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How to Import Contacts from Excel or a CSV File into Outlook

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Is the Contacts folder in Outlook where all your contacts are? Good. If not, chances are you can easily get them there (and use them to create a distribution list, for example).

Contact data stored in a database or spread sheet can usually be imported into Outlook without much hassle. In the database or spread sheet program, export the data to a CSV (comma separated values) file making sure the columns do have meaningful headers. They need not correspond to the fields used in the Outlook address book. You can map columns to fields flexibly during the importation.

Import Contacts from Excel or a CSV File into Outlook

To import contacts from a CSV file or from Excel into Outlook:

  • Select File | Import and Export... from the menu in Outlook.
  • Make sure Import from another program or file is highlighted.
  • Click Next >.
  • Now make sure Comma Separated Values (Windows) is selected.
  • Click Next >.
  • Use the Browse ... button the select the desired file.
  • Typically, choose Do not import duplicate items.
  • Click Next >.
  • Select the Outlook folder you want to import the contacts to. This will usually be your Contacts folder.
  • Click Next >.
  • Click Map Custom Fields ....
  • Make sure all columns from the CSV file are mapped to the desired Outlook address book fields.
    • You can create new mappings by dragging the column title to the desired field.
    • Any previous mapping of the same column will be replaced with the new.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Finish.
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