Deleting Holidays

How to delete ‘duplicate’ holidays in Outlook.

When you add holidays to Outlook, sometimes you can end up with duplicate entries because Outlook isn’t smart enough to detect simple duplications in the calendar.

Here’s an example of triplication of holiday items in the Outlook Calendar.  It’s easy to do given Outlook’s poor holidays support. image from Deleting Holidays at

Removing the duplicates is easy, in fact there are at least three ways to do it.

Go to the Calendar, switch to List view. This is useful view to keep in mind for various purposes because you can group and sort calendar items in ways not available in standard calendar views.

Arrange by Category

Choose ‘Arrange by Category’ image from Deleting Holidays at

Minimize other categories and scroll down to the Holidays category. Sort the list by Start by clicking on that column. That will put duplicate entries next to each other. image from Deleting Holidays at

Click on the duplicates and delete.

Arrange by date created

This method does run the risk of deleting new but unduplicated entries.

In List view, choose ‘Add a Column’ from the ribbon. Add the item called ‘Created’ which is the date each calendar item was added. image from Deleting Holidays at

Then in List view, sort by the created column and the newly added holidays will be at the top ready to delete.

Another option is to sort by the Location column since all added holidays have the country in the Location field (i.e.  United States, Germany etc).

Start Again

Another option is to delete all holidays and then reinstall holidays from Outlook’s default list.

Sadly, there’s no easy way to know which years that Outlook will add holidays for. Yet another shortcoming of Outlook’s incomplete Holiday support.

We suggest the first method because it lets you see duplicates and remove those while leaving solo holidays in place.

Why do we have to bother?

The better question is why Microsoft has a system that lets duplicate holidays to be added in the first place. Outlook can detect duplicate contacts and even merge the details into a single entry.

But it’s apparently beyond Microsoft’s power to detect two holiday items with the same name and date. Of course it’s not beyond Microsoft’s ability, just their willingness to spend development money on, what to them, is a trivial thing.

When adding holidays, there’s no indication of which holidays or even the range of years that will be added. What would be good is the option to choose the year/s for new holidays. That simple option would prevent many of the duplicate holiday problems that arise from the current ‘all or nothing’ approach.

Here in the 21st Century, Outlook customers deserve some attention to these annoyances.