How to import a list of events into your Outlook Calendar

As a Virtual Assistant I quite often get asked to organise client’s diaries for months at a time, this used to involve going through their Outlook calendar and adding every event and meeting in separately by hand. Until I learned about the import function that the Outlook Calendar has. Not only does this save time, but it is also useful to be able to send these documents to others to add to their diary. The steps to import a list of events to your calendar are below:

  1. Open Excel.
    First we are going to create a spreadsheet with our calendar entries ready to import them to Outlook. The walkthrough assumes that you will manually type in the details, however, the import process works equally well if you have a list of diary entries exported from a different online calendar. Just make sure you rename the column heading in your spreadsheet to match those listed below.
  1. Now we need to name our headings on our Excel sheet. There are a number of headings that we can use, based on what Outlook will recognise. The full list is here:
  • Subject* – This is what your appointment will appear as on your Outlook calendar.
  • Location – This is the location of the appointment.
  • Start Time
  • Start Date*
  • End Time
  • End Date*
  • All Day Event – This is a yes or no answer.
  • Reminder On/Off – This is a yes or no answer.
  • Reminder Date
  • Reminder Time
  • Categories – This is the appointment category.
  • Description – This is the large area of text that can be entered into an appointment.
  • Private – This is a Yes/No flag to determine if anyone else can see this event.
  • Sensitivity


Only the ones with a * are definitely needed and for the benefit of this walkthrough we are only going to use Subject, Location, Start Time & Date, End Time & Date and Description as these are most commonly used.

  1. Format the start date and the end date columns as ‘short date’. To do this, right click on the entire column, by right clicking the letter at the top. Select ‘Date’ and then the short date e.g. 01/01/01. Do the same for the end date column.


  1. Next you need to format the start time and end time columns as time. Again right click on the entire column, but on this occasion select ‘time’.


  1. You are now ready to populate you excel document with the details of your events. My example is below.


  1. Once you have filled in all the details you then need to highlight all your content, click Formulas and then Define Name.


  1. On the box that pops up click OK. I believe doing this helps the two programs talk to each and makes the import quicker and easier but it’s not an entirely necessary process.


  1. Now you need to save your file. Save you file as Calendar Upload or something similar, but you need to save it as a Comma Delimited or CSV file. Do this by selecting CSV in the ‘Save as Type’ dropdown.
  1. Now open up Outlook
  1. Navigate to the calendar you want to add the events to and then click File > Open > Import.import-calendar-events-8
  1. Make sure the ‘Import from another program or file’ section is selected and click next.


  1. Select ‘Comma Separated Value (Windows)


  1. Next click ‘Browse’ and locate your CSV file. Once your file is added, you can tell Outlook how to handle any duplicate calendar entries.
  1. Click Next and then Finishimport-calendar-events-11
  1. You should then see the new events in your calendar.


This whole process is really useful if you manage multiple calendars or if you already have a list of events in an excel file that you want to add to your calendar. If you have read this and practised with this, I recommend trying to include more entries than we have on this initial walkthrough as it all saves you time in the long run. Enjoy!


      • I am using Office 365, and I have the same question. Everything imported, but each is now a “free” time block instead of “out of office” or “busy”. Thanks for your help!

  1. Hi Steph! I want to do the inverse process you just did. I want to export my meetings to an excel file. Not only that, I would like to add custom columns, such as the job tittle of the person I am meeting (which will be typed in in outlook the moment the meeting is scheduled).

    Hope I explained myself. Please help! 🙂

    • Hi Antonio, so this is partly possible from Outlook, dependent upon the version you are using. Are you using the desktop version of Outlook? If so, you can certainly export calendar and contacts from Outlook just by going to File > Open & Export > Export file. This will export your appointments to a CSV file that you can then use as a normal spreadsheet, I think this will also bring through details of the associated contacts, including job title if present on the contact record. The catch here is that this option isn’t available if you are using – does that help?

  2. Hi, it’s the clearest explanation I have seen. Thanks. I wandered if it is possible to automate the process so that when entries are amended or added in the excel workbook they are subsequently changed/added in the outlook calendar. Do you think this is possible?

  3. Hi Jon, I’m not sure on that one to be honest! I don’t think you could do it automatically as the process relies on the import of the spreadsheet. However, I imagine it might be possible to write a Macro that automates part of the process?

  4. I have just created a basic Monthend tasks calendar. Your description was so straightforward and it works. I am now going to experiment with it.
    Thankyou Verny much.

  5. Hi,
    I tried, but my mapping is not working. Do you know why it could be happening?
    (Outlook is not recognizing each column as a field, it is placing it all in one line, separated by “;”)

    thanks for the help!

  6. I’m using Outlook 2010 and these steps do not work. It let’s me finish the whole import, but then nothing shows on my calendar. Any idea?

  7. Steph, This is indeed a thing of beauty. I’m am certainly going to seek out more of your wisdom. Best of all, without specifically saying it, this eased my mind tremendously about my real question: “If I import a file with 10 days of meetings, does it append itself to or *gasp* replace the existing data. It looks like you don’t need to be on your guard about that possibility at all.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the great information.

    I’ve been importing events into Excel for years, but the rules seem to change from time to time. I’m trying to import with multiple categories assigned to some of my imported calendar events. I’ve tried separating the categories with a comma, and with a comma followed by a space, but neither approach worked. Any idea how I do that in Outlook for Office 365 (64 bit, if that matters)?

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I just used it to make a calendar for my daughter showing each math lesson that she needs to finish for the next five months. I had to change around my Excel file that I had already started, and I was committed to entering in all the details into the worksheet, but how much more groovy to give her actual calendar pages so that she can see her progress! I feel like doing cartwheels!

  10. Do you know how to upload all day calendar events so they do not automatically show up as “Busy” aka blocking off the entire rest of the day. Would it be possible to upload all day events so the show the rest of the day as “Free”? Thank you!

  11. Is there a way to cancel meetings using this method as well? I’m using this to create a class calendar, but when sessions get canceled, I have to manually delete them.

  12. Thank you for this very helpful explanation. I’ve been able to successfully import events this way into my main Outlook calendar, but have not been able to import to other calendars in Outlook.
    In step 10, you state that you “Navigate to the calendar you want to add the events to and then click File > Open > Import.”
    When I try to do this, the events show up in my main calendar irrespective of which calendar was open. How do I specify a different calendar as the destination?


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