Howto: Undo iCal import in Google Calendar

Written by Tom Verhoeff on. Posted in Eveoh

Imagine this situation: you just imported your full schedule for this semester into your main Google Calendar when you decide make some changes to your courses or want to switch to an iCal feed. In this and many other cases it would be nice if Google provided any form of undo import option. Unfortunately there is no automated way of doing this just yet, so manually deleting all events seems to be the only option. Somebody came up to me today asking if there is any way of solving this problem, so i figured something out. All you need is the original ics file and a simple text editor. To get started open up your ics file in a simple text editor. On windows built-in notepad would work, but i prefer Notepad++. You will notice that an ics file basically consists of a long list of data for all events in the file. We need to trick Google Calendar into believing that all the events are cancelled. The iCal format contains a lot of parameters, one of them is the “Status” parameter. Usually in ics files this is set to confirmed. We will use this status to trick Google Calendar.
  1. Open the find/replace function
  2. Replace all occurrences of “STATUS:CONFIRMED” to “STATUS:CANCELLED”
  3. Save the file
  4. Re-import the file to the same Google Calendar
By design Google Calendar will now update all activities with the new status. In this case it means all events get a “Cancelled” status and will therefore be removed from your calendar. Problem solved! If you encounter any problems it might help to also increase the sequence number. In this case replacing “SEQUENCE:” with “SEQUENCE:99” should to the trick. Please let me know if you encounter any other problems.

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Comments (116)

  • Ellen

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    Figured it out. Used the stacked info w/o forward slash n and it worked.

    God send!

    Reply

  • Katia Barretto

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    Worked for me BUT May 5 to July 5 2016 entries suddenly all gone 🙁 how do i fix this

    Reply

  • jp

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    OMG! THANK YOU

    Reply

  • JLS

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    Excellent solution!

    Reply

  • Mary

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    Perfect! Thank you.

    Reply

  • Merel

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    My problem is still there: I imported an ical-URL into my work calendar. I would only like to delete those items but keep the rest. This works the same as just deleting al the calendaritems one by one from my calendar, right? I can’t find a code in the sequence that is the same in all the wrong items…

    Hope you can help

    Reply

  • Av

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    Thank you so much for this clarification!!! I was having trouble figuring out how to get the find and replace function to recognize the \n !!! Thank you!

    Reply

  • Nicholas

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    This worked perfectly for me, and saved me a ton of time. Thanks!

    Reply

  • Muzammil

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    I have imported the wrong files and now it is showing all events 2 times!!
    I am expecting to undo the recent import.

    Reply

  • Liz

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    THANKS! This worked like a charm.

    Reply

  • Alin

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    I imported my birthdays from Facebook, but realised there are too many. I tried changing the status from Busy to Cancelled, and reimporting the ics file, but no luck. Any ideas?

    Reply

  • Cassidy

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    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS SAVED M Y LIFE

    Reply

  • Krista

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    Thanks! This worked great!

    Reply

  • VT

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    WORKS FOR ME THANKS

    Replaced
    END:VEVENT

    with
    STATUS:CANCELLED
    END:VEVENT

    Reply

  • Kim

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    It doesn’t seem to work anymore 🙁

    Reply

  • Aida

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    I am having the same issue. I’ve tried several things already I’ve seen suggested in the forums. Now, with changing the BEGIN/VEVENT to BEGIN:VEVENT\nSTATUS:CANCELLED, i get the same error message as you:

    “Processed zero events. Failed to import events: Unable to process your iCal/CSV file..”

    Oh this is a nightmare for no reason. How are there google self-driving cars, Google buses for employees, and google assistants, but no undo-import function or simple fix for this in 2017?!

    Reply

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