Outlook 2010 has incorrect holidays for UK and many other countries

Quick background information to bring you up to speed: You can add national holidays for your country to your Outlook calendar so they remind you not to go to work that day. Unfortunately Microsoft sometimes get the details wrong for one or two places, but in the case of Outlook 2010 at least 23 countries have incorrect dates for some of their holidays.

In this article I will describe some of the errors, list corrected dates and provide links to files I have prepared with the fixes already in to save you some typing. I have also posted a separate article about adding and removing holidays from your Outlook calendar, rather than making this one even longer with a great big discussion about the mechanics of doing this.

Background

When you add holidays to Outlook, they are read in from a specially formatted text file, formerly outlook.txt, now (since 2002?) renamed to outlook.hol but essentially the same thing. This contains sections for various countries and a couple of religions, so that you can easily choose the ones you are interested in. This approach has a couple of limitations but some upsides too:

  • each holiday is specified as a single date, so even things which have on obvious recurrence pattern must be included several times for different years, which means only a limited number are included in the interests of file size
  • it is hugely subject to human error, as we will see
  • when there are errors, at least you can easily fix them by editing the file or replacing it with one someone else has done (like me)
  • you can add extra sections for “countries” you want to include, such as for a special interest group, or additional company holidays (such as winter shutdown periods)

Outlook 2010 errors

The version of the outlook.hol file which shipped with Outlook 2010 final version (RTM) has some serious flaws in it, affecting at least 23 countries as far as I can see (basically most of Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand), and likely many others I have not been able to identify. As I mentioned above, because of the way this file is used, this is relatively easy to fix as it is not an actual bug in the program, but is still very annoying, especially for anybody that has already imported the incorrect holidays.

After much effort, a couple of phone calls and emails and a long-winded web form, I finally managed to log a support call with Microsoft* – not to get a solution (since I could easily fix the problem for my own individual case and share that with my clients as well) but to alert them to the breadth of the problem so they might come up with a hotfix (as they have done before for similar problems) or include an updated file in the next service pack. So far there seems to be some dragging of feet and although they have said they are hoping to get a hotfix out I got bored waiting and thought I might as well share the information I have so that others might benefit. (Update: MS have now closed the support call, saying a fix will come out with sp1 and no sooner)

I have a client with several hundred users in the UK and thousands worldwide who are migrating from Lotus Domino (Notes) to Exchange right now, and I want to be able to work with them to make sure they get a fixed version of the file before users start adding holidays all over the place.

Four main problem areas

I first noticed the problem with the holidays because of some incorrect dates for Easter Monday. I was also adding school holidays to Outlook and realised the Spring bank holiday in 2012 is not the usual last-Monday-in-May. I also spotted that Christmas and Boxing Day always show on the “correct” dates, when I really need to see the Bank Holidays if this is to be useful at all. In the end this got me digging deeper in the file and I found four main classes of problem relating to the UK and many other countries too:

  • Incorrect dates for Easter Monday from 2013 to 2019 (or 2020 in some cases)
  • No lieu days shown for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day when they fall on a weekend
  • No additional holidays for Scotland (even though there are holidays for Northern Ireland included in the UK)
  • UK Spring Bank Holiday is incorrect for 2012 since there is a special case because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Update: there is also now an additional public holiday in the UK on 29th April 2011 for the Royal Wedding, although to be fair to Microsoft they could not have known about that since it had not been announced.

Note: I have only checked the English language version of the file so it is possible that for some of the countries I have identified as having incorrect dates, those dates might be correct in the files that would normally be used in those countries in their native language. The cynical side of my head says that may not be the case…

How to fix the holidays file

There are a few different approaches you can take here, which largely depend on whether you just want a one-off fix for your own machine, or a wider-scale rollout for an entire organisation. You can use a file someone else has already corrected (such as the ones I have created and linked to below) or go in and fix, amend and add to the file yourself.

First let’s look at where the file is and how it is formatted so you can make changes to it if you want to.

