An ICS file is in a format for sharing calendar data, such as event listings and meetings requests, between computers. You can import and export ICS data from tools like Google Calendar, Apple's Calendar app or examine the files with an ICS viewer online. You may want to convert ICS data to comma separated values or another spreadsheet program for easy use in Excel.
Understanding an ICS File
An ICS file is in a standardized format used by many calendar programs for storing event information. The format was first standardized in the late 1990s by a team led by experts from Lotus Notes, now part of IBM, and Microsoft. ICS files are often emailed to invite people to events, and they can be imported by most modern calendar apps including Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.
Because an ICS file is plain text, you can open it with a text editor such as Notepad, Sublime Text or Vim, though it may be difficult to read if you're not used to the format. You can find an ICS viewer online or download one if you want to view what's in the files without importing it into a calendar.
Export Google Calendar to Excel
If you want to export files from your online Google Calendar, they will normally export as ICS files. These files can be difficult to open directly in Excel.
If you want to export them in a format that's easier to read in other programs, you can use tools such as TimeTackle or GTimeReport (see Resources) that are designed to export the data in other formats, including comma separated value files readable by Excel and PDF files that are easy to read and print in a web browser or other program.
Since the tool you use will effectively have access to your calendar information, make sure to use one your trust with your data.
Convert ICS to Excel Spreadsheet
If you have an ICS file that's not from a Google Calendar, you may still want to open it in Excel. Theoretically, you can import into the Google app and export it with a conversion tool, but this can add an unnecessary step.
Instead, you can use a variety of tools that convert an ICS file directly to an Excel spreadsheet or CSV file. A number of tools are available online (see Resources) that will let you upload an ICS file and download a CSV. Make sure to use one your trust with your data.
Additionally, if you are comfortable writing code, you can download libraries for your favorite programming language to parse ICS files and output CSVs and often write a conversion tool in just a few lines of code.
- iCalendar.org: The iCalendar Standard
- University of Iowa: Creating an iCalendar (.ics) File in Outlook
- Google: Import Events to Google Calendar
- Apple: Import or Export Calendars on Mac
- Google: Export Your Google Calendar
- ICS.py: iCalendar for Humans¶
- TimeTackle: GCal2Excel
- GTimeReport: Export Your Google Calendar to Excel
- Indigo Blue: Free ICS to CSV Converter