r21 - 11 Mar 2010 - 21:22:31 - HeikkiToivonenYou are here: OSAF >  Projects Web  >  Interoperability > ChandlerDesktopImportExport

Importing and Exporting Calendars in iCalendar format

Chandler Desktop supports importing calendars in iCalendar format (.ics). This is a working page that enables people to view and collaborate on the bugs we currently have logged for the desktop import/export feature. Although it's our goal to support all iCalendar files from standard compliant applications, we realize we have limited testing resources and there will a be a wide variety of usage scenarios that we won't be able to test. We recognize the importance of supporting people's ability to get their data into Chandler and encourage everyone to help us test, log bugs and troubleshoot these issues.

See the Wikipedia entry on iCalendar (.ics) for a description of the standard and a list of applications that support iCalendar export.

Feel free to add import / export troubleshooting advice for your favorite application.

Apple iCal 2.x

  1. In Apple iCal, Go to the File>>Export... menu to save your calendar to an iCalendar file.
  2. In Chandler, go to the File>>Import Tasks and Events from the iCalendar file

Microsoft Outlook

Outlook does not currently support exporting entire calendars in iCalendar format. There are third party tools like O2M from littlemachines available to accomplish this but out of the box you can only forward individual events in iCalendar format. Here's a set of steps we've used successfully in the past to export a calendar from Outlook using O2M and importing the resulting .ics in Chandler:
  • Launch the O2M tool and click Next at the intro screen
  • Select the location for the resultant .ics file, click Next
  • Click Next when asked what E-mail folders you want to convert (since the answer is none)
  • Click Next when asked what Contact Lists you want to convert (since the answer is none)
  • Select Yes when asked if you'd like to move your Outlook Calendar appointments and click Next
  • Select Apple iCal and click Next
  • Choose the date range of the converted icons and click Next
  • Choose "Look up all email addresses in all invitations" and click Next
  • Click Start
  • When done, go into the directory specified for the files to be saved in, go into the calendar subdirectory, and there's an ics file
waiting for import in Chandler


  • Bug#8931: Work around illegal commas in TZIDs: Outlook serializes some timezones with commas that is causing us problems | Targeted for 0.7.1

Palm Desktop

Palm Desktop does not support exporting to an iCalendar file. If you have access to a Mac, use Apple iCal to translate Palm vCal files into iCalendar format instead.
  1. In Palm Desktop, export your calendar to a vCal file
  2. In Apple iCal, go to the File>>Import... menu to import the vCal file.
  3. Still in Apple iCal go to the File>>Export... to expot the calendar to an iCalendar file
  4. In Chandler, go to the File>>Import Tasks and Events from the iCalendar file


  • Recurring events and All-day events get broken into multi-day events when imported into iCal and then passed on to Chandler.
  • You can now synchronize your Palm device with an iCal calendar as of iSync version 2.x.

Google Calendar

To import calendars from Google, you must first subscribe (view-only) to the calendar and then sever the subscription by unsubscribing. Otherwise, you will not be able to make edits to the calendar in Chandler.

  1. In Google Calendar click on the down arrow to the right of the calendar you wish to subscribe to.
  2. Select Calendar settings.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click on the green ICAL button in the Private Address: section.
  4. From Chandler Desktop, go to Share>>Subscribe... and paste the link into the URL: field.

If you wish to be able to edit the calendar from Chandler as well, continue with the following steps:

  1. Go to Share>>Unsubscribe... to sever the connection to Google Calendar. (Changes you make in Google Calendar will not show up in Chandler.)
  2. Click away from the calendar collection in the left-hand sidebar and then click back to it. You should now be able to edit the calendar in Chandler.


If you face problems when subscribing (or importing) because of timezone or date format issues, this may be because of corrupted values in CREATED fields within your calendars. You can try working around like this:

  1. Login to your Google Calendar and select My Calendars>>Settings in the sidebar.
  2. Choose Export Calendars, download and expand the zip archive.
  3. Search your .ics files for CREATED:00001231T000000Z and replace all occurences with a suitable timestamp.
  4. Import the adjusted .ics to Chandler Desktop using File>>Import>>from .ics file.

Now Up to Date

Mark Vermette found a somewhat convoluted but successful way of importing appointments from Now Up To Date v 5.1.1 running on my G4 PowerBook under OS X 10.2.8. I had no problems exporting 4 years of appointments to Chandler 0.7alpha5 running on WinXP SP2. It takes both Palm Desktop and iCal on the Mac to make this trick work, however.

I don't know if anyone needs this info, but I thought I'd let people know it's possible to do, and it Just Works.
  1. Export from Now Up To Date using it's default Text export format. Use the defaults in the Export dialog.
  2. Using Palm Desktop (I used v4.1) import the data file. Palm Desktop will automatically detect the format as "Now Up To Date 2.0 - 3.5", and display sample columns and the data that goes into them, similar to an import into Excel. Everything matched in my case, without any action on my part.
  3. Use Palm Desktop to re-export the file. In the export dialog, select "Date Book" as the module, "All Datebook Items" for Items, and "vCal" for the format.
  4. Now, open iCal (in my case, v1.5.5) and import the vCal file. You may want to create a new iCal calendar to keep this data separate.
  5. Export the iCal file and import it into Chadler via directions found here: https://chandlerproject.org/pub/Product/GetStartedGuide/3-Importing-ExportingData.html

See instructions provided on the Chandler Users mailing list

Microsoft Exchange Server with IMAP

Doug Hellmann describes in the Python Magazine how he was able to pull data from an Exchange Server, converting it to iCal that he was then able to import into Apple iCal. It seems like the same procedure could work for Chandler.
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