Finding the outlook.hol file

The outlook.hol file is shared between all users as it is stored along with your installation of Outlook. This is in:

<program files>\Microsoft Office\Office<version>\<LCID>

The <program files> folder would usually be C:\Program Files\ unless you are running a 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit version of Windows (quite common now for Office 2010 on Windows 7), in which case you need the one in C:\Program files (x86)\.

The <version> is the internal version number, so 2010 is version 14, 2007 was v12, 2003 is v11 and so on (there’s no unlucky version 13!).

The <LCID> is the “locale ID” associated with the country and language of your installation. There is a list of all Locale IDs Assigned by Microsoft on MSDN which you can use to identify which one you need, but notice that the code used here is for the language of your installation not necessarily proofing tools or anything else you configured – so in the case of most (all?) of the English speaking world, the code you are looking for is 1033 for US English, as that is the language the program runs in, even if you have things like British English spell checking enabled (the .lex files used by proofing tools are not stored in LCID folders, but simply named according to language such as MSSP7ES.LEX for the Spanish spell checking dictionary). There is no installation for British English, Strine or any other variation.

The path on my machine running Office 2010 32 bit edition installed in US English, on a Windows 7 64-bit machine is:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\1033

In that folder you will find the Outlook.hol file, which any user can access, but only administrators can modify it. So, the best thing to at this stage is simply to copy it then paste it somewhere else such as your My Documents folder or some temporary directory. This is sensible practice anyway, as you probably want to work on a copy of the file rather than editing the original in situ.

If you create your own version or borrow mine you can use this without putting it anywhere special, although I would recommend replacing the original broken

Structure of the holidays file

The file has a very simple structure, with a section for each country which is named inside square brackets followed by a number indicating how many entries there are for that location. For example:

[Australia] 172
Anzac Day,2009/4/25
Anzac Day,2010/4/25
Anzac Day,2011/4/25
… …

In the built-in file the countries are listed alphabetically, although this makes no difference as Outlook will always present the list in alphabetical order regardless of the way they are arranged in the file. If you want to add an extra country (such as Scotland) or a non-country (for additional company days off perhaps) you can do this anywhere, and the end of the file is probably a good place for these.

Each date entry has the form of a label for the day, a comma then the date in yyyy/m/d format. I have seen documentation claiming that this should be yyyy/mm/dd which is strange since the built-in entries don’t do that, and as far as my tests have shown, you can use either form, but you must use four digit years. One commenter below has pointed out that Outlook 2003 only works with month and day when they have no leading zeroes (although I have not independently tested this) – thanks, Andrew!

So now you can change any incorrect entries to fix them simply by editing the existing text, but what about adding new dates?

Adding extra holidays

You may want to add some additional dates for your country (that sounds surreally patriotic – “Add a holiday – do it for your country, comrade!”) which is easy enough to do, and you can even paste in whole chunks if you want to, but you must remember to change the number of entries at the top next to the country name accordingly.

If you add lines but don’t increase the number, things will appear to work but when you import the holidays Outlook will simply read the number of lines indicated and stop, so you may miss out loads of holidays you wanted to import. For each of the errors described in detail later in this article I have included the number of holidays listed so if you are using these to edit the file yourself you know what number to add. The section for United Kingdom has 172 to start with, so if you extend the dates for some holidays out to 2035 that adds 3 x 7 = 21, then add the lieu days for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year (3 x 8 = 24), then add the three corrected dates for May/June 2012 minus the incorrect one, plus a Royal Wedding this is a total of +48 = 220 lines total.

If you remove lines for any reason (such as holidays which are not observed across the whole country) and forget to decrease the number, you will get error messages when you try to import, but as far as I can see no damage is done, it simply imports as many as it can and either runs into the next country or the end of the file and stops. If you are editing the file in order for other people to use it you want to make sure you have eliminated any issues like this, so do make sure the number is correct. If you don’t want to see the Battle of the Boyne or St. Patrick’s Day for example you could remove these and decrease the count by 40 (leaving 132 based on the original file, or 180 with my suggested amendments).

