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Customize Outlook Holidays calendar 2010/2013 - Part I

Customized Outlook 2010 / Outlook 2013 calendar for your organization Part I

How easy would it be if you can check all your holidays of a year without searching the email of your HR,
as at times you can be lucky and you have the email in front of you., but other times you may not be so
lucky so we are discussing below how easily you can have all this information collected with few clicks
for your office location.

Recently we had a requirement where Microsoft OUTLOOK.HOL file was not mitigating our necessity.
Our Client was seeking something more easy way and less task from end user point of view, so we went
through testing and came with two viable ways through which we can share Holidays calendar throughout
the organizationand for different locations without much trouble from end user.


Outlook 2010 holiday calendar and Outlook 2013 holiday calendar Manually editing OUTLOOK.HOL file.

PATH:
Office 2010: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033
Office 2013: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\1033

Now open OUTLOOK.HOL with Notepad and edit, in our case we have inserted below location specific holidays.

[India] 5
Gandhi Jayanti,2012/10/2
Gandhi Jayanti,2013/10/2
Gandhi Jayanti,2014/10/2
Gandhi Jayanti,2015/10/2
Gandhi Jayanti,2016/10/2

[India, Chennai] 5
Republic Day,2014/1/26
Independence Day,2014/08/15
Dussehra,2014/10/03
Dipawali,2014/10/23
Dipawali,2014/10/24

[India, Kolkata] 5
Republic Day,2014/1/26
Independence Day,2014/08/15
Dussehra,2014/10/03
Dipawali,2014/10/23
Dipawali,2014/10/24

[India, Gujarat] 9
Republic Day,2014/1/26
Gudi Padwa,2014/03/31
Maharashtra Day or Labour Day,2014/05/01
Eid-ul-Fitr,2014/07/29
Independence Day,2014/08/15
Vinayaka Chaturthi,2014/08/29
Dussehra,2014/10/03
Dipawali,2014/10/23
Dipawali,2014/10/24

[India, Maharashtra] 9
Republic Day,2014/1/26
Gudi Padwa,2014/03/31
Maharashtra Day or Labour Day,2014/05/01
Eid-ul-Fitr,2014/07/29
Independence Day,2014/08/15
Vinayaka Chaturthi,2014/08/29
Dussehra,2014/10/03
Dipawali,2014/10/23
Dipawali,2014/10/24

Understanding Above inputs:
Part 1: [India, Maharashtra] 9  -  Name to be kept for output inside bracket [India, Maharashtra] and 9 is for number of rows as data to be feed.
Part 2: Republic Day,2014/1/26 – First Comes the name of the event with a comma, and the YYYY/MONTH/DATE
So on you can add other events..
Now save the file in your Desktop and replace it with the original OUTLOOK.HOL file. We did this without exiting Outlook 2013.

Screenshot:



 3


  
So now to import calendars on your local machine goto Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 path: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Calendar Options -> Add Holidays



After your Click OK you be provided with below POP UP window:


Now Goto your Calendar and check, as in our case we had an event for Republic Day which has appeared as we had expected.
 

Now distributing the OUTLOOK.HOL file to other machines:

You’ll have to create a batch file for Outlook 2010 and 2013:
\\MYPCD\OUTLOOK.HOL - its a share file created in my PDC you can create anywhere and paste the new generated OUTLOOK.HOL to be shared with other clients in your network.

1. For Outlook 2010 Copy below text and save as Calendar2010.bat
ren C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033\OUTLOOK.HOL C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033\OUTLOOK.HOL.old
copy /Y \\MYPDC\OUTLOOK.HOL C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033\
2. For Outlook 2013 Copy below text and save as Calendar2013.bat
ren C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\1033\OUTLOOK.HOL C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\1033\OUTLOOK.HOL.old
copy /Y \\MYPDC\OUTLOOK.HOL C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\1033\

Now your batch files are ready to be shared to your end users:

Our Infrastructure has Windows 2008 R2, so we have used the same for below task:
Create a new Group Policy for the same:
Goto Run from your Primary Domain Controller, and type  "gpmc.msc"-> Expand domain -> Right Click Group Policy Objects -> Click New -> Enter the Name of the GPO and Click Ok.
Right click the Newly created GPO and expand User Configuration -> Expand Policies -> Expand Windows Settings -> Select Scripts (logon/logoff) and add the batch files that we created earlier.
 
Group Policy

There is a drawback that this script will keep renaming the OUTLOOK.HOL file each time users keeps login in, so when you think that all the changes to OUTLOOK.HOL has been replicated throughout your infrastructure you can disable the Group Policy till the next change on the for the Holidays Calendar.

No worries if the above steps is not feasible for your infrastructure we will post another easy way you can share calendars for each locations in your Infrastructure.

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