Create a contact group from an Excel list

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If you need to, you can use contact groups to send email to large groups with hundreds of members. And often, the easiest way to do that is to create a list in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.

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Create a contact group

Create a contact group from a list of names in an email message

Create a contact group from a list of contacts in Excel

The ins and outs of BCC

Let’s say you periodically send email to a mailing list that you maintain in an Excel workbook.

Well, here is a really fast way to do that using contact groups.

In Outlook, click People, select a Contacts folder, and add a New Contact Groupto the folder.

Type a name for the group, click Add Members, and From Outlook Contacts.

Next, open the workbook in Excel and arrange the worksheet so that the user Name column is adjacent to the Email address column.

For example, you can select the columns that are between the two, right-click the selection, and click Hide.

Don’t worry. This doesn’t delete any data. You can unhide the columns later.

Now, select the names and addresses in both columns, and Copy them to the clipboard.

Then, in Outlook, click the Members text box, Paste the text, and click OK. The names are added to the contact group.

You can do the same thing to quickly copy email addresses from other sources, like email, text files, or Word documents.

So, this process works for quickly adding addresses to a contact group.

But, if you also want to create Outlook Contacts from the Excel list, then you need to follow a different process and import the Excel file. Here is how that works.

In Excel, click FILE, Save As, and choose a location.

Type a file name, click Save as type, and then select CSV (Comma delimited).

Save the mailing list as a new file in the CSV format and click Yes.

Next, go to Outlook.

In People, right-click the Contacts folder you want to add the Excel list to, and create a New Folder. Type a name.

We’ll place the Excel list in this folder to keep it separate from the other contacts.

Now, click FILE, Open & Export, and Import/Export.

Select Import from another program or file, select Comma Separated Values, browse for the Excel CSV file we just created, and for a destination folder, select the one we just created.

Next, click Map Custom Fields.

This is where we need to go to make sure the information is mapped correctly from the Excel columns to the Outlook contact fields.

Here, the contact name field is correctly mapped from the Excel Name column.

Let’s see how Outlook plans to map the email addresses.

Well, in this case, nothing is mapped.

That’s probably because Outlook was looking for E-mail with a dash, and our 'email' column doesn’t have a dash.

But, we can add the mapping manually by dragging email from the list on the left and dropping it on the Outlook e-mail field.

We don’t need to worry about mapping the other columns now. So, click OK and Finish.

The Excel list is now added to your contact folder as new contacts.

Finally, let’s add the contacts to a new group, and we can add it to the new folder.

Type a name, click Add Members, and From Outlook Contacts.

Open the address book list and select the contacts folder we created.

Select all the contacts in the list and add them to Members. Click OK and Save & Close.

To send email to the contact group, type the group name on the To line, or type it on the Bcc line if you want to hide the addresses from recipients.

Whether you use contact groups or simple categories to group contacts, Outlook can help you save time by emailing any size group.

For more information about contact groups and categories, and Bcc, check out the links in the Course Summary.

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