Using or sharing your corrected file

Once you have a new version of your holiday file you can simply double click on it to add the holidays from there – you don’t need to put the file in any particular folder or give it a special name. This is fine for a quick one-off but less useful for administrators wanting to help out their whole company’s users. A simple option if you are just distributing a few updates such as additional company dates would be to email the file out to people or put it in a fileshare that users have access to, but this still means that anyone who uses the normal method to add holidays will get the wrong dates too, so you may be better to replace the file on everyone’s machine instead.

The only challenge to getting an updated file out to people is that it needs to replace the existing one, and that is under “Program files” which is not accessible to normal users. If your users are running with local admin rights then you will have no problem with this (although you probably have much bigger problems such as malware to worry about). The easiest solution would normally be to put the file in a share which is available to “authenticated users” to read, and then to include an appropriate line in a machine startup script (applied via group policy most likely) to copy the file down (use xcopy / robocopy so you only copy the file once, not every time the machine starts up). Don’t forget that the file must be called “outlook.hol” for it to be recognised and used by Outlook when users add holidays through the GUI.

If you clone machines as a method of deploying new workstations, make sure the corrected file goes into your “gold” build; if you use other deployment tools or scripts make sure it is included as part of that process.

Note that if Microsoft do issue a service pack, this might overwrite your file with their version (which may or may not be correct), or it might deliberately avoid doing so (this was the case with holiday updates issued for Outlook 2003 for example) and you might miss out on other fixes that you did not know about.

Corrected files and additions available for download

Major fixes

If you don’t particularly want to bother editing the file yourself, I have done most of the hard work for you and fixed all the problems discussed in this article, for all 23 affected countries. I have also extended the dates out to 2035 (for the United Kingdom) for Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year, added Scotland as a country, and thrown in a bonus of dates for System Administrator Appreciation Day (as a separate optional “country” to add).

You may find that the links below appear to fail with a 404 if you just click on them, so you probably need to do a right click > Save Target As (or Save Link As, or whatever terminology your chosen browser uses) then choose where to save the file you want. If this does not seem to work with your browser (Firefox seems fine but IE is giving me grief), try the second link to download it as a .txt file and then change the filename to drop the extension.

Download a fixed version of outlook.hol holidays file

Download a fixed version of outlook.hol holidays file with a .txt extension

Alternative files

Rather than replace the entire file, you might want to just add in the corrected UK dates (and ignore the incorrect ones or manually delete these from your calendar). For this you want the UK additions file which has extra years, lieu days, Scottish holidays and SysAdmin Day (three separate countries so you can add what you want).

There is also a corrected, updated complete version of the dates for the UK mainland only, not Northern Ireland additional holidays.

I have also created a file designed for UK users who also want to be able to add holidays for Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Hungary and Poland without duplication of all the ones which are repeated in all those countries such as Christmas and Easter (yes, I had a specific reason to choose those countries for a client of mine).

You can download a zip file containing all 4 of the above, which might also help with problems some people have had in getting these to save.

Of course, you may not want any of these particular alternatives, but they may give you a useful starting point for ideas and a basis to start copying and pasting from – just remember to make sure the number of entries for a country is correct to avoid any problems.

Outlook 2010 holiday Errors in detail

The errors described briefly above are covered below, including the two different Easter Monday problems, and in most cases I have included my suggested additions if you want to correct your own files, or of course you can simply use my ready-made files with these changes already embedded.

Easter Monday on the same repeated date of 13th April

Despite the obvious rule that Easter Monday is on the day after Easter Sunday this was incorrect in many cases for the UK. 13th April was the correct date for 2009 and will be again in 2020, but the file lists this as the date for 2013 to 2019 as well, despite this not even being a Monday in those years and they got Easter Sunday correct in every case. The fact that they are correct up to 2012 is almost certainly because that was the last year included in the outlook.hol file for Outlook 2007, so someone obviously started from that base and added a bunch of new dates but forgot to change them for each year.

This error is repeated for 6 countries: Andorra, Australia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic and United Kingdom.

