users (at or use an iCalendar (at

Sports fans can add their favorite sports team schedule to Outlook's calendar, without a lot of typing by using the free calendars from Calendar-Updates provides professional and college sports schedules, as well as schedules for Golf and NASCAR. Additional calendars utilities, including a liturgical calendar and phases of the moon, are listed at

If you would like more information about calendaring and holidays in Outlook, see

Diane Poremsky is the president of CDOLive LLC and a Microsoft Outlook MVP. She's coauthor of Word 2002: The Complete Reference (Osborne, 2001) and Beginning Visual Basic 6 Application Development (for Wrox Press). For questions or suggestions for future columns, write her at