Friday, January 09, 2009

Creating custom Holiday (.hol) file for MS Outlook

A holiday file (.hol) is used to add/share important dates in Microsoft Outlook calendar. This not only helps easing the process of adding the holidays, but also makes it easy to share them across with your colleagues or friends. eg., you can create a holiday file for 'holidays for the year 2009' and share it with your friends or create 'birthdays in our family' and share it without your family members.

A holiday file can have 1 or more sections each separated by an empty line. Each section is of the following form:

[Name of the section]<number of elements>
<Name of the holiday>, yyyy/mm/dd
<Name of the holiday>, yyyy/mm/dd
(as many entries as the number of elements)

<next section>

A sample holiday file with only one section will look like, (sample covers only upto Apr 2009)

[Public Holidays 2009]5
New Year Day,2009/01/01
Republic Day,2009/01/26
Good Friday,2009/04/10

You can create as many sections as you need like this.

Installing holidays from a holiday file:

Installing holidays into your outlook is very simple. Make sure outlook is running. Double click the .hol file. A popup is opened which displays all the sections in your .hol holiday file. You can select the sections you want to import and all the associated holidays get added into your outlook calendar. Thats it.

If my mistake you tried to add the same section again, Outlook asks you if you want to add it again. Remember that, adding it again does not mean replacing it. If you add a section again, you will see duplicate entries in holidays for that section in your calendar.

Now, you can create your own holiday files as necessary and distribute them.


  1. This is really awesome, but how to delete these holidays once added??

  2. The holidays get added to your outlook calendar. As far as I know, there is no easy way to delete only the specific entries that belong to a given holiday file.

  3. You can go in to your Calendar, select View tab at the top, select Change view button, Select List. This will bring up the List of items on your calendar. Sort the Categories column and all of your Holidays will be on one group. You can select all the Holidays that you want to delete and delete them!

  4. any chance to add multi-day events?

  5. This is very helpful, thank you. How do you add the reminder? is there a way to set show time as "out of office"?

  6. This is very helpful, thank you. How do you add the reminder? is there a way to set show time as "out of office"?

  7. I too am looking how to add reminders and set the free/busy to out of office. I have seen mention to using a CSV instead, which by the sounds you perhaps rename back to a .HOL. Anyone have any more info??

  8. I have created my .hol file, but when I double click it, it just opens notepad - nothing happens with Outlook.
    How do I get my .hol file into outlook??