Import contacts to Outlook

First, make sure you're using a desktop version of Outlook - 2007, 2010, 2013, or 2016. To verify you're using one of these apps, look at the picture below.

This is what the ribbon looks like in Outlook 2016.

Now look at Outlook on your computer:

  • If your ribbon has a File option in the top left corner, then you're using a desktop version of Outlook and you're in the right place! See one of the procedures below.

  • If your ribbon doesn't have a File option in the top left corner, you're not using a desktop version of Outlook. See What version of Outlook do I have? to get to the import instructions for your version of Outlook.

Choose from the following list of import instructions. To learn how to export contacts, see Export contacts from Outlook.

A .csv file is a Comma Separated Values file.

  1. At the top of your Outlook 2013 or 2016 ribbon, choose File.

    This is what the ribbon looks like in Outlook 2016.
  2. Choose Open & Export > Import/Export.

    To create your Outlook pst file, choose File, choose Open and Export, and then Import/Export

  3. Choose Import from another program or file, and then choose Next.

    import and export wizard - import from another program or file

  4. Choose Comma Separated Values, and then choose Next.

    Outlook Export Wizard - Choose CSV file

  5. In the Import a File box, browse to your contacts file, and then double-click to select it.

    Browse to the contacts csv file and choose how to handle duplicate contacts

  6. Choose one of the following to specify how you want Outlook to handle duplicate contacts:

    • Replace duplicates with items imported   If a contact is already in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook discards the info it has for that contact and uses the info from your contacts file. You should choose this option if the contact info in your contacts file is more complete or more current than the contact info in Outlook.

    • Allow duplicates to be created   If a contact is in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook creates duplicate contacts, one with the original Outlook info and one with the info imported from your contacts file. You can combine info for those people later to eliminate duplicate contacts. This is the default option.

    • Do not import duplicate items    If a contact is in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook keeps the info it has for that contact and discards the info from your contacts file. You should choose this option if the contact info in Outlook is more complete or more current than the info in your contacts file.

  7. Click Next.

  8. In the Select a destination folder box, scroll to the top if needed and select the Contacts folder > Next. If you have multiple email accounts, choose the Contacts folder that's under the email account you want to be associated with the contacts.

    When you import Google Gmail contacts into your Office 365 mailbox, select Contacts as the destination

  9. Choose Finish.

    When you import Gmail contacts to your Office 365 mailbox, click the Finish button to start the migration

    Outlook begins importing your contacts immediately. You'll know it's finished when the Import Progress box closes.

  10. To see your contacts, at the bottom of Outlook, choose the People icon.

    Choose the People icon at the bottom of the page.

If you haven't yet exported your contacts, see these instructions to export contacts from Outlook 2010 as a .pst file.

  1. At the top of your Outlook ribbon, choose the File tab.

    In Outlook 2010, choose the File tab.

  2. Choose Open > Import.

    Choose Open, then choose Import.

  3. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Import from another program or file, and the click Next.

    Choose import from another program or file.

  4. To import a .csv file, choose Comma Separated Values (Windows). To import a .pst file, choose Outlook Data File (.pst). Choose Next.

    Choose .pst import

  5. Choose Browse, then choose the .csv or .pst file you want to import, and choose Next.

    Notes:  Under Options, if you want the imported information to replace duplicate items already in Outlook, choose that. Otherwise, choose Do not import duplicates.

    Choose the .pst file you want to import

  6. If a password was assigned to the Outlook Data File (.pst), you are prompted to enter the password, and then click OK.

  7. Set the options for importing items. Choose Filter if you want to only import certain emails. Choose the More Choices tab if you want to only import emails that are read or unread.

    The default settings usually don’t need to be changed. The top folder — usually Personal Folders, Outlook Data File, or your email address — is selected automatically.

    Choose Filter if you want to import only certain emails.

  8. Include subfolders is selected by default. All folders under the folder selected will be imported.

  9. The default selection of Import items into the same folder in matches the folders from the imported file to the folders in Outlook. If a folder doesn’t exist in Outlook, it will be created.

  10. Choose Finish. Outlook starts importing your data immediately. You'll know it's finished when the progress box closes.

  11. To view your contacts, at the bottom of the Outlook navigation bar, choose Contacts.

    To see your contacts, choose "Contacts" at the bottom of the Outlook navigation menu.

Tip    If you want to import or restore only a few items from an Outlook Data File (.pst), you can open the Outlook Data File, and then, in the navigation pane, click and drag the items from Outlook Data File folders to your existing Outlook folders.

