A Microsoft Outlook application logo

Microsoft Outlook uses vCalendar files to exchange information about meetings and appointments with others in your home or organization. With vCalendar files, you can easily schedule appointments with others even if they’re not using Outlook as their primary calendar.

What Is a VCS File?

A vCalendar file, which has the .vcs file extension, lets you exchange calendar events with other people. You can save an Outlook calendar event inside a VCS file and send it to someone to share those event details—even if the recipient is outside your organization.

Some other email applications support VCS files, too, so this also works to exchange files with people who don’t use Outlook.

How to Create vCalendar Files

Click the “Outlook Calendar” icon in the bottom left of the screen to open your calendar.

Right-click any date on the calendar and select “New Appointment” to create a new entry.

new appointment

Add the appointment information, including the date, time, and any pertinent details. Click “Save & Close” to add the entry to your calendar.

save and close

Double-click the calendar entry to open it.

Click “File.”

From the sidebar at the left, click “Save As.”

save as

Near the bottom, to the right of the “Save as type” dropdown, select “vCalendar Format” and click “Save.”

insert vcalendar file

How to Email vCalendar Files

In Outlook, click the “New Email” icon at the top left to send a new email. Address it as you normally would, with a recipient, subject line, and any pertinent information in the body of the email.

From the “Insert” tab, click “Attach File” to add the vCalendar file.

attach file

In my case, the file didn’t show up in the dropdown menu, so I’ll click “Browse This PC” at the bottom of the list. In most cases, especially if you just created the file, it should appear at the top of the list.

browse this pc

Find the vCalendar file, and click to select it. Click “Insert” at the bottom to add it to the email.

insert vcalendar file

Click “Send” to send the email as normal.

How to Import vCalendar Files

In Outlook, click “File” to import a VCS file.

From the sidebar at the left, click “Open & Export.”

open and export

Click “Open Calendar.”

open calendar

Navigate to the place you saved the vCalendar file. If you can’t find it, check the format options at the bottom and make sure you have “vCalendar format” selected.

vcalendar format

Click the file to select it and then press the “Open” button at the bottom.

Click “Copy to My Calendar” to add the vCalendar file to your primary Outlook calendar.

copy to calendar

Confirm the addition by clicking the “Yes” button in the pop-up.

You can now create your own vCalendar files to share across platforms. You can also send them and import them into your Outlook calendar. Once you get used to using vCalendar files, you’ll find they’re incredibly useful for staying organized regardless of which platform you and your colleagues are using.

Profile Photo for Bryan Clark Bryan Clark
Bryan has worked in journalism and publishing for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, he's covered the technology beat, including gadgets, social media, security, and web culture. Before working as a freelancer, Bryan was the Managing Editor for The Next Web. These days he spends his time at a number of publications, both online and off, including The New York Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web, among others.
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