Import contacts to an Outlook.com or Hotmail.com account

Thanks to customer feedback this article was updated on March 15, 2016.

This article explains how to import contacts to your Outlook.com or Hotmail.com account.

Not sure whether you're using Outlook.com, Office 365, or Outlook on your desktop? See this helpful chart to determine what version of Outlook you're using and to locate the steps for importing contacts.

These steps are for importing contacts from a .csv file or Excel list into your Outlook.com or Hotmail.com email account. They are not for importing contacts from a .csv file into Outlook on your desktop. To import contacts from a .csv file into Outlook on your desktop, see Import contacts to Outlook.

A .csv file is a very common type of file. Often times email programs will store contacts in a .csv file.

Step 1: Export your list of contacts to a .csv file:

  • If you're exporting your contacts from another email system, export them as a .csv file. The company that provides your email service will have instructions for how to do this. For example, if you have a Yahoo email account, you'll find instructions on the Yahoo web site for how to export your contacts from your Yahoo account to a .csv file.

  • If someone sent you a list of contacts in Excel, use Excel to open the file and then Save as a .csv file type. Excel will ask "are you sure?" Choose Yes.

Step 2: Import the contacts to your Outlook.com account. You do this at the Outlook.com website, which looks like this:

A picture of the Outlook.com ribbon

  1. Go to http://people.live.com and sign in to your Outlook.com account. Or, if you're already signed in to Outlook.com, choose the app launcher App launcher button > People to go to your contacts.

    Choose People.

  2. Depending on your region, you will see one of the following: :

    • Under Add people to your contact list, choose Start import.

      Choose Start import to select where you are going to import contacts from.

      Choose Other > Browse to upload your .csv file.

    • Or, choose Manage > Import contacts. Then choose Gmail, because Gmail uses the .csv file type. Choose Browse to upload your .csv file (even though your .csv file may not have come from Gmail).

A .pst file is a type of file used by Outlook on your desktop to store email and contacts data.

Let's say you're using Outlook 2010, 2013 or 2016 with a work email account called jakob@contoso.com, and you have contacts in that account. You're leaving the company and want to take your contacts with you by importing them to your personal Outlook.com or Hotmail.com account. In Outlook on your desktop, save the contacts you want from your work account as a .pst file (that's a type of Outlook file). For instructions, see Export or backup email, contacts, and calendar to an Outlook .pst file.

After your contacts are in a .pst file, you can import them into your Outlook.com or Hotmail.com account.

Step 1: Add your Outlook.com account to Outlook desktop, if you haven't already

Step 2: Copy your contacts to your Outlook.com account

In this step you need to connect the .pst file that has your contacts to Outlook on your desktop. Then you can copy your contacts to your Outlook.com account.

  1. In Outlook on your desktop, choose Home > New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.

    Choose New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.

  2. Select the .pst file that has your contacts.

    Choose your .pst file.

  3. You'll see Outlook added the file to your navigation pane with a generic name: outlook data file. Choose the People icon at the bottom of your navigation pane.

    Outlook adds your .pst file with a generic name: outlook data file.

  4. Choose your contacts file. Again, it will have a generic name. You'll see your contacts listed.

    Choose your contacts file. It will have a generic name.

  5. Press Ctrl+A to select all of the contacts.

  6. Drag them to your Outlook.com contacts folder.

  7. When you’re done, return to the email view in Outlook by clicking the Mail icon at the bottom of your Outlook navigation pane, then right-click Outlook Data File, and choosing Close “Outlook Data File”.

Were these steps helpful? Please leave us a comment.

The easiest way to import Gmail contacts to your Outlook.com account is to import them on the Outlook.com website. The Outlook.com website looks like this:

A picture of the Outlook.com ribbon

  1. Go to http://people.live.com and sign in to your Outlook.com account. Or, if you're already signed in to Outlook.com, choose the app launcher App launcher button > People to go to your contacts.

    Choose People.

  2. Choose Start import and then choose Google.

  3. Follow the instructions on the page to export your contacts from your Gmail account as a .csv file.

    Google will export a copy of your contacts; you'll still have access to them when you sign in to your Gmail account.

  4. Upload your .csv file to Outlook.com.

We're sorry to hear about your issues with email contacts, but we're here to help.

First we need to understand if we've lost your contacts. In order to help us troubleshoot, can you check the following places to make sure that the contacts you used to have saved are missing?

  1. Sign in to Outlook.com.

  2. To see your address book, in the top left corner choose the app launcher App launcher button > People Do you see your old contacts? If you do, click on them to make sure details are there. This is where you can edit/delete contacts.

