Import contacts to an Outlook.com account

You can import contacts from a different email provider or account to your Outlook.com account.

Choose your version for instructions

The instructions are slightly different depending on whether or not you're using the Outlook.com beta.

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

IF YOUR MAILBOX LOOKS LIKE...

A screenshot of the top left corner of the Outlook.com beta mailbox

See Instructions for the Outlook.com beta

A screenshot of the top left corner of the classic Outlook.com mailbox

See Instructions for classic Outlook.com.

Instructions for the Outlook.com beta

Step 1: Export your list of contacts from your email provider to a CSV file

When you export your contacts, they will typically be stored in a comma separated values file (CSV). Select CSV UTF-8 as the file type if you have that option.

For instructions about how to export your contacts from a service not mentioned here, contact your email provider.

Step 2: Import the contacts to your Outlook.com account

Use a comma separated values file (CSV) to import your contacts into your Outlook.com account.

Tip: For best results, make sure that the CSV file has UTF-8 encoding. This encoding works for all languages and alphabets.

  1. In Outlook.com, select People at the lower left corner of the page to go to the People page.

  2. On the toolbar, select Manage > Import contacts.

    Select import contacts from the Manage menu
  3. Select Browse, choose your CSV file, and then select Open.

  4. Select Import.

Note: If the file doesn't have UTF-8 encoding, the import tool may not recognize and display all text correctly. The import tool will then show you some example contacts from your file, and you can check that the text is readable and correct. If the text is not displayed correctly, select Cancel. You will need a file in UTF-8 encoding to continue. Convert your CSV file to use UTF-8 encoding, and restart the import.

Why should I care about UTF-8 encoding?

Typically, you can import contacts without worrying about the underlying details of how the text is stored in the CSV file. However, if the contact information includes characters not found in the English alphabet, such as Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, or Japanese characters, this can cause problems when importing contacts. Therefore, you should save the contacts file with UTF-8 encoding if you have that option during export.

If you can't export your contacts using UTF-8 directly, you can convert the exported CSV file using Excel or third-party apps. How to do this will be different between apps and app versions.

How to convert your CSV file to UTF-8 using Microsoft Excel 2016:

  1. In Excel, create a new blank document (workbook).

  2. From the Data menu, select From Text/CSV. Browse to your exported CSV file (you may have to select to display Text Files (....csv) to see it). Select Import.

  3. In the dialog box that appears, under File Origin, choose the encoding that makes the characters in the text appear correctly, for example, Cyrillic Windows 1251, and then select Load.

  4. Check that characters are displayed correctly in Excel.

  5. Select File >Save As. Enter a name for your file, and select CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv) as your file type.

  6. Select Save.

Instructions for classic Outlook.com

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

When you export your contacts from your email provider, they will often be stored in a .csv file. You'll use this file to import your contacts into your Outlook.com account.

For instructions about how to export your contacts from another service, contact your email provider. If someone sent you a list of contacts in Excel, open the file in Excel and then save it as a .csv file type.

Step 2: Import the contacts to your Outlook.com account

  1. In Outlook.com, select People at the bottom of the page.

    A screenshot of the People button

  2. Select Manage > Import contacts.

    A screenshot of the Import contacts button.

    If you don't see the Import contacts button, wait a few moments and then select Manage again.

  3. Select Gmail (even though your .csv file might not have come from Gmail) because Gmail uses the .csv file type.

  4. Select Browse, choose your .csv file, and select Open.

  5. At the top of pane, select Upload.

Need help?

If you're having trouble importing contacts to your Outlook.com account, see Fix problems importing contacts to Outlook.com.

Related Topics

Clean up or remove duplicate contacts in Outlook.com

Export contacts from Outlook.com to a CSV file
Import and export Outlook email, contacts, and calendar
What version of Outlook do I have?
Add your other email accounts to Outlook.com

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