The correct dates for Easter Monday from 2013 to 2020 should be those shown below but this is a replacement rather than an addition, so no net difference in number of entries:

Easter Monday,2013/4/1
Easter Monday,2014/4/21
Easter Monday,2015/4/6
Easter Monday,2016/3/28
Easter Monday,2017/4/17
Easter Monday,2018/4/2
Easter Monday,2019/4/22
Easter Monday,2020/4/13

Easter Monday on the same date as Easter Sunday

As if that was not enough, for 17 other countries, for all the years from 2013 to 2020 Easter Monday is shown as the same date as Easter Sunday. Yes, you can have twice as many Easter eggs but you have to go to work on Monday morning! Again, dates up to 2012 are fine.

The 17 countries where this version of the Easter Monday problem exists are: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand (odd that this has a different issue from Australia, I think), Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland.

The correct dates are the same as those given above.

Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s day falling on weekends

OK, strictly speaking the dates for these don’t change so the file is not incorrect in one sense, but since it is a feature to add holidays to my calendar, it is useless if it does not actually achieve that objective. In the UK when these kind of fixed-date holidays fall on a weekend, we get a day in lieu in the following week to make up for it (so the Monday or as is the case this year, both Monday and  Tuesday as both dates are at the weekend). I know that in some other countries they don’t apply this kind of rule for all holidays (for example in Germany if a Saint’s day is on the weekend you simply miss out), and in others they take the nearer date (ie. Friday for Saturday, Monday for Sunday). Either way these ought to have been included for several countries and they are not.

So, if we leave the original dates in place, the 24 additional holidays as days “in lieu” from 2009 to 2035 would be:

Christmas Day (lieu day),2010/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2011/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2016/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2021/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2022/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2027/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2032/12/27
Christmas Day (lieu day),2033/12/27
Boxing Day (lieu day),2009/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2010/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2015/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2020/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2021/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2026/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2027/12/28
Boxing Day (lieu day),2032/12/28
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2011/1/3
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2012/1/2
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2017/1/2
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2022/1/3
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2023/1/2
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2028/1/3
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2033/1/3
New Year’s Day (lieu day),2034/1/2

Incidentally, there are probably other holidays which should also have an extra day added in a similar way. Australia Day for example is celebrated on 26th January, but when that is at the weekend it seems to be common practice to have an extra “Australia Day (observance)” in the calendar, but I can’t find a definitive reference to what the rule is (nearest day, following week, or some arbitrary government decision). If you have any specific examples of this kind of thing I’d love to hear from you in the comments, ideally with citations.

No Scottish holidays

There are two main differences for Scottish holidays from the rest of the UK:

  • In Scotland they party even harder at New Year, so they need two days to get over it, and when it is a weekend as well they add their usual level of indulgence on top so they also need an extra day in lieu when the 2nd January falls on a weekend
  • The August Bank Holiday which is seen by many Brits as signalling the end of summer and the onset of cold wet weather does not make sense in Scotland (I’m not sure if this is because it is always cold and wet up there, or because the change comes earlier), so they have their August holiday on the first Monday of that month rather than the last.

Since Microsoft have managed to include Northern Ireland holidays along with the UK but totally omitted Scotland, I have added Scotland as a country in its own right in my fixed files so you can choose to include these or not, in addition to the rest of the UK. The “2nd January Holiday” is shown on the day it is observed, rather than always on the 2nd (it seemed a bit redundant to label the 2nd January as “2nd January” and then have a lieu day as well). You could of course take this idea further and have a section for all the Scots holidays including those also celebrated south of the border but without any of the Sassenach-only ones such as Late August.

The additional section for Scotland might look like the example below, with 54 entries in total if you include dates up to 2035 as I have done in the downloadable files linked here.

[Scotland] 54
2nd January Holiday,2009/1/2
2nd January Holiday,2010/1/4
2nd January Holiday,2011/1/4
2nd January Holiday,2012/1/3
… …
Summer Bank Holiday,2033/8/1
Summer Bank Holiday,2034/8/7
Summer Bank Holiday,2035/8/6

UK Spring Bank Holiday 2012 and Royal Wedding 2011

In the UK we have two national holidays in May – the May Bank Holiday on the first Monday of the month, and the Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday. The outlook.hol file follows this pattern correctly, and this would be fine except for a spanner thrown into the works because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Firstly we get an extra holiday overlooked by the team at Microsoft on 5th June 2012, and secondly the end of May holiday has been moved to 4th June to act as a “bridging day” and give us a four day weekend. I can forgive people outside the UK for not knowing this (or frankly my dear for not giving a damn). I had no idea until I was looking at school holidays, and from the dozen or so people I mentioned this to since, none had any idea this was happening.