  3. Choose the app launcher App launcher button > Mail. When you're writing a new email, if you click on the To/CC/BCC button you should see your address list come up for you to select people to email. Do you see the contacts in your address book?

  4. In Mail, while typing in the To/CC/BCC line, you should see the top 5 matches based on what you've typed in. If you don't see your contact yet, you might need to type in a few more characters. Even if you haven't added someone as a contact, you can still find their email address if you type in the first few characters in the line.

  5. If you simply click in the line without typing anything you'll see our "Suggested Contacts" list.

  6. Some unfamiliar email addresses that you see might be coming from your connected app accounts such as LinkedIn, Google…etc. Skype contacts are automatically added if you're connected to Skype on your account.

If any out these 5 items are not working, meaning you're missing contacts in your address book, or someone who used to come up in the To/CC/BCC line when you started typing doesn’t, please let us know what the issue is and we'll go from there and perform a manual resync on your account. Here's how to request a Microsoft Engineer research your account:

  1. Sign in to your Outlook.com account.

  2. In the upper right corner, choose ? and then choose Feedback.

  3. Choose Give Feedback.

  4. Describe the problem, then choose Next.

    An example of what you might write to let us know your contacts are missing.

  5. Choose Skip and send message.

Your issue will be assigned to an Engineer who will research and get in touch with you.

In earlier versions of Outlook, very often by default the Outlook.com email accounts were added to Outlook desktop as Exchange ActiveSync accounts. If you try to import, you might get the message "Could not complete operation because the service provider does not support it," which means the Outlook.com email account you're trying to import to needs to be configured as an IMAP email account.

Here's how to configure your Outlook.com email account to use IMAP:

  • First, remove your Outlook.com email account from Outlook on your desktop. For example, if you have more than one email account in Outlook 2010, you can right-click your selected email account and choose Remove to remove it from Outlook on your desktop. If it's the only account currently in Outlook on your desktop, choose File > Account Settings > Account Settings > Remove.

  • Now, add the Outlook.com email account back to Outlook on your desktop, but this time you're going to set it up as an IMAP account:

    1. At the top of Outlook on your desktop, choose File.

      In Outlook 2010, choose the File tab.

    2. Choose Add Account.

    3. Type a name for your email account (example: Jakob), the email address (example: jakob77@outlook.com), and password you use to sign in to your email account on the Outlook.com or Hotmail.com web site. Choose Manually configure server settings or additional service types. Choose Next.

      Choose Manually configure server settings or additional service types.

    4. Choose Internet Email.

      Choose Internet Email

    5. Enter these settings:

      • Account Type: IMAP

      • Incoming mail server: imap-mail.outlook.com

      • :Outgoing mail server (SMTP) smtp-mail.outlook.com

      • User Name: youralias@outlook.com (or whatever your email address is).

      • Password: type the password you use to sign in to your email, for example, on the Outlook.com web site. (check with Outlook 2013/2016) If you have Two-Step Authentication enabled, get an App Password. im

      • Choose More settings.

      Enter the settings shown in this picture.

    6. Select the Outgoing Server tab, and choose My outgoing server requires authentication.

      Choose My outgoing server requires authentication.

    7. Select the Advanced tab and then enter these settings:

      • Incoming server (IMAP): 993

      • Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL

      • Outgoing server (SMTP): 587

      • Use the following type of encrypted connection: TLS

      Enter the advanced email settings.

    8. Choose OK.

    9. Choose Next to test your settings. Note: the most common reason for the connection not working is a typo in the email or password. Unfortunately Outlook doesn't tell you that's the problem but gives you an uncomprehensible error message. If the connection doesn't work, double-check everything for typos and try again.

      Here's what an Outlook.com email account looks like in Outlook 2013 or 2016.

      A picture of what it looks like when you have an Outlook.com account in Outlook 2016.

Were these steps helpful? Please leave us a comment.

Nothing is imported. This is the most common problem customers experience. Use Excel to open your .csv file. Do you see any data in the file? Usually you'll see some boxes with data in them and other boxes blank. If you don't see any data at all, run the export process again.

Here's what a sample CSV file looks like with some contact information in it.

Get an error message the format of the .csv file isn't correct. Outlook.com doesn't need all .csv files to be formatted the exact same way, but if you're getting this error message, something is amiss with your file. In a pinch (and this isn't easy), download this sample .csv file and copy the info from your .csv file into the appropriate columns in the sample .csv file.

There are a few things to remember when working with this sample .csv file:

  • Outlook requires the column headings in the first row so don’t replace them with something else.

  • Save the file with a new name as a .csv. If you use Excel to work in the file, when you save it, Excel will prompt you a few times with "are you sure you want to save it in .csv format?" Always choose Yes. If you choose No, the file will get messed up and you'll need to start over with a fresh sample template.

