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Outlook 2010, 2007, 2003 - How to add contacts from an EXCEL or WORD file

Posted on 2013-01-09
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Last Modified: 2013-01-10
Hi:
I have email addresses, first names and last names which I would like to add into my Outlook.  How can I do this?
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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Tony Giangreco earned 2000 total points
ID: 38761068
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by:Alan
ID: 38761082
Hi,

Firstly, backup your excel file. Depending on your versions of Excel and Outlook, you might want to ensure that your excel file is in '97 - 2003' format.  If it currently has a .xlsx file extension, open the excel file, do a file - save as, and change the drop down box to 'Excel 97 - 2003' version, which will save it with a .xls extension.  If you get warnings about compatibility, they can probably be ignored, since you are just importing plain data, and most compatibility issues will be formulae or formatting.

While your at it, I would generally convert all the data to plain text (copy - paste as values), and remove any other worksheets in the file, so you only have a single worksheet with just the data to be imported.  Formatting won't matter - it won't go over to Outlook anyway.

I have Outlook 2007 open in front of me, but 2003 and probably 2012 will be similar:

In Outlook, you'll be choosing WHERE to import the contacts to.  You can choose an existing contacts folder, but I always create a new, empty folder in Outlook to import to, then I can see what I got, and if something went wrong, just delete them all in Outlook and start again easily.  I suggest you do the same.

From Outlook choose:

File - Import and Export

which will open the wizard.

Choose 'Import from another program or file'

Next

Microsoft Excel (the version of excel shouldn't matter if you did the conversion above)

Next

Find the excel file you saved above.

Choose your option for duplicates.  since you are importing into an empty contacts folder in Outlook, then moving things around from there, duplicates are not an issue when doing the import, but its up to you.

Next

Select the empty contacts folder you created above

Next

Check that the action reflects the choices you made so far, and click on 'Map Custom Fields'

Here you have to go through and ensure that each field in the excel file is mapped into the correct field in Outlook.  This is the only time consuming part, and is very important to keeping your contacts tidy, so do go through very carefully!  Click on the plus buttons on the RHS to expand sections as required.  Note that some are 'pre-mapped' - check those too, just in case your data fields use the same name as Outlook for different information!

Once completed, click OK.

If you are happy, click on Finish, and wait while the import runs.

Once done, go to the new contacts folder in Outlook, and go through all (or a sample) of the contacts to make sure they look right, and the data has been imported to the correct fields.  If you find errors, you can either delete all the contacts you just imported, and go back to the start, remapping as required, or if it is just a few, fix them manually in Outlook.


If you back up your excel file before starting, and use a new empty contacts folder, the worst that can happen is that you waste a bit of time, learn something, and go through the process twice.

If you do import into an existing contacts folder, undoing the import, and deleting what you brought in could be extremely difficult if not a practical impossibility, so I really recommend you don't try that.


If the import is fine, you can either leave the imported contacts in the new folder (forever) if you like, or move them into your main contacts.  I generally leave them separate so that if I want to re-import from an updated source later, I can just delete them all from that folder, and re-import without touching my other contacts.

HTH,

Alan.
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