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

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If you have address book data in a CSV or Excel file, you can import all details to your Outlook contacts.

Are All Your Contacts in Place?

The Contacts folder in Outlook is the place that holds all your contacts? Good.

If it is not, chances are you can easily get those missing friends, colleagues and acquaintances 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 import process.

Import Contacts from Excel or a CSV File into Outlook

To import address book data from a CSV file or from Excel to your Outlook contacts:

  1. Click File in Outlook.
  2. Go to the Open & Export category.
  3. Click Import/Export under Import/Export.
  4. Make sure Import from another program or file is selected under Choose an action to perform:.
  5. Click Next >.
  6. Make sure Comma Separated Values is selected under Select file type to import from:.
  7. Click Next >.
  8. Use the Browse … button the select the desired CSV file.
  9. Usually, make sure Do not import duplicate items or Replace duplicates with items imported is selected under Options.
    • ​If you select Allow duplicates to be created, you can search for and eliminate duplicate items later (using a duplicate removal utility, for example).
    • Choose Replace duplicates with items imported if the data in the CSV file is more recent or, perhaps, more comprehensive in its entirety; otherwise, having Outlook create duplicates might be preferable.
  1. Click Next >.
  2. Select the Outlook folder you want to import the contacts to; this will usually be your Contacts folder.
    • ​You can select the Contacts folder in any PST file, of course, or one just created for imported items.
  3. Click Next >.
  4. Now click Map Custom Fields ….
  5. Make sure all columns from the CSV file are mapped to the desired Outlook address book fields.
    • To map a field, drag the column title (under From:) to the desired field (under To:).
  1. Click OK.
  2. Now click Finish.

Import Contacts from Excel or a CSV File into Outlook 2007

To import contacts from a CSV file into Outlook:

  1. Select File | Import and Export... from the menu in Outlook.
  2. Make sure Import from another program or file is highlighted.
  3. Click Next >.
  4. Now make sure Comma Separated Values (Windows) is selected.
  5. Click Next >.
  6. Use the Browse ... button the select the desired file.
  7. Typically, choose Do not import duplicate items.
  8. Click Next >.
  9. Select the Outlook folder you want to import the contacts to. This will usually be your Contacts folder.
  10. Click Next >.
  11. Click Map Custom Fields ....
  12. 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.
  13. Click OK.
  14. Now click Finish.

(Updated May 2016, tested with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2016)

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