How to Import Contacts from a CSV File into Outlook

Your Excel spreadsheet of contacts can be added in a few steps

Import Contacts From Excel or a CSV File Into Outlook

Devon Pankiw/Pexels

Contact data stored in a database or spreadsheet is easily imported into Outlook. Outlook provides a straightforward method.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Outlook for Office 365, and Outlook.com.

Import Contacts from a CSV File Into Outlook

In the database or spreadsheet program, export the contacts data to a CSV (comma separated values) file. Make sure the columns have meaningful headers, though they don't need to correspond precisely to the fields used in the Outlook address book. You can manually map columns to fields during the import process.

The screenshots below are for Outlook 2016. Screens in other versions of Outlook may differ slightly, but the steps are the same. Any variations for older versions will be noted.

  1. Go to File.

  2. Select Open & Export. In Outlook 2010, select Open.

    Outlook 2016 Open & Export menu
  3. Select Import/Export. In Outlook 2010, click Import.

  4. In the Import and Export Wizard, select Import from another program or file, then select Next.

    Outlook 2016 Import from another program or file selected
  5. Select Comma Separated Values, then select Next.

    Outlook 2016 Importing a File window with Comma Separated Values selected
  6. Select Browse, then locate the CSV file that contains the contacts you want to import.

    If you use Gmail, export your Gmail contacts to a CSV file, then import your Gmail contacts into Outlook.

    Outlook 2016 Browse button for locating CSV file of contacts to import
  7. Choose one of the following:

    • Do not import duplicate items.
    • Replace duplicates with items imported. If the data in the CSV file is more recent or more complete, this might be the best choice.
    • Allow duplicates to be created. If duplicates are created, you can always search for and eliminate them using a duplicate removal utility, for example.
  8. Select Next.

  9. Select the Outlook folder into which you want to import the contacts. This may be your Contacts folder, or it can be a Contacts folder in any of your other folders. You can also create an Outlook folder just for imported items.

    Outlook 2016 Import a File window with Contacts folder chose as destination
  10. Select Next.

  11. Select Map Custom Fields.

    Outlook 2016 Map Custom Fields button selected
  12. Map all columns from the CSV file to the desired Outlook address book fields. Outlook automatically maps some fields; change these if they are not mapped correctly.

    To map a field, drag the Value to the desired Field.

    Outlook 2016 Map Custom Fields window
  13. Select OK, and then select Finish to begin the import process.

Import Contacts on Outlook.com

You can upload your contacts CSV file to Outlook.com as well. The process is a bit different from the software versions.

  1. Open the Applications Launcher and select People.

    Outlook.com Application Launcher with People application selected
  2. Select Manage > Import contacts.

    Outlook.com Manage menu and Import contacts selected
  3. Select Browse.

    Outlook.com
  4. Select the CSV file, then select Open.

    Outlook.com contacts CSV selected and Open button
  5. In the Import contacts dialog box, select Import.

    Outlook.com Import contacts screen and Import button
  6. Your contacts are uploaded and imported to your Outlook.com email account.

  7. When the process is finished, select Close.

    Outlook.com Import contacts complete screen
  8. You'll find the new contacts in your Outlook address book.