So, we need to add two dates to the holiday file, and I would suggest you should also explicitly include the non-Bank holiday so that it is clear to people who might otherwise assume it is just missed out and add it for themselves and take the wrong day off. In my amended files I have taken out the wrong one and replaced it with the explicit NOT shown below, so the net difference is two additions. The three added dates are:

NOT a Bank Holiday see 4th June,2012/5/28
Spring Bank Holiday,2012/6/4
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee,2012/6/5

We also need to add another extra one for the public holiday we have been granted to help us celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton:

Royal Wedding,2011/4/29

Addition information and references

The Bank Holiday dates for the UK and Scotland (for the next few years at least) can be confirmed at the official UK.gov page here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/LivingintheUK/DG_073741 (=http://tinyurl.com/5kdoa4)

*About that support ticket: because I am an MCT I get two free support tickets with Microsoft. I had to use one of them as the only way I could make them aware of the problem as an official bug report, rather than risk losing it in the noise of the support forums. If I had been a regular customer who would have had to pay to do this I think I might not have bothered.

About ukcrmguru
I'm an MVP for Dynamics CRM, consultant, Microsoft Certified Trainer and self-confessed geek. I also lead the UK CRM User group when I'm not too busy with all that.

29 Responses to Outlook 2010 has incorrect holidays for UK and many other countries

  1. Chan says:

    Hi,
    Great work. Although your link isn’t working at the moment.

    I’m starting to see a pattern in Microsoft’s products… I shouldn’t complain. It keeps me in a job.

    • Adam Vero says:

      Thanks for your comment.
      I’m not sure why the links don’t work and 404 if you click on them, but they do seem OK if you do a right click > save as method.
      If I get a chance I’ll put up a zip file with them all in and see if that is any better.

      • Chan says:

        Sorry but Save As doesn’t work for me.

      • Adam Vero says:

        Very odd. It works fine in Firefox but not in IE8. I had tried filenames with and without spaces, and changed the links in case the problem was to do with case-sensitive filenames. No joy at all with IE.
        So I have now republished the original fixed file by adding a .txt extension (since it is only a plain text file anyway) so it is now Outlook_new.hol.txt. Although this means an extra step to rename this, at least you can get a corrected copy of the file.
        I’ve also added a zip archive with all four of the others inside, and this one seems to work fine with a normal click or a “save as”. Both the links are in the original article above as well
        Thanks for your persistence, hopefully you can get these now and reap the benefit!

      • Chan says:

        Thanks mate your a champ!

  2. Fred says:

    Brilliant. Thanks for doing all the work!

  3. Neil Bennett says:

    This is very useful, thanks a lot…

    FFI though, Fri 29 Apr 2011 is also a Bank Holiday in the UK now, due to the Royal Wedding (Prince William and Kate Middleton).

  4. Adam Vero says:

    Thanks Neil.
    I had noticed that the other day when I was putting school holidays on the new kitchen calendar for 2011, and had not got round to adding it yet.
    I have now added a line and incremented the number of holidays and updated all the files here.
    MS have confirmed to me that they do not intend to do anything about this until sp1 sometime in 1st half of 2011, so the Royal Wedding may well be long gone by the time a fix comes out.

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  6. Tony says:

    Hi.

    I’m in a bit of a pickle. I already added the holidays as normal and decided to download your corrected holidays file OUTLOOK.HOL. Now i have 2 lots of holidays in my calendar.

    Can anyone tell me how to revert back to normal please.
    Thanks
    Tony

    • Adam Vero says:

      Tony
      Sorry I did not see your comments last night.
      You would also find the answer in my previous post http://blog.meteorit.co.uk/2010/09/03/how-to-add-national-holidays-in-outlook-2010/ in the section called “Removing Holidays from your Outlook Calendar”, where I recommend using “location” rather than “category” to sort these.

