Importing Events

Zap Calendar is very flexible in importing events from other systems.  Zap Calendar supports two import methods, iCal and CSV.  iCal is a standard file format used by calendar applications to move calendar information from one application or system to another.  CSV (Comma Separated Values) is a generic format used widely by the industry to move data (not neccessarily calendar data) from one application or system to another.  Here is a summary of the pros and cons of each method:

iCal Importing

Pros Cons
Best method for capturing the most calendar information Not all applications support it
Time zone and Daylight Savings Time are recognized when transferring an event between two systems in different time zones
Events are synchronized (importing the same event twice will result in a single event)
Supports importing using more than one category

CSV Importing

Pros Cons
Supported by many applications Not all calendar information is imported
Data can be entered into a spreadsheet for export to CSV or can be entered in a text editor

Time zone and Daylight Savings Time is not recognized when transferring an event between two systems in different time zones

Events are not synchronized (importing the same event twice will result in two events)

Only one category can be specified for importing

These import methods are described in detail below.  In addition to these methods, the sequential events option in Zap Calendar's control panel allows entering a list of event titles that occur on a daily basis.  For example, entering a school's lunch menu for entire month can be entered using this method.

iCal Importing

Zap Calendar provides two methods for importing iCal data.  The first method, the import option in Zap Calendar's back end control panel, provides several options for importing iCal data:

Import Mode

Options include importing into an existing category, importing into a new category, or import events into separate categories. Importing into separate categories works only for events that have a category defined. Categories will be automatically created as needed when importing into separate categories.  Multiple categories for an event are supported if the iCal data supports it.

Select An Existing Category Select a category if the import mode is set to "Import into an existing category"
Enter A New Category Name Use this option if the import mode is set to "Import into a new category"
Date Range:

Use this option if you wish to import within a date range. The date range is defined in Zap Calendar's global settings.

Import Type:

You can either import an iCal file (it typically has an ".ics" file extension), or you can import from a URL that contains an iCal data download.

Note: An iCal URL beginning with "https://" is not supported. Try using "http://" instead if your iCal feed supports it.

Specify iCal formatted file to import: Use this option if a file is used for importing
Or, specify server file or iCal URL to import: Use this option if a URL is used for importing

 

The second method of iCal import is using the iCal Subscribe plugin, available with Zap Calendar Pro.  The plugin provides an additional feature not available with the import option: synchronization. It can detect deleted events and will delete them automatically in the calendar. The plugin also provides automatic synchronization by scheduling synchronization at specific time intervals.  One external calendar can be defined for a single category, but you can synchronize multiple external calendars by creating a category for each.  More information about this plugin is available by clicking here.

A technical description of the iCal format can be found in RFC 5545.

CSV Importing

CSV importing is accomplished using the "CSV" tab in the import option in Zap Calendar's back end control panel. CSV files are simple text files with data separated by commas.  The first line of the file defines the fields and their order.  The CSV import feature recognizes the following field names: Date, Time, Duration, Title, Location, and Description (these field names may differ in other languages).  Fields with commas included in the data should be enclosed in quotes.  The date format can be either MM/DD/YYYY, DD.MM.YYY or YYYY-MM-DD. The time field can be specified in either 12 or 24 hour formats.  The duration field is based on minutes, so a value of 60 here would mean a duration of 60 minutes or 1 hour.  If the time field is blank, an all day event is assumed.  If the duration field is blank, 1 hour is assumed. When exporting a spreadsheet to CSV, the first row should contain the field names.

Here is a sample CSV file:

 

date,time,duration,title
1/1/2011,,,New Year's Day
1/10/2011,17:00,120,Dinner Meeting

 

This CSV file contains two events. The first line defines the data fields and the order in which they are used in the rest of the file.  The first event, "New Year's Day", is an all day event that occurs on January 1.  The second event, "Dinner Meeting" occurs at 5pm/17:00 on January 10 and lasts for 2 hours (120 minutes).

The following options are available with CSV importing:

Import Mode

Import events either into a new category or an existing category

Select An Existing Category Choose a category if importing into an existing category
Enter A New Category Name Enter a category if importing into a new category
Delimiter A comma is the default delimiter, but you can use another by entering it here
Date Range: Use this option if you wish to import within a date range. The date range is defined in Zap Calendar's global settings.
Specify CSV formatted file to import: Select the CSV file to import

A technical description of the CSV format can be found in RFC 4180.