In education, we have about a dozen different work year calendars. Administration are here year round, teachers work 190 days, paraprofessionals are scheduled a bit less, and the list goes on.
Outlook holiday files provide an easy way to import our work year calendar so that events show up on our Outlook calendar.
While there are a few different ways to create calendar events in Exchange / Office 365, I prefer using Outlook holiday files because they are:
- User driven: the end user selects the event groups that they want to see.
- Simple: a holiday file is just a text document that Office Outlook can import.
To create your own holiday file, download this template or paste the contents into a TXT file.
At the top of the file, you will see a header for the first event group, [12 Month Admin, 2019-2020]. This group has 34 entries with it. Line 2 starts with the first event name, Holiday, followed by the event date.
To keep things simple, I don’t use actual holiday names and instead just write Holiday. The first screenshot at the top of this page show how lines 2-5 look on my Outlook calendar.
In your text file, scroll down to line 36 and to see the next event group, [Teachers, 2019-2020].
Outlook holiday files are simple. A header is needed for each event group. The header should include the number of events followed by a comma. Below the header is an event on a separate line. This continues until you reach a new event group/header.
That is all there is to an Outlook holiday file. I find it easier to start with our year round employee calendar and then use it to start all of the other event groups (cutting out the lines that I don’t need).
After all of the event groups have been created, rename the file so that it has a .HOL extension. Open Microsoft Office Outlook and then double click on it. You should see a prompt to import the event groups, check any that you want.
This file can be emailed out. Your staff can import their events by just double clicking on the attachment, checking their event group, and pressing OK.
When new work calendars are approved the next year, copy your old file and do a fine/replace to update dates. The whole process takes me about 15 minutes each year.