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    Free Excel Holiday & Leave Planner

    1 October 2022 4 min read

    Excel holiday planner

    As much as we talk about the huge benefits of using an automated staff holiday planner, we also understand that for businesses with only a handful of employees, spending money on a holiday system may not be feasible and using an Excel holiday planner is a good, short-term alternative.

    However, be aware that an Excel holiday tracker does come with a few pitfalls, including higher room for error, the need to ensure compliance rules according to your region are implemented, and the time required to manually fill in the spreadsheet and keep it updated.

    Here is a simple, free staff holiday planner, that you can download and use for the whole of 2023.


    Not only are we giving you this completely free tool, to help you get the most out of it, but we have also provided a quick overview of how it works, along with a few answers to some questions you may have about the spreadsheet.

    How to use our Excel holiday planner template

    We have made the spreadsheet as easy as possible to use, meaning there are only a few tasks you need to do to get up and running and a very simple guide on how to use it. You can start tracking employee absences in a matter of minutes.

    1. Setting up your Excel holiday planner spreadsheet

    To begin with, you will need to add details of the different teams in your business, who is the manager of these teams, and then add all the employees who are in these teams.

    In each tab, there are 3 team areas that you can include a total of 10 employees in. Your first task is to add the team names at the top of these boxes and the manager’s name.

    Team and manager area in staff holiday planner spreadsheet

    Once you have done that, now add all the employees who sit in that team to each of the boxes. Simply delete where it says, ‘Employee 1’ and add the employee’s name. Remember to add the manager as well, they need to take a vacation too.

    Employee area in staff holiday planner spreadsheet

    Do this on every tab including the final, ‘Year Total’ tab. Make sure that all employees that have been added, are in the same order on every sheet and the final tab.

    2. Using the spreadsheet

    We have made it extremely easy to use our spreadsheet, with only 8 absence types to pick from. These are:

    • Paid Annual Leave & Bank Holiday
    • Morning Leave
    • Afternoon Leave
    • Sickness Leave
    • Maternity & Paternity
    • Compassionate Leave
    • Time off In Lieu
    • Work from Home

    To add one of these absences to an employee just type the code, that is next to the absence type, into the cell next to the employee. For example, if Employee 5 was off sick on January 20th, in cell V9 you would add S.

    Absence types area in staff holiday planner spreadsheet

    This along with all other absences will be pulled through and displayed on the ‘Year Total’ tab.

    Year totals tab in staff holiday planner spreadsheet

    And that’s it. No, really you don’t need to do anything else. Just keep adding the different absences for each employee every month to keep track of all your employee absences in 2020.

    FAQs on using the excel holiday calendar

    In anticipation of any questions about the spreadsheet, we have created a couple below and answered them. If you have any more questions about the spreadsheet, please email us at

    Q. Why can’t I add a new employee?
    A. If you are looking to manage more than 30 employees, you really need to use an online leave management system and absence management software like edays. Excel holiday planners are very basic and include lots of manual processes, leading to lots of errors. If you want to manage more than 30 employees why not book a demo of our system and see how we can help you.

    Q. Why do I keep seeing this error message? “The cell or chart you’re trying to change is on a protected sheet. To make a change, unprotect the sheet. You might be requested to enter a password”
    A. To help minimise human error we have locked some of the cells. This is to ensure that you don’t accidentally change something and mess the formulas up.

    October 1, 2022