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is there an easy way to import a list of names, addresses, cell, etc that is NOT in tab delimited format into Outlook

Posted on 2007-11-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-07
I got a list of people and their details (address, phones, email, etc) that I want to import into outlook.  they are in the format:

name
add1
city, state, zip
home#
cell #
bus #
email
>>then 2 line feeds and it repeats

I typically search and repalce the line feeds and wind up getting

name, add1, city, state, zip,......

that is tedious.

is there an easier way to get it into outlook?
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Question by:babaganoosh
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thigger_uk earned 250 total points
ID: 20374904
Off the top of my head, something to try:

1. Search and replace to turn the commas (from city, state, zip) into a different character that doesn't get used elsewhere
2. Do the search/replace you're already doing
3. Load into Excel
4. In Excel use a search/replace to turn the characters from 1. back into commas
5. Save out and import into Outlook

(Advantage of using Excel in step 4 is that you won't get Outlook confused that the commas denote new fields)
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Assisted Solution

by:darron_chapman
darron_chapman earned 250 total points
ID: 20374922
This should be a 3 step process

1.  Search for two line feeds and replace with || or ~~ or some other combination of characters not used in the text document
2.  search for one line feed and replace with a ,
3. search for || or whatever character you chose in the first step and replace that with a line feed
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by:thigger_uk
ID: 20374928
Forgot to say: remember to use the 'Map Custom Fields' option in Outlook when you're importing your new CSV file to make sure the addresses map correctly.
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Expert Comment

by:thigger_uk
ID: 20374932
Forgot to say: remember to use the 'Map Custom Fields' option in Outlook when you're importing your new CSV file to make sure the addresses map correctly.
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Author Comment

by:babaganoosh
ID: 20375046
that's basically exactly what I have been doing - search and replace to make the single column of data into a table - 1 record per person...  and yeah, some 'paragraphs' (vertical record) might not have a cell number, or email or ...  so you have to manually pad it then or when you conver to a table / comma delimited...

but no feature in excel that converts to a table (I AM familar with text to columns but that parses a line into columns, not a column into a table:

name1
add1
phone 1

name2
add2
phone2

convert to
name1,add1,phone1
name2,add2,phone2

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Expert Comment

by:thigger_uk
ID: 20375093
For the example you've given  just above, convert the linefeeds to commas and then convert double commas (ie ',,') back to linefeeds - which will create a CSV file you can load into Excel.

For the records where data is missing, is there a blank line in its place? Or does it just skip straight to the next field? If it's the latter this will be very difficult.
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Author Comment

by:babaganoosh
ID: 20375242
guys!  I know that approach! : )

Is there an automated way / just like outlook imports from csv, can it import from a single column, using the double line space as a break of records.

seems like a common issue to get a list into a table in excel, access, etc.
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Expert Comment

by:thigger_uk
ID: 20376011
Sorry - we thought your problem related to the commas in 'city, state, zip'

The only way you'll easily import data into outlook is to convert it to CSV first. Assuming your data is laid out correctly it shouldn't be hard to convert it to CSV using a search/replace or automatically using a script (in whichever language you choose). It needs to be converted as there is no standard file format which Outlook understands which uses a linefeed to separate fields and two linefeeds to separate records.

So - you can't do it directly, but it's not hard to do it via a script or even loading it yourself and search/replace.
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Expert Comment

by:darron_chapman
ID: 20376047
I agree with thigger on this..
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Author Comment

by:babaganoosh
ID: 20376884
thanks guys... yeah, I've been doing this myself this way for years as the situation arrises.  keep thinking there has to be a better way!  

oh well.  something for the next version of office?
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