If you have a lot of business or personal contact information that you keep in a spreadsheet, you can import it straight into Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows with just a little preparation. There are three major steps:

  1. Save your Excel workbook as a .csv file.

  2. Import your contacts.

  3. Map the Excel spreadsheet columns with the appropriate Outlook fields.

Step 1: Save your Excel workbook as a .csv file

Outlook can import comma separated value (.csv) files, but not workbooks with multiple sheets, so step 1 is saving your Excel workbook as a .csv file. Here’s how:

  1. In your workbook, click the worksheet with the contact information you want to import.

  2. Click File > Save As.

  3. Choose where to save your file.

  4. In the Save as type box, choose CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv), and click Save.

    Excel tells you “The selected file type does not contain workbooks that contain multiple sheets.” This refers to a limitation of the CSV file; nothing will happen to your original workbook (the .xlsx file).

  5. Click OK.

    Excel tells you “Some features in your workbook might be lost if you save it as CSV (Comma delimited).” This refers only to limitations of the CSV file and can be ignored.

  6. Click Yes to have Excel save the current worksheet as a CSV file. The original workbook (the .xlsx file) closes.

  7. Close the CSV file.

You're done with Excel. Now, you can start the import process in Outlook.

Note: Some locales use different list separators by default. For example, the default separator for German is the semicolon. But Outlook doesn't support the semicolon as a field separator. So you might need to replace any semicolons in the CSV file with commas before going to the next step.

Step 2: Import your contacts

Note:  If you’re importing the .csv file into an Outlook.com account (or another Exchange ActiveSync account) in Outlook 2013, see Import contacts into an Outlook.com account.

  1. At the top of your Outlook ribbon, choose File.

    This is what the ribbon looks like in Outlook 2016.
  2. Choose Open & Export > Import/Export.

    To create your Outlook pst file, choose File, choose Open and Export, and then Import/Export

  3. Choose Import from another program or file and then click Next.

    Import and Export Wizard

    Tip: If you are prompted to enter a password and you haven't set a password, click Cancel to move to the next window.

  4. Choose Comma Separated Values and click Next.

  5. Browse to the .csv file you want to import.

  6. Under Options, choose whether to replace duplicates (existing contacts), create duplicate contacts, or not import duplicates.

  7. Click Next and choose the destination folder for your contacts. Contacts should be selected by default, but if it's not, scroll up or down until you find it. You can also choose a different folder, or create a new one.

  8. Click Next.

  9. Make sure the check box next to Import "MyContacts.csv" (assuming that's your file name) is selected.

  10. Don't click Finish yet, because you'll need to "map" some of the columns in your CSV file to the contact fields in Outlook. Mapping can help the imported contacts turn out just the way you want.

Step 2: Map your CSV file columns to Outlook contact fields

  1. Click the Map Custom Fields button. The Map Custom Fields dialog box appears.

    • Under From, you'll see a box with the column names from the CSV file you're importing.

    • Under To, you'll see the standard fields that Outlook uses for contacts. If a field matches a column in the CSV file, you'll see your column under Mapped from.

    • The fields Name, First Name, and Last Name are standard Outlook contact fields, so if the contact information in your file has any of those contact names, you're good to go.

      Mapping a column from Excel to an Outlook contact field

  2. You'll probably need to do some manual mapping. For example, in this imported file, the contact's cell phone is in a column named "Cell Ph." It won't have an exact match in Outlook. But you can find a suitable match in Outlook by doing this:

    1. Scroll down in the pane on the right, and you'll find Other Address, which has a plus sign (+) next to it.

    2. Click the plus sign to expand what's under it, and you'll see a good match, Mobile Phone.

  3. In the pane on the left, drag Cell Ph and drop it on Mobile Phone in the right pane.

    You'll notice that Cell Ph now appears next to Mobile Phone in the Mapped from column.

    Cell ph is mapped to Outlook Mobile Phone field

  4. One at a time, drag the rest of the values from the left pane to the appropriate Outlook fields in the right pane. For example, you might drag Address to either Home Street or Business Street, depending on the type of address for your contacts.

  5. Click Finish.

    Your contacts are imported into Outlook.

  6. To view your contacts in Outlook 2016, at the bottom of the navigation bar, choose the People icon.

    Choose the People icon at the bottom of the page.

These instructions assume you've already exported your contacts from Google to a .csv file. Now you're ready to import them.

