How to: Import Appointment XML Data into Outlook Appointment Objects

Outlook Developer Reference

This topic shows how to read appointment data formatted in XML, save the data to Microsoft Outlook AppointmentItem objects in the default calendar, and return the appointment objects in an array.

MVP logo Helmut Obertanner provided the following code samples. Helmut is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional with expertise in Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office and Microsoft Office Outlook. Helmut maintains a professional site at

The following managed code samples are written in C# and Visual Basic. To run a .NET Framework managed code sample that needs to call into a Component Object Model (COM), you must use an interop assembly that defines and maps managed interfaces to the COM objects in the object model type library. For Outlook, you can use Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft Office Outlook Primary Interop Assembly (PIA). Before you run managed code samples for Outlook 2007, ensure that you have installed the Outlook 2007 PIA and have added a reference to the Microsoft Outlook 12.0 Object Library component in Visual Studio. For more information about using the Outlook PIA to develop managed Outlook solutions, see Welcome to the Outlook 2007 Primary Interop Assembly Reference.

The following code samples contain the CreateAppointmentsFromXml method of the Sample class, implemented as part of an Outlook add-in project. Each project adds a reference to the Outlook PIA, which is based on the Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook namespace.

The CreateAppointmentsFromXml method accepts two input parameters, application and xml:

  • application is a trusted Outlook Application object.
  • xml is either an XML string, or a string that represents a path to a valid XML file. For the purpose of the following code samples, the XML delimits appointment data by using the following XML tags:
    Appointment data Delimiting XML tag
    Entire set of appointment data <appointments>
    Each appointment in the set <appointment>
    Start time of an appointment <starttime>
    End time of an appointment <endtime>
    Title of an appointment <subject>
    Location of an appointment <location>
    Details of an appointment <body>

The following example shows input data for the xml parameter.

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?> 
        <subject>This is a Test-Appointment</subject>
        <location>At your Desk</location>
        <body>Here is the Bodytext</body>
        <subject>This is a second Test-Appointment</subject>
        <location>At your Desk</location>
        <body>Here is the Bodytext</body>
        <subject>This is a third Test-Appointment</subject>
        <location>At your Desk</location>
        <body>Here is the Bodytext</body>

The CreateAppointmentsFromXml method uses the Microsoft COM implementation of the XML Document Object Model (DOM) to load and process the XML data that xml provides. CreateAppointmentsFromXml first checks whether xml specifies a valid source of XML data. If so, it loads the data into an XML document, DOMDocument. Otherwise, CreateAppointmentsFromXml throws an exception. For more information about the XML DOM, see DOM.

For each appointment child node delimited by the <appointment> tag in the XML data, CreateAppointmentsFromXml looks for specific tags, uses the DOM to extract the data, and assigns the data to corresponding properties of an AppointmentItem object: Start, End, Subject, Location, and Body. CreateAppointmentsFromXml then saves the appointment to the default calendar.

CreateAppointmentsFromXml uses the Add method of the List(type) class in the System.Collections.Generic namespace to aggregate these AppointmentItem objects. When the method has processed all the appointments in the XML data, it returns the AppointmentItem objects in an array.

The following is the C# code sample.

  using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.IO;
using System.Text;
using System.Xml;
using Outlook = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook;

namespace OutlookAddIn1
    class Sample
        Outlook.AppointmentItem[] CreateAppointmentsFromXml(Outlook.Application application, 
                                                            string xml)
            // Create a list of appointment objects.
            List<Outlook.AppointmentItem> appointments = new 
            XmlDocument xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();

            // If xml is an XML string, create the document directly. 
            if (xml.StartsWith("<?xml"))
            else if (File.Exists(xml))
                throw new Exception(
                    "The input string is not valid XML data or the specified file doesn't exist.");

            // Select all appointment nodes under the root appointements node.
            XmlNodeList appointmentNodes = xmlDoc.SelectNodes("appointments/appointment");
            foreach (XmlNode appointmentNode in appointmentNodes)

                // Create a new AppointmentItem object.
                Outlook.AppointmentItem newAppointment = 

                // Loop over all child nodes, check the node name, and import the data into the 
                // appointment fields.
                foreach (XmlNode node in appointmentNode.ChildNodes)
                    switch (node.Name)

                        case "starttime":
                            newAppointment.Start = DateTime.Parse(node.InnerText);

                        case "endtime":
                            newAppointment.End = DateTime.Parse(node.InnerText);

                        case "subject":
                            newAppointment.Subject = node.InnerText;

                        case "location":
                            newAppointment.Location = node.InnerText;

                        case "body":
                            newAppointment.Body = node.InnerText;


                // Save the item in the default calendar.

            // Return an array of new appointments.
            return appointments.ToArray();


The following is the Visual Basic code sample.

  Imports System.IO
Imports System.Xml
Imports Outlook = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook

Namespace OutlookAddIn2
    Class Sample
        Function CreateAppointmentsFromXml(ByVal application As Outlook.Application, _
            ByVal xml As String) As Outlook.AppointmentItem()

            Dim appointments As New List(Of Outlook.AppointmentItem)
            Dim xmlDoc As New XmlDocument()

            If xml is an XML string, create the XML document directly.
            If xml.StartsWith("<?xml") Then
            ElseIf (File.Exists(xml)) Then
                Throw New Exception("The input string is not valid XML data or the specified file doesn't exist.")
            End If

            ' Select all appointment nodes under the root appointements node.
            Dim appointmentNodes As XmlNodeList = xmlDoc.SelectNodes("appointments/appointment")

            For Each appointmentNode As XmlNode In appointmentNodes

                ' Create a new AppointmentItem object.
                Dim newAppointment As Outlook.AppointmentItem = _
                    DirectCast(application.CreateItem(Outlook.OlItemType.olAppointmentItem), _

                ' Loop over all child nodes, check the node name, and import the data into the appointment fields.

                For Each node As XmlNode In appointmentNode.ChildNodes
                    Select Case (node.Name)

                        Case "starttime"
                            newAppointment.Start = DateTime.Parse(node.InnerText)

                        Case "endtime"
                            newAppointment.End = DateTime.Parse(node.InnerText)

                        Case "subject"
                            newAppointment.Subject = node.InnerText

                        Case "location"
                            newAppointment.Location = node.InnerText

                        Case "body"
                            newAppointment.Body = node.InnerText

                    End Select

                ' Save the item in the default calendar.

            ' Return an array of new appointments.
            Return appointments.ToArray()
        End Function

    End Class
End Namespace