  • Practice importing your .csv file with a few contacts to make sure you like the results. Afterwards, you can delete the imported contacts, add more to your .csv file, and import it again.

Hi, I'm Jakob. I work on the articles for importing to and exporting from Outlook, and answer your questions. Author's note: When you enter a comment at the bottom of the page describing the problem you're experiencing with import, I'll try to reproduce it in my environment and then add the solution here. Below are answers to some of the problems customers have experienced.

  • How do I import my contacts from another email account that's not listed? I have a Frontier account. There are two ways you can do this:

    • Go to your email provider (such as Frontier) and find the instructions on their web site for exporting your contacts to a .csv file. Then follow the instructions on this page for importing a .csv file to your Outlook.com account. Or....

    • If you have Outlook on your desktop (such as Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016), add your email account (your Frontier account) to Outlook on your desktop. Use Outlook on your desktop to export your contacts from your Frontier account as a .csv file. Then import the .csv file to your Outlook.com account using the instructions in this article.

  • I want to move my Outlook contacts from my old computer with Vista to a new computer with ms 10 and Office 2016. On your old computer, in Outlook export your contacts from your old email account to a .pst file. Save the .pst file to a USB flash drive, OneDrive, or other location you can get to from your new computer. On your new computer, in Outlook 2016, add your new email account. Then import your contacts to your new email account.

  • I need my contacts in Hotmail and cannot get them in Outlook. I just purchased a new computer yesterday - it is all gone! Don't worry, your contacts haven't been deleted. First, go to What version of Outlook do I have? This will help you get familiar with the version of Outlook on your computer. I'm going to assume it's Outlook 2016 because you mention it's a new computer. Add your Hotmail account to Outlook on your desktop. Outlook will sync with your Hotmail account (this might take a while). In Outlook, at the bottom of the navigation bar, you'll see these icons:

    The email, calendar, and contacts icons at the bottom of Outlook.

    Choose the People icon to get to your contacts.

  • I need to import all my contacts/address books from my AOL accounts. No problem! On the AOL site, find the instructions for how to export your contacts from AOL to a .csv file. Then to import your contacts to your Outlook.com account, follow the instructions on this page for importing a .csv file.

  • How do I import from Yahoo Mail to Outlook? On the Yahoo Mail web site, find the instructions for exporting your contacts to a .csv file. Then to import your contacts to your Outlook.com account, follow the instructions on this page for importing a .csv file.

  • How do I import from Outlook.com to my Office 365 email account? First, export your contacts from your Outlook.com account to a .csv file. Then do the following:

    • Sign in to your Office 365 account.

    • In Office 365, from the app launcher App launcher button choose People.

    • Choose Manage > Import contacts.

    • Choose Gmail (even though you aren't importing Gmail, you are importing a .csv file, which Gmail customers also do).

    • Ignore the written instructions on the page. Just choose Browse to get to your .csv file.

    • After you've select the name of your .csv file, at the top of the page, choose Upload.

      Choose Browse to locate your .csv file, and then choose Upload to import it into your Office 365 account.

      Your contacts will be imported to your Office 365 email account.

  • How does this relate to Windows 10? Outlook.com is a free email service, like Gmail. Mail app for Windows 10 is a tool for managing your email - from Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo!, and other accounts.

  • I want to import contacts from Outlook.com to Outlook 2016. First, export your contacts from Outlook.com to a .csv file then import the .csv file to Outlook 2016.

  • I want to export my contacts from Outlook.com. For instructions, see "Export contacts from Outlook.com (Hotmail.com) to a .csv file" in Export contacts from Outlook.

  • All I want to do is import my contacts from my old Hotmail account to my new Outlook account. I do not currently have any contacts in my new account. What is the simplest way to solve my problem? Please see "My contacts are missing after you moved me from Hotmail.com to Outlook.com." A Microsoft Engineer will need to manually re-sync your account to your contacts are imported.

    If I've misunderstood your question, and you have two different email addresses, here's how to move your contacts from one Outlook.com/Hotmail.com email address to another:

    1. Export your contacts from your Outlook.com / Hotmail.com account as a .csv file.

    2. Import your contacts to your new Outlook.com account following the instructions in this article for importing contacts from a .csv file.

Leave us a comment

Were these steps helpful? If so, please let us know at the bottom of this topic. If they weren't, and you're still having trouble importing your contacts, tell us where you are trying to import contacts from. We'll use your feedback to double-check our steps.

See Also

What version of Outlook do I have?

Export contacts from Outlook

Was this information helpful?

How can we improve it?

How can we improve it?

To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback. Review our privacy policy.

Thank you for your feedback!