How to Import Contacts from a CSV File into Outlook

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

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. Click Open & Export. In Outlook 2010, then click Open.

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

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

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

    Importing a File window with Comma Separated Values selected in Outlook 2016
  6. Click 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.

    Browse button for locating CSV file of contacts in Outlook 2016
  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. Click 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.

    Import a File window with Contacts folder in Outlook 2016
  10. Click Next.

  11. Click Map Custom Fields.

    Map Custom Fields option in Outlook 2016
  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.

    Map Custom Fields window in Outlook 2016
  13. Click OK, and then click 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 click People.

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

    Manage menu and Import contacts selection in Outlook.com
  3. Click Browse.

    Upload your CSV file screen in Outlook.com
  4. Select the CSV file, then click Open.

    Open window in Import contacts in Outlook.com
  5. In the Import contacts dialog box, click Import.

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

  7. When the process is finished, click Close. You'll find the new contacts in your Outlook address book.

    Import contacts complete screen in Outlook.com