      Extract from that article:

      You might need to remove holidays from your Outlook Calendar for various reasons:

      – If you still have holidays going way back from previous versions of Outlook you have used
      – You have holidays showing for a country you no longer need to see (maybe for a supplier or customer you no longer deal with)
      – You added holidays before you realised some of them might have been incorrect
      – After adding holidays for multiple countries you have lots of duplicates for dates which are celebrated in many countries (eg. New Year, Christmas, Easter, various Islamic festivals and so on)
      – Some of the holidays you added do not apply to you (eg. in the mainland UK you may not be interested in the holidays which only apply in Northern Ireland such as the Battle of the Boyne and St. Patrick’s day)

      I have seen various articles in the past which discuss using the categories to search on and identify these, but I find this is not ideal if you have added multiple countries, or when you have also added your own holidays for time off work and used the same category for these dates as well. I would suggest instead using the “location” which you might normally use to show where an appointment or meeting is to take place, such as in a booked room or more generally a particular site, office or even town.

      Once you have your column layout, the first thing to do is sort on “Location” by clicking on that column heading … so you now have everything sorted by Location (eg. all “United Kingdom” together…). To select a whole block and get rid of them click on the first item then hold Shift and click on the last and you will get a continuous set from one to the other. I would suggest you do this to remove all the holidays for the United Kingdom because you know they include wrong data and you will want to start from scratch before importing a new set of corrected dates.

  7. Adam Cooper says:

    Thank you for this, really great and informative article.

  8. Dr. Bartolo says:

    This is terrific stuff, but unfortunately it does not cope with the peculiar holiday rules in some places, such as France. There, if a public holiday falls on a non-working day it is automatically moved to the next working day. However, Saturday is counted as a working day so that if a holiday falls on a Saturday it is lost (although employers need to pay an extra day if, as is nowadays the case for large numbers of workers – but not all – Saturday is not actually worked). This would mean adding in what you call “lieu days” all over the place.

    Also I prefer UK spelling to US, so “Labor” becomes “Labour” etc.

    • Adam Vero says:

      Thanks for your comments.
      You are absolutely right that the rules vary in different countries.

      In the UK a public holiday (such as Christmas Day) falling at a weekend is given on the next available working day, so the Monday (whether 25th is a Saturday or Sunday). Boxing Day on 26th December may move to the following Monday, or the Tuesday if Christmas has already moved to the Monday. Our UK-specific “Bank Holidays” are always on a Monday (eg first Monday in May, last Monday in August); Easter holidays always Good Friday and Easter Monday, so none of these ever have to move.
      In other countries such as the US (I believe), public holidays based on a fixed date move to the nearest available working day, so Saturday > Friday, Sunday > Monday. Again, some are on specific weekdays anyway so never move, such as President’s Day or Thanksgiving.
      In many European countries they appear to have loads of public holidays for many saint’s days, but in lots of cases such as in Germany, these are always on a fixed date and do not move, so each year some are lost and some are holidays, so on average they actually end up with a similar number of free days to the UK.
      Outlook does not even attempt to understand such complex rules, each holiday is simply an event in the calendar, so you can either create a calendar file with the original festivals moved (eg Christmas Day on Monday December 26th) which can look odd, or add ‘lieu’ days instead, which is what I tend to do so people don’t think their calendar is broken. I use Excel to take the original dates and then create lieu dates as well where needed, and parse all this together ready to export to a text file.

  9. Andrew Wheatley says:

    Couple of comments:

    1. In outlook 2003, dates with leading zeros do *not* work. For example 2010/6/5 would work but not 2010/06/05.

    2. The moved Spring Bank holiday and the one-off UK jubilee holiday in 2012 (2012-06-05) are both correct in my employer’s version of Outlook 2010, but the Jubilee is described as an additional Spring Bank holiday. If there has been a fix for Outlook 2003 my employer has not deployed it, leading me to think there hasn’t been one.

    As regards the missing Scottish August holiday I have never understood why this is missing from Microsoft’s file. Northern Ireland holidays are included, and NI has a smaller population than Scotland; however, NI follows the England and Wales practice and only adds two more holidays, St Patrick’s Day and Battle of the Boyne. The situation in Scotland is complex because although Scotland has a different August holiday, its banks close on the English one. Therefore any file of Scottish holidays ought to include the English Autumn holiday as well to be useful to business users. In short, as long as the UK continues to include Scotland, there is no reason for Microsoft’s file to omit the Scottish August holiday (or their New Year’s Day+1 holiday).

    • Adam Vero says:

      Andrew
      Thanks for the comments
      It does look like there has been a fix for the UK moved May holiday + Jubilee dates, although I can’t find any reference to these or any other corrections in descriptions of hotfixes or service pack 1. I don’t have these changes in my installation because it seems that whatever the update does, it does not apply updates to the outlook.hol file if you have already made changes to it since the originally installed one. I guess this makes sense so you don’t lose changes you made, and is another reason to use one of the deployment methods such as directing users to a new .hol file which is on a fileshare to get the updates, rather than actually pushing out a changed file.

      As for Scotland, I think those on the other side of the pond think it’s that small county just a bit north of Birmingham. I really can’t understand this attitude when the extra days are pretty simple to understand and, as you say, there are more people in Scotland than in many of the countries represented in the file (actually there are more people in Glasgow than in some of the countries in there…).

  10. Bog Trotter says:

    Excellent work. But I have to correct you on your Geography as I come from Northern Ireland. If you check your passport it says the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Hence Northern Ireland is in the UK (United Kingdom) and thus should be included. The mistake by MS on Scotland’s behalf is just ridiculous since many people, like yourself, think that UK means Great Britain or England Wales and Scotland. Still many thanks for your hard work.

    • Adam Vero says:

      Thanks for the comment.
      I am well aware that NI is part of the UK (which is why St. Patrick’s flag is part of the Union Jack/Flag as well). However, I am sure you would agree that by MS definition, the holidays for the UK means “holidays which apply everywhere in the UK”. It would not be helpful to those in England, Wales, or Scotland for that matter to have NI-only holidays show up as if they were applicable in all regions, nor for others to see Scots ones and so on. I think that following the convention of most diaries, calendars etc to show holidays which are held in the whole of the UK as “default” and showing additional Scots or NI ones for those regions only makes good sense, but they do need to make sure they follow this properly and allow users to add Scotland or Northern Ireland holidays on top (or instead of) the ‘English’ ones. I must admit I have not checked what applies to other territories or the British isles – do they have an August Bank Holiday in the Falkland Islands, for example?
      Don’t get too hung up on the use of the term “country” in these discussions – some of the territories are definitely not countries, such as holy days for particular religions, so it is clearly meant to be a loose definition which can be taken to mean whatever is most useful in context. If Scotland and Northern Ireland want to observe separate holidays, then I think it is reasonable to treat them as additional “countries” for the purpose of Outlook calendars. If you want to be considered a single country, then maybe you should give up your extra days off and have only the same holidays as we do over here!

  11. Easy Does It says:

    Thanks for this, saved me a lot of work!

  12. Tom Brady says:

    Tom Brady

    Hello Adam, thanks for this well delivered,helpful information.You have managed to convey it in understandable terminology without lapsing into techie speak.

  13. Frank says:

    Thanks for doing what Microsoft could not.

  14. ecs says:

    I came to this page because I discovered that the date for the first day of summer bank holiday in Iceland is incorrect in 2013. It’s listed as being the 18th but it’s actually the 25th. Thanks for the detailed description of how to fix this- was able to make the repair myself.

    • Adam Vero says:

      You’re welcome, glad my article could help. If I get a chance I’ll try to get the files updated for that error too – what month are you talking about?

  15. Rob C says:

    Users of Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011 on the Mac OS X operating system will find exactly the same calendar issues described by Adam. The text file that needs to be edited (or replaced) as per Adam’s instructions is simply called Holidays [no file extension]. Its location is: Macintosh HD/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Holidays.

  16. Tim Gill says:

    Really helpful – I used one of your files to add in UK dates for Outlook 2003, as the dates included had run out (that’s built-in obsolescence for you). It was a tiny bit fiddly, but all the info was in your post.

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