  1. At the top of your Outlook 2013 or 2016 ribbon, choose File.

    This is what the ribbon looks like in Outlook 2016.

  2. Choose Open & Export > Import/Export.

    To create your Outlook pst file, choose File, choose Open and Export, and then Import/Export

  3. Choose Import from another program or file, and then choose Next.

    import and export wizard - import from another program or file

  4. Choose Comma Separated Values, and then choose Next.

    Outlook Export Wizard - Choose CSV file

  5. In the Import a File box, browse to find the file you saved in step 7 of the previous procedure, and then double-click to select it.

    Browse to the contacts csv file and choose how to handle duplicate contacts

  6. Choose one of the following to specify how you want Outlook to handle duplicate contacts:

    • Replace duplicates with items imported   If a contact is in Outlook and Gmail, Outlook discards the info it has for that contact and uses the info from Gmail. You should choose this option if the contact info in Gmail is more complete or more current than the contact info in Outlook.

    • Allow duplicates to be created   If a contact is in Outlook and Gmail, Outlook creates duplicate contacts, one with the original Outlook info and one with the info imported from Gmail. You can combine info for those people later to eliminate duplicate contacts. This is the default option.

    • Do not import duplicate items    If a contact is in Outlook and Gmail, Outlook keeps the info it has for that contact and discards the info from Gmail. You should choose this option if the contact info in Outlook is more complete or more current than the contact info in Gmail.

  7. Click Next.

  8. In the Select a destination folder box, scroll to the top if needed and select the Contacts folder > Next.

    When you import Google Gmail contacts into your Office 365 mailbox, select Contacts as the destination

  9. Choose Finish.

    When you import Gmail contacts to your Office 365 mailbox, click the Finish button to start the migration

    Outlook imports your contacts.

  10. To see your contacts, at the bottom of Outlook 2016, choose the People icon.

    Choose the People icon at the bottom of the page.

For instructions on exporting your all of your contacts from iCloud, see Export your iCloud contacts to a vCard (.vcf) file. Often customers export only 1 contact from iCloud when they intended to export all of them.

So, assuming you've already exported your iCloud contacts to a vcf file, now you need to convert them from a .vcf file format to a .csv file format. This involves importing them to Windows, and then exporting them to the csv file. If you have more than 50 or so contacts, this is a tedious process because you have to press OK for each contact you want to import to the csv file. There's no way to do a global OK and import all of them to the csv file at the same time.

Note: If you'd like to request that bulk import from a vCard file be supported in Outlook, visit the Outlook Suggestion Box to leave your feedback in the Outlook 2016 group. The Outlook Mail and Calendar team is actively monitoring this forum.

Convert a .vcf file to .csv (import them to Windows and then export them to a .csv file)

  1. On your PC, open File Explorer (or Windows Explorer if you are using an earlier version of Windows).

  2. Go to your Contacts folder:

    C:\Users\<username>\Contacts

  3. At the top of the page, choose Import.

    Navigate to the Contacts folder, then choose Import.

  4. Choose vCard (VCF file) > Import.

    Choose vCard, then choose Import.

  5. Navigate to and choose the .vcf file that you exported from iCloud, then choose Open.

    Choose your vCard file you want to import to .csv.

  6. For each contact you want to import to the .csv file, choose OK.

    Choose OK for each contact you want to import to the csv file.

  7. When you're finished, choose Close.

  8. At the top of the File Explorer page, choose Export.

  9. Choose CSV file > Export.

    Choose CSV and then choose Export.

  10. Choose Browse to name your csv file.

    Choose Browse to name your file.

  11. In the File name box, type a name for your .cvs file. In this example, I named my file "my contacts from iCloud."

    Type a name for your csv file and then choose Save.

  12. Choose the fields you want to export into the .csv file and then choose Finish. It's recommended that you accept the defaults for now. You can always create another csv file if you want other fields.

    Choose the fields you want to export to your csv file and choose Finish.

  13. You'll get this final message that your contacts have been exported to a .csv file.

    You'll see a final message that your contacts have been exported to a csv file.

  14. You can use Excel to open your .csv file to see what's there. You can add more info to the csv file if you want, but be sure not to change the top row of headings. For more info about working with the .csv file, see Manually create your list of contacts in a csv file.

  15. Now that your contacts are in .csv format, you can import them to Outlook. See Import contacts from a .csv file, in this topic.

See Also

Fix problems importing contacts to Outlook

Import contacts into an Outlook.com account

Import email, contacts, and calendar from an Outlook .pst file

Export contacts from Outlook

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