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Create a custom Outlook holiday file

Posted in Tools by Sumit Thomas on January 8, 2010

Like many of my friends, the first thing I check at the start of the year is the list of public holidays for that year. Outlook’s holiday feature comes really handy as it makes it convenient for me to update my Calendar with a predefined list of holidays.

To add a predefined holiday list to your Outlook calendar go to Tools -> Options -> Calendar Options -> Add Holidays and select your country and click OK.

The predefined holiday list is stored in the file  Outlook.hol which is called as the Outllook holiday file.

You don’t have to stick to the predefined list as you can edit this file and add your custom holidays using a notepad.

A holiday file has the following format…

[Section Name] [Number of Holidays]
Holiday Description, yyyy/mm/dd
Holiday Description, yyyy/mm/dd
Holiday Description, yyyy/mm/dd
and so on..

You can have as many sections as you want.

So what if you want to create your Company specific holiday list? Suppose there is a fictional company ABC, which has branches in Chennai, Bangalore and US. You can create a custom holiday file for this company which can be distributed to all its employees. To do so…

  1. Open notepad and paste the following…
    [ABC Bangalore Office 2010] 15
    Makara Sankranthi    ,2010/1/14
    Republic Day        ,2010/1/26
    Maha Shivarathri    ,2010/2/12
    Ugadi            ,2010/3/16
    Good Friday        ,2010/4/2
    May Day            ,2010/5/1
    Independence Day    ,2010/8/15
    Janmashtami        ,2010/9/1
    Id-ul-fitr (Ramzan)     ,2010/9/10
    Gandhi Jayanti        ,2010/10/2
    Vijaya Dashami        ,2101/10/17
    State Formation Day    ,2010/11/1
    Deepavali        ,2010/11/5
    Bakrid            ,2010/11/17
    Christmas        ,2010/12/25
    
    [ABC Chennai Office 2010] 13
    Pongal            ,2010/1/14
    Republic Day        ,2010/1/26
    Maha Shivarathri    ,2010/2/12
    Good Friday        ,2010/4/2
    May Day            ,2010/5/1
    Independence Day    ,2010/8/15
    Janmashtami        ,2010/9/1
    Id-ul-fitr (Ramzan)     ,2010/9/10
    Gandhi Jayanti         ,2010/10/2
    State Formation Day    ,2010/11/1
    Deepavali        ,2010/11/5
    Bakrid            ,2010/11/17
    Christmas        ,2010/12/25
    
    [ABC US Office 2010] 11
    Memorial Day        ,2010/5/31
    Independence Day    ,2010/7/5
    Labor Day        ,2010/9/6
    Thanksgiving Holiday    ,2010/11/25
    Thanksgiving Holiday    ,2010/11/26
    US Corporate Holiday    ,2010/12/20
    US Corporate Holiday    ,2010/12/21
    US Corporate Holiday    ,2010/12/22
    US Corporate Holiday    ,2010/12/23
    US Corporate Holiday    ,2010/12/24
    New Year's Eve        ,2010/12/31
  2. Save this file as ABC 2010 Holidays.hol

To use this file just double click and select the sections you want to add to your Calendar.

This file can be distributed to all the ABC employees through email or a shared location.

Hope you found it useful!

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