How To Remove Phantom Unread Events From Outlook After Importing iCal File

Originally posted to microsoft.public.outlook.calendaring Usenet group, April 10th, 2007

I just spend about 4-hours between yesterday afternoon and this morning trying to import an iCal file into Outlook 2003. No errors occurred during the numerous importing attempts, but afterwards the events did not appear on the days that they should have. Yet the number of unread/upcoming events next to the calendar name increased every time I tried to import.

I tried searching for the missing items using the Advanced Find dialog, but they would never appear in the results. I even tried exporting the whole calendar as an Excel file using a very wide date range (all events from 1970 through 2038), but the events were not listed in the export either.

Finally, I tried applying the predefined “By Category” filter to the standard Calendar view (available in the Advanced toolbar group). There were all of my phantom events – they included no information whatsoever and were in fact listed as email items rather than calendar items. I was able to delete them from that view and return my item count back to normal.

Now I just had to get around the importing problem. After searching various resources for an explanation, the best that I could come up with is that Outlook doesn’t like some Timezone data that tends to get included in iCal files that originate from a Mac client. No other information was included on what in particular Outlook didn’t like or if there was a direct work around, so I did some experimentation on my own. The solution is actually easier then you might expect. First, I imported the offending iCal file into a new Google calendar. Then, I downloaded Google’s rendition of the file from the Private iCal link under the Manage Calendars panel. Finally, I imported this new iCal file into Outlook using the normal Import/Export dialog. Now the events appear as expected.

If you’re interested in trying to this all yourself, you can find the original iCal file at – Import the file as-is into Outlook, then apply the “By Category” filter to see where they went to.

* This post was originally published on April 10